Can Property Values Be Reassessed? | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 21 November 2012 13:37

By Phil Hunt

Special to the Times

Q: My property has dropped in value in the past two years. I believe the value is now less than the value used to tax my property from the property tax people. Is there any way to get my taxes reduced?

A: Good news: Yes there is a way. Back in 1977, Prop. 13 passed which established the tax base year to be 1975 for all property in California. All assessed values had to be rolled back to the value as of 1975. The maximum amount of increase allowed was limited to 2 percent a year, to be added onto the prior year assessed value.

In 1978, there was an amendment passed known as Prop. 8. This amendment said that if the value of the property decreases from the prior year, the assessor has to reduce the assessed value to the value as of January 1 in the current tax year.

Since the price reduction experienced in the value of property in the past couple years, a lot of property is in line for assessment reductions. If the property was sold after Prop. 13, the new assessed value, for tax purposes, would be the sales price of the property in the year it was purchased. The 2-percent annual increases would be added from there.

The county says that they have an on-going project to constantly reevaluate assessed property values to be sure that it complies under Prop. 8. Since the county has literally millions of parcels to consider, and I thought mine was over valued, I would take a positive approach; notify the assessor’s office that you want your property value reassessed right away.

Since there are so many owners who feel the same way, the county set up an online website to handle such requests: www.acgov.org/assessor. Or, you can call 510-272-6352.

If you go to the website, I can help guide you through the maze of options shown on the page. Click on “assessor,” click on “lower property taxes,” then click on “Prop. 8.” You will get a formal request form for reassessment of property taxes. Fill it out and send it back to the county assessor, and your taxes will be looked at sooner rather than later.

From my point of view, this is a good thing. There are places in this country where people are losing their property, not due to unpaid mortgage payments but because their property taxes have gone up by, in some cases, over 100 percent in just five years, and they can no longer pay the taxes.

Some believe that Prop. 13 was the worst thing that ever happened to California; many more believe that it was a good thing. I believe that every state should have a Prop. 13 on the books. Had it not happened in California, I believe the housing crisis in California would be at lease 50 percent worse than it now is. Thanks for the question.

Phil Hunt is a real estate broker in Castro Valley. Fax questions to 583-5480.

 

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