I’m not trying to be THAT guy by starting a business conversation during Thanksgiving, but this is important. Did you know the deadline to appeal property taxes in Sacramento County is on Monday? Since December 2, 2013 is the cutoff point, I’ve boiled down the process to three steps of what you need to know. Please pass this along to friends and clients.
Three Steps for Disputing Property Taxes in Sacramento County:
- Look up your assessed value here: Your assessed value listed at this link is supposed to be what your home was worth on January 1, 2013 (NOT today’s value). Does the value seem reasonable? If yes, don’t do anything. If not, go to Step 2. Keep in mind every $10,000 of assessment ends up costing you about $125 out of your pocket. This means if you are overassessed by $50,000, you’ll be overpaying about $625 this year in property taxes. This is good to consider so you can determine if it is worth your time and effort to move forward.
- Request a free informal review by the Assessor here: You can ask the Assessor to take a look at your assessed value for free. This is not an appeal, but only an informal review (also known as a “Prop 8 Decline in Value” form). If the Assessor responds to you at some point, great. But if they don’t agree with your opinion of value after the deadline to appeal has passed (even if you are right), you’re out luck since you didn’t formally appeal (Step 3). This step is better than nothing (and it’s free), but Step 3 is best.
- File a formal appeal: All you need to do is fill out the Application for Changed Assessment (PDF) (cost is $30) and turn it in before the deadline. Along with the application it’s best to provide some support for what your property was worth on January 1, 2013. Ideally you should provide a list of comparable sales around January 1, 2013 (NOT current sales) and write up a few sentences about how these sales compare to your property. Let’s be honest though, it is a busy week ahead, so if you don’t have time or ability to gather support in these next few days, just fill out the application anyway. The most important thing this late in the game is to get the application in. You can always provide support later (or hire someone like me to help you with that in the future if the Assessor sends you a letter about an appeals hearing). The main benefit of a formal appeal is that it entitles you to carry on the conversation with the Assessor if they disagree with your opinion of value. You do not have the right or power to keep the appeals conversation going when you only do Step 2.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I really understand how this process works, so I’ll be glad to answer any last-minute questions you might have.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope it’s your best one ever.
Pro Tip: Don’t talk about property taxes at the Thanksgiving table. 🙂