Should you sign a “tax withdrawal” when appealing your property taxes?

When appealing your property taxes and you get a form that looks something like the one below, should you sign it? Let me walk you through the decision process.

First off, the official form to fill out to contest your property taxes is called the “Application for Changed Assessment” (not the “Decline in Value” Prop 8 form). This application must be completed by November 30 in many counties surrounding Sacramento (or September 15 in Placer County). After you fill this out, the appeals board will eventually do one of three things: 1) Agree with your opinion of value and ask you to therefore withdraw your appeal; 2) Ask you to agree with a new value they pick and therefore withdraw your appeal; or 3) Set up an appeals hearing to discuss your situation further.

If the Assessor does #1 or #2 above, you’ll get a form that looks something like this.

Should you sign this form? Here is what I tell my clients as well as home owners who contact me. If the Assessor’s new value is pretty close to your listed value (or mine if we worked together), then it probably makes good sense to sign this form. Some home owners get scared of signing something like this, but all you are doing is saying you agree with the Assessor’s new value offer and you will no longer pursue an appeal. For example, the Assessor said the property above was worth $211,758, but after my appeal they offered a new value at $150,000. By signing the document, the new assessed value became $150,000.

Accept or Fight? Keep in mind that every $10,000 in assessed value equals about $125, so if the offered value is fairly close to yours, then it probably isn’t worth the time and energy to contest it any further. Just accept the value and move on. However, if the value is off by multiple tens of thousands or a couple hundred thousand dollars still, then it may be worth staying in the fight by going through with the appeals hearing. Just make sure you have a convincing case. If I did your appeal, I can give you advice about this when the time comes (or if you hired me to represent you at the hearing anyway, don’t even worry about this because I have it under control). Even if you didn’t hire me, give me a call and I’ll help where I can.

Do you have any questions? I hope this was helpful.

If you have any questions, or real estate appraisal or property tax appeal needs in the Greater Sacramento Region, contact Lundquist Appraisal by phone 916-595-3735, email, Facebook or subscribe to posts by email.

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