April 18, 2024


Mad about real estate

Sacramento Homeowners Must File a Property Tax Appeal to Get a Tax Refund

Sacramento homeowners have until November 30th, 2008 for a Formal appeal and December 1st, 2008 for an informal appeal.

Under proposition 8, homeowners are entitled to a temporary reduction in their property taxes due to a decline in property value. This reduction is only available if your assessed value is more than the market value of your home as of January 1, 2008.

Homeowners in Sacramento only have until November 30th, 2008 to request a formal property tax appeal or December 1st, 2008 to ask for an informal property tax appeal. The confusion about appeal dates stems from the differences between the formal and informal process for a property tax reduction. The informal appeal is handled through each County’s Assessor’s office. This is the most expeditious means of appealing your property’s assessed value. There is a form used to prepare a Prop. 8 temporary reduction in value request. Generally, you supplement this form with comparable sales from your neighborhood that will be evaluated by the Assessor. If a reduction is granted, then you’ll get refund or a smaller property tax bill.

Since the process is informal, the published dates are not locked in stone and vary considerably by County. As you can see from this chart (most populous Counties), practices for informal property tax appeals vary widely from Orange County which locked the doors at the end of April, 2008 to Alameda where the doors are open until the end April, 2009. On the other hand, formal appeals are due by November 30th, 2008.

County Assessment appeal Filing Periods For 2008

County– Formal Process Deadline—- Informal Process Deadline
Alameda———- 9/15/08———– 4/10/09
Contra Costa—– 11/30/08——— 12/31/08
Fresno———– 11/30/08——— 12/31/08
Los Angeles—— 11/30/08——— 12/31/08
Orange———– 9/15/08———– 4/30/08
Riverside———11/30/08———- 9/1/08
Sacramento——- 11/30/08———- 12/1/08
San Bernardino— 11/30/08———- 11/30/08
San Diego——– 11/30/08———- 5/30/08
San Francisco—– 9/15/08———- 8/15/08
Santa Clara——- 9/15/08———- 9/15/08
Ventura———– 11/30/08——— 12/31/08

While informal appeals should be your first step, you should also file a formal property tax appeal if the Assessor’s response will not be known before the formal appeal deadline. Unless you file a formal appeal, then you’ll have to accept the Assessor’s opinion. With a formal appeal “Request for Changed Assessment”, you’ll have the advantage of an independent review by either a Hearing Officer or the Assessment Appeals Board. Generally, it makes sense to request a Hearing Officer and not go through the formalities of the Assessment Appeals Board for a residential property appeal.

The disadvantage of a formal appeal is that it will take longer, estimated to be at least 6 to 9 months. However, you don’t have to go on to the formal appeal if you can reach agreement with the Assessor before the hearing. If you reach agreement with the Assessor or if you go to the Hearing and a lower value is granted, you will get a refund with interest. Since all formal appeals must be filed by November 30th, 2008, you should consider filing both appeals at the same time. This process can be completed very quickly by using our electronic property tax appeal service https://www.californiaproptaxappeal.com where Comparable Sales and formal and informal appeals are ready to mail in minutes for only $29.99.

No surprise, but home buyers from 2003 forward have the best opportunity for a property tax reduction. First American LoanPerformance says “California was the nation’s worst housing market with prices falling at a 24.37{ef6a2958fe8e96bc49a2b3c1c7204a1bbdb5dac70ce68e07dc54113a68252ca4} annual rate as of late April. California has held this dubious distinction since May ‘07.” What this suggests is that recent homebuyers should, on average, expect a similar reduction in their property tax bill.

By now homeowners received a notice with the assessed value of their property from the Assessor. Homeowners have until November 30th to file a formal appeal and December 1st, 2008 to file an informal appeal. There will be a crush of property tax appeals filed at the last minute in November, making it desirable to get in line well before the final due date.