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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023
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Revisiting Home’s Value Could Ease Property Tax Burden

Concerned that the market value of your property has fallen below the assessed value shown on your property tax bill? If you purchased a residence at the height of the real estate market, you may be eligible for relief.

County Assessor Gregory J. Smith said property owners who think the market value of their properties have fallen below the assessed values, which are printed in the upper right-hand corner of current tax bills, should file an application for review with the Assessor’s office no later than May 30.

The application is free and can result in a lower tax bill.

Jeff Olson, division chief for assessment services with the county, said 5,500 new requests for review of assessment have already been filed for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

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Last year, the county received 2,000 requests and made 11,000 reduced property value adjustments.

Olson anticipates receiving approximately 10,000 requests for review of assessment this year.

He recognized a sharp increase in requests but noted that in the 1995-1996 fiscal year 28,000 requests were made and 200,000 property values were reduced.

The application for review is available at www.sdarcc.com.

Property owners will be notified in early July of the results, officials said. If they still disagree with the value, a formal assessment appeal process is available. This application must be filed with the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board between July 2 and Nov. 30. Last year, more than 12,000 property owners submitted appeals. The results of these appeals are still pending.

Although the review is free, Smith said he is aware of numerous private businesses offering assistance for a fee.

Kearny Mesa-based California Tax Refunds LLC President Jason Scheiner said single-family detached and attached homes purchased between 2003 and 2007 are most likely worth less than what was paid at the time of purchase.

“The entire process is hassle-free for our clients,” said Scheiner. “Within 10 minutes, we can not only determine if a property owner is eligible for a reduction, but also provide them with a good estimate of how much they will save.”

Scheiner said to beware of scammers soliciting homeowners with promises of savings. “It is important to go with someone that knows what county appraisers and assessors are looking for,” he said.

Scheiner and partner Shane Allen are licensed real estate appraisers and said they have assisted nearly 300 property owners in San Diego, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties since forming California Tax Refunds late last year.

The team of four anticipates assisting thousands of property owners this year.

“Based on our 20 years of real estate appraisal experience, if we are not confident that we can achieve a lowered tax bill for a customer, we won’t start the process and the property owner pays us nothing,” he continued. “If we do file paperwork and the homeowner does not save money, we will refund half of our fee.”

Scheiner said that although home prices in California have dropped nearly 22 percent in the last 12 months, the assessor does not automatically adjust the amount of property taxes owed; the homeowner must request the adjustment.

California Tax Refund can perform a no-cost assessment of a home’s value to determine if the owner is eligible for a lowered tax bill. If a lower bill is possible, the company will handle all aspects of working with the assessor for $295.

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