Property Tax Assessment Appeals FAQ
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Property Tax Assessment Appeals FAQ
What is an assessment appeal?
What is the entire assessment appeal process?
An assessment appeal is the due process a taxpayer may initiate if the assessed value of his or her property cannot be agreed upon with the county assessor. Your county’s appeals board, a quasi-judicial body consisting of impartial persons or a hearing officer, hears evidence from both parties before deciding upon the value of the property in question. The assessment appeal process provides for the ’equalization,’ or the fairness of the assessment, of a property’s value.
You must file an Application for Changed Assessment, form BOE-305-AH, obtained from the clerk of the board of the county where your property is located. Some counties have this form available on the website of either the clerk of the board or the county assessor, or both. You must use the county application for the appeal to be considered a valid filing. Some counties may charge a fee for filing or processing your application. Please check with the clerk of the board for the county in which your property is located to find out if fees apply.
After hearing all the evidence, an appeals board is required by law to determine the value of your property, which means that they can leave the value the same, decrease the value, or increase the value of your property. An appeals board is not bound by the value presented by you or the county assessor. The appeals board decision is final, and your only recourse would be to appeal their decision to your county’s superior court.
The county appeals board will either advise you of their decision at the conclusion of the hearing, or you will be notified of their decision by mail at a later date. Depending upon the county and their workload and the complexity of your appeal, your notification may take up to several months. The decision of the appeals board is final. A challenge of the board’s decision must be filed in superior court of your county within six months of the decision on your application.
When must and assessment appeal be filed?
An assessment appeal can be filed on either the supplemental or the regular assessment. When appealing a supplemental assessment, the appeal must be filed within 60 days of the date of mailing printed on the Notice of Supplemental Assessment or the postmark date on the envelope in which the notice was mailed, whichever is later. When appealing an escape assessment, the appeal must be filed within 60 days of the date of mailing printed on the Notice of Enrollment of Escape Assessment or the postmark date on the envelope in which the notice was mailed, whichever is later [see Revenue and Taxation Code, Section 1605(b)(1)]. When appealing the regular assessment, the appeal must be filed between July 2 and September 15 or November 30, depending on your county.
If I file an appeal, will I have to appear at the hearing?
What should I present at the appeal hearing to support my case?
I think my property value has decreased over the past year and is now lower than my assessed value shown on my tax bill. What should I do?
If you decide to appeal, you must obtain form BOE-305-AH, Application , from the clerk of the board where your property is located. If your clerk of the board does not provide the form on their website, you may call them to send you a form or you may pick it up at their office. Your application must be filed during a specific period with the clerk of the board in order for the application to be valid.
What is Proposition 13 Value?
The Proposition 13 Value represents the maximum taxable value for your property.
Since the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978, property is assessed at its fair market value as of the date it is acquired. Your purchase price generally becomes the taxable “base value” as of that date. From that point forward the taxable value of your property is limited to no more than a 2% increase per year.2 For example, if you purchase a property which gets assessed at $500,000, the annual taxes would be based on $500,000 the first year, trended to $510,000 ($500,000 x 1.02) the second year, and trended to $520,200 ($510,000 x 1.02) the third year, etc. Also see example below.
In a declining real estate market, the market value of your property may actually be lower than your trended base value. In this case, your property may qualify for a decline-in-value reassessment, temporarily reducing the taxable value to its current market value. Once granted, a decline-in-value reassessment is reviewed annually and may be further reduced, partially restored, or fully restored to its trended base value.
A property was purchased for $500,000. During a three-year period, the real estate market declined and recovered. The property owner filed for a decline-in-value reassessment. The following table shows the trended base value of the property, the market value of the property, and the assessed value of the property. Assuming a 2% annual consumer price index (CPI):
In Year 1, the property’s purchase price reflected the market value and was assessed accordingly. In Year 2, the property was granted a temporary decline-in-value to reflect its current market value. In Year 3, the property was partially restored to reflect its rising market value. In Year 4, the property was fully restored to its trended base value (maximum taxable value) even if its market value was now actually higher.
What are the functions of the appeals board or a hearing officer?
Among other things, they can:
- Lower or raise a property’s assessed value
- Remove a penalty assessment imposed by the county assessor
- Reverse a change in ownership or new construction reassessment
- The appeals board has no legal authority to:
- Reduce an assessment because of the increase in value or taxes from prior years
- Grant or deny exemptions
- Reduce your taxes due to your inability to pay your taxes
- Dictate the manner in which tax funds are spent
When is the hearing officer's decision not final?
I will have a real estate appraisal firm represent me at my hearing. Do I have to provide a specific name of a person to be the authorized agent? I don't know who it will be yet, or if that person will still be there by the time my hearing is scheduled
Since I will have an agent representing my corporation, can my agent also sign the agent authorization section of the Application?
I did not plan to have an agent represent me in my appeal when I filed the Application , thus I did not complete section 2, Authorization of Agent. I have now changed my mind. Should I submit an amended application?
My son will be filing the Application for me. Will I need to designate him as my agent?
What information do I need to provide to support my opinion of value?
The same information is available from many assessors’ district offices. Many websites offer sales information free of charge. Additionally, a local real estate agent or title agent can also be a valuable source of information. Sales of comparable properties may be any time prior to the date of your value, but those closest in time are the best indicators of value. However, an appeals board may not consider comparable sales that have occurred more than 90 days after the date your value was set by the county assessor. Any relevant evidence may be admitted if it is a customary method in which a property is appraised. You may use the income approach or the replacement cost approach if they are considered the most appropriate method of valuation for your property.
Both the county assessor’s evidence and your evidence may include oral testimony by an assessor’s staff member, you, your agent or attorney, or by an expert witness or other witness. Submission of a formal appraisal or any other written material (for example, a Realtor’s opinion of value or an engineering study) is allowed; however, the county board may require the person who prepared the report or document be present at the hearing to respond to any questions the appeal board members or county assessor may have about the information. Depositions are not admissible and will not be considered by the appeals board.
If I provide supporting documentation to my county assessor, will the assessor present that information to the appeals board?
At my appeals hearing, is it my responsibility to prove that the county assessor's value is not correct?
- Appeals of a single-family dwelling when it is occupied by the owner as a primary residence
- Non-enrollment of purchase prices (provided a Change in Ownership Statement was timely filed by you)
- Requests by the assessor to enroll a higher assessed value than what is currently on the roll
- Escape assessments, when it is not due to you failure to file a Change in Ownership Statement, a Business Property Statement, or permits for new construction
- Penalty assessments In all other situations, including the appeal of an owner’s vacation or secondary home, the applicant has the burden of proving that the property has not been correctly assessed and must be the first to present the evidence at the hearing.
I filed an assessment appeal and I am awaiting a hearing date. The second installment of my property taxes is coming due soon. Do I have to pay it even though I am contesting the value?
Must I have legal representation for me at my hearing?
What do I need to do to prepare for my hearing?
I just filed an Application for Changed Assessment, when should I expect a hearing date?
What would happen if I forgot all about my hearing date and did not show up as scheduled? Can I request a new date?
If the county assessor and I have agreed on an assessed value prior to my hearing date, do I need to show up for my hearing?
I am filing an appeal on my property. Is there a way I can find out what comparables or other information the county assessor will be using to support his/her value estimate for my property?
When an exchange of information occurs, the evidence at the hearing is largely restricted to what information has been exchanged. While the parties may not introduce evidence on matters not previously exchanged, each party may introduce new material relating to the information already received from the other party. If this occurs and the other party wishes, a continuance may be requested at that time.
You may submit your request to the clerk of the board at the time of the filing of the application, or it may be submitted to the county assessor and the clerk of the board at any time 30 days before the scheduled hearing date. Some counties have a specific form to request an exchange of information, while others only require the request be written. Some counties have adopted local rules of notice and procedures related to exchanges of information. You should contact the clerk of the board for more information.
After I filed an Application, I have decided not to go through with it. What should I do? Will I be charged a fee for withdrawing?
May I file for an assessment appeal at any time?
- Lien Date Appeal / Decline in Value – The filing periods for a lien date appeal (where the value of your property was on the roll on January 1) are from July 2 to September 15, or July 2 to November 30, depending upon the county in which you are located. Please check the filing deadline for the county in which your property is located or contact your clerk of the board.
- Base Year Value / Supplemental and Escape Assessments – If you are appealing the value based on a notice sent to you because your property had a change of ownership or new construction, you must file within 60 days of the mailing of the supplemental assessment notice. If no notice was sent to you, you must file within 60 days of the supplemental tax bill.
- Calamity Reassessment Appeals: If you disagree with the value stated on a reassessment notice sent to you because your property was damaged due to a natural disaster or other calamity, you must file within six months of the mailing of the notice
After I filed an Application, I discovered additional data that would support a lower value for my property than what I originally indicated on the application. Should I submit a new application?
I think I need to correct item number 6 (the facts) on the Application to change the reason for filing the application from decline in value to base year value reduction for my change in ownership. How do I go about doing that?
I am unsure if I should designate my application as a claim for a refund, as asked on question number 8 on the application. What are the advantages and disadvantages to this?
A disadvantage of having your application also serve as a claim for refund is that it may shorten your time to make a decision regarding whether to pursue your claim in superior court when the outcome of your appeal is not in your favor. If the application is also your claim for refund, you must file your claim in superior court within six months of the date of the appeals board’s decision.
If your application is not being designated as claim for refund, you will have six months from the appeals board’s decision to file a claim for refund with the county board of supervisors. Then, you will have six months from the time the board of supervisors denies your claim for refund to file your claim in superior court.
What are written findings of facts? Do I need them?
Findings of facts are available only for hearings in front of an appeals board and are not available if a hearing is with a hearing officer. You will need findings of facts if you think you will want to pursue the appeals board’s decision to superior court. Thus you may request them at the onset on the application (question number 7) or they may be requested in writing to the clerk of the board any time prior to the beginning of the hearing, or orally on record just prior to the start of the board hearing.
A fee will be imposed by the county to cover the expense of preparing findings and conclusions. The cost varies from county to county, either on a per application/parcel basis or on an hourly basis, and also may depend upon the type of property being appealed. The estimated fee must be paid prior to the end of the hearing, and any cost for the findings that exceed the initial deposit must be paid before findings are released.
At the end of the hearing, but before the board renders a decision, the requesting party may withdraw the request for findings and any fees paid will be refunded. At that time, the other party may orally or in writing renew the request and pay the cost of the findings preparation.
I still have questions regarding assessment appeals. Where can I find more information or who can I contact?
Where can I get information about filing a property assessment appeal?
I want to appeal my property taxes. What do I need?
What do I need to challenge my assessment?
What are the deadlines for filing assessment appeals?
Regular Appeals: July 2 to September 15 or November 30* (verify with your county each tax year)
Supplemental/Roll Correction Appeals: 60 Days from date of notice*
Escape Appeals: 60 Days from date of notice*
Calamity Appeals: 6 Months from date of calamity reassessment notice*
* If the last day of the filing deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the filing period will be extended to the next business day at 5:00 p.m.
Is there a fee to file?
Do I have to have an Agent or an Attorney to file?
We hold workshops throughout the County on how to prepare for your hearing.
What should I expect?
When will my appeal be heard?
Do I have to attend the hearing?
What is the difference between an Assessment Appeals Board and a Hearing Officer and which should I have hear my appeal?
When your hearing is scheduled with a Hearing Officer it is a more informal setting. A Hearing Officer is a qualified individual who hears residential valuation appeals. An Assessor’s department appraiser also attends this hearing and the hearing is tape-recorded.
Selecting to have your appeal heard before an Appeals Board or a Hearing Officer is a personal choice. Both abide by the same guidelines and make their decisions upon the evidence presented at the hearing. Having your appeal heard before a Hearing Officer is considered an expedient and convenient alternative to the more formal Board proceedings. However, if you wish to have Findings of Fact prepared, you must have your appeal heard before a full Appeal Board.
Do I still have to mail my application to your office even though I used your online program?
Can I fax my application?
Do I have to have pay my property taxes while my appeal is pending?
Do I need to supply evidence/“Comps” with my application?
What is the 90 Day Rule?
For Supplemental Assessments, the 90 day rule applies from the date of transfer or the completion of new construction (both dates displayed on the Assessor’s Supplemental Notice) and 90 days forward.
Do I need to pay for a formal appraisal?
What is my APN #?
What are Written Findings of Fact?
How soon before I get a Hearing and how will I be notified?
What is an application for changed assessment (assessment appeal)?
How does assessed value affect my taxes?The assessed value of property and the tax rate applied to this value equals the amount of tax money each property owner is required to pay. The Assessment Appeals process concerns only the assessed value of your property.
Who determines the assessed value of my property and how is it determined?
In preparing the assessment roll, the Assessor Department estimates a property’s full cash value. Appraising is not an exact science, but is an opinion based on consideration of relevant facts.
How do I know what the assessed value of my property is?
What if I disagree with the assessed value of my property?
You are also urged to contact the Assessor to verify the circumstances of the assessment. This will assist you in understanding the method used in appraising your property. You may also ask the Assessor for an informal review which may result in an adjustment without requiring further action. Be sure to check with the Assessor for any form or filing deadline that may apply to an informal review.
What is the Assessment Appeals Board?
Having your case heard before a hearing officer is considered an expedient and convenient alternative to the formal Board quasi-judicial proceedings. However, if you wish to have Findings prepared, you must have your case heard before a full AAB Board and the appropriate fee.
When do I have to file an Assessment Appeals application?
Applications for “SUPPLEMENTAL” assessments must be filed no later than sixty (60) days from the Assessor’s Notice of Supplemental Assessment.
Applications for “ROLL CHANGE” assessments must be filed no later than sixty (60) days from the Assessor’s Notice of Roll Change Assessment.
Applications for “ESCAPE” assessments must be filed no later than sixty (60) days from the Assessor’s Notice of Enrollment of Escape Assessment.
Applications for “CALAMITY” assessments must be filed no later than six (6) months from the Assessor’s Notice of Reassessment Due to Calamity or Misfortune.
Who can file an Assessment Appeals application?
Do I have to file an application every year?
Does it cost anything to file an application?
What information do I include on my application?
Where do I file my application?
Do I have to pay my property tax if I have filed an application?
When will my hearing be scheduled?
What happens at the hearing?
The Board or Hearing Officer will either advise you of their decision at the conclusion of the hearing or you will be notified of their decision by mail at a later date. This decision is final and may only be appealed to Superior Court.