What is an “escape assessment”?

Sacramento County Assessment Appeals Board at 700 H StreetThere is no escaping property taxes, right?

According to the Sacramento County Assessor, “An “escape assessment” is a correction to a property’s assessed value on the local property tax roll. The correction is made because the Assessor’s Office discovered a property or a taxable event that should have been assessed but was not. Current and/or prior year tax rolls may be affected. The most common reasons for an escape assessment are overlooked or unreported new construction, a missed change of ownership… or the removal of an exemption.”

Why am I talking about escape assessments? I just finished up some property tax consulting work for an East Sacramento home owner who needed research for his property’s value over the past four years. I love this type of work because it’s exciting to analyze the market for a number of years to establish a value over time. In this situation the owner inherited the property in 2008 from a friend, but the Assessor’s Office was not informed at the time of the death of the original owner, which should have triggered a reassessment. When the Assessor discovered the death and change of ownership, they sent the new owner a “Notice of Proposed Escape Assessment”, which basically means the Assessor’s Office enrolled new assessments for the property for the past four years. The home owner can appeal the values within 60 days of the issuance of the notice. Since the owner disagreed with the value put on the tax roll by the Assessor for 2008-2011, he hired me to show what market value was during each of these respective years.

NOTE: In situations like this the owner can appeal property taxes for multiple years in the past, but that’s not the case in typical “decline in value” situations. If you have been overtaxed for the past several years, for example, but you did not formally dispute your property taxes at the time, then there is nothing you can do once the appeals deadline passes on November 30 of the given year. All you can do is wait until the next year to appeal your property taxes.

Does that make sense? Let me know if you have any questions.

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  1. F re d. Ghahyasi. says

    The proposed escape assessment was sent to the escrow office that had moved sincethe time we oppened the escrow. Consequently, we did not receive the notices the assessors office had sent out. Now, six month has passes and the assessor office sent us a delequant tax bill. I feel we do not owe the tax because we were not aware of the notices. This was a prop 58 case.
    Please help
    Fred G.

    • says

      Fred, I just came across this comment from quite a while ago. I’m so sorry to have missed this one. I’m not sure what happened as I am in the habit of responding to all comments. This sounds like an unfortunate issue, and my guess is the Assessor would not budge and accept less money due to the escrow company dropping the ball. However, it may be prudent to at least waive the delinquent charges. I wish you the best.

  2. says

    the increased amount in real property valuation over the regular assessed valuation from a delayed reappraisal of the property and/or an erroneously applied homeowner’s exemption valuation reduction. secured property supplemental tax bill retroactively taxes the supplemental assessment of property on a pro- rata basis as a result of the assessor’s reappraisal of property

  3. sandracreech says

    I just got an Escape Assessment (County of San Diego) owing to a “missed change in ownership” of my mobile home which closed 08/11/2011.

    The three years net totals in the $46,000 range don’t tell me how much more I might have to pay nor do I know where begin to research as to value then and now in hopes I do not owe them. Any ideas where I might start?

    • says

      Hi Sandra. Thanks for reaching out. I might recommend calling whoever sent you the letter to ask them for an explanation. I imagine it’s the Assessor in San Diego, and the phone number should be on the letterhead that was sent to you. You can always ask them how much the $46,000 in assessment is going to equal in payments, and they should be able to answer you. I know up here the tax rate is about $100-125 for every $10,000, so $46,000 would equal about $500-600 out of pocket. Let me know if you have any questions.

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