What you need to know about the property tax appeal deadline NEXT week in Sacramento

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.

Image-purchased-by-Sacramento-Appraisal-Blog-and-used-with-permission

Three Steps for Disputing Property Taxes in Sacramento County:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Image purchased at 123rf dot com and used with permission - 14688774_s - smallerFile 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.¬† ūüôā

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5 things to know about 2013 property taxes

There are going to be many property owners in for a rude awakening come next week when they find out how much their property taxes increased. We all love it when real estate values go up, but one of the unfortunate byproducts is increased taxes – especially for those who had their property assessments lowered by the Assessor’s Office in recent years.

There is so much bad and dishonest conflicting information out there about property taxes in Sacramento County, so I want to help clear some of that up by giving accurate insight based on my expertise with the property tax appeals process.

Five things you should know about property taxes in 2013:

  1. Image-purchased-by-Sacramento-Appraisal-Blog-and-used-with-permissionWhen can you appeal? The formal period to dispute 2013 property taxes in Sacramento County will be open from July 2, 2013 to December 2, 2013.
  2. How can you find out your 2013 assessed value? You can look up your 2013 assessment here on the Assessor’s website in early July 2013. Keep in mind the assessed value is supposed to be based on January 1, 2013 (NOT the current market). If the value looks too high, then I recommend appealing if it makes enough sense for you. Every $10,000 of assessment equals about $100-125 out of your pocket, so it’s important to understand how much you are over-assessed to determine whether it’s worth it or not to pursue the appeals process. I usually recommend property owners to pursue an appeal if they are assessed more than $30,000 too high. The bulk of people I’ve assisted are usually assessed between $50,000 to $100,000 too high (my record was 1.5 million on a piece of land).
  3. Who will pay more in taxes this year? Since the market increased last year, mostly all property owners will have a typical 2% increase in taxes to account for inflation, but there will also be MANY property owners who have their taxes adjusted upward by 10-15% easily. The Assessor can only inflate taxes by basically 2% each year under normal circumstances, but for property owners who received a “Prop 8 temporary reduction” over the past several years, their property taxes can be raised any amount each year so long as it is not increased above the original “base-year value” (called the “Prop 13 value” – which is usually the original purchase price level from years ago). This essentially means many home owners will be paying hundreds of dollars more this year – and they didn’t even see it coming.
  4. image purchased from 123rf dot com and used with permission - Sacramento Appraisal Blog - smallerWhich form should you fill out? This confuses so many people, so read closely. There are actually two forms you can fill out during the appeals process. There is a free form called the “Prop 8 Decline in Value” form. It is NOT an appeal, but you might be able to get results still by asking the Assessor to review your property for free. If you do not hear back from the Assessor’s office by October though, I highly recommend filing a formal appeal (cost is $30) so you have recourse as a property owner after the appeals deadline on December 2 has passed. I cannot emphasize how important it is to know the distinction between these two forms. Please take a few minutes to watch the video below for more information. This can save you and your contacts money.
  5. Do you need help or not? If you have access to data (sales in particular) between January and March 2013, you can put together your own support for your property’s value. If you can do this, don’t hire anyone. The key is to put together something solid, honest and realistic (don’t lowball the Assessor). If you do not know how to support a value for your property, hire someone. Keep in mind that in most cases I strongly discourage a full appraisal because it’s just too much unnecessary information¬† unless the property is very complex.

I hope this was helpful for you personally or simply good information to make you a stronger asset and resource for your clients. Do keep me posted if you have any questions. Feel free to comment below and I’ll be sure to respond to you.

My Services: In case it’s relevant, I’ve assisted countless property owners during the tax appeal process over the past few years, and they’ve had profound success in reducing their property taxes. I’ve done quite a bit of work with typical “decline in value” situations, but also with escape assessments and other base-year value challenges. I don’t use a full appraisal because it’s not needed in most cases. Instead I developed a more limited custom valuation product that is amply informative, yet it only costs about 1/3 of what a full appraisal costs. You can check out my property tax website if you wish. Let’s talk more if you have any questions.

Watch a Tax Appeal Video: In case you’d rather listen to the content of this post, watch the video below (or here)

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One more month to appeal your property taxes in Sacramento County

Image purchased by Sacramento Appraisal Blog and used with permission - Image credit www.123rf.comphoto_10939567_businessman-taking-a-hit-by-the-taxe-s-hand.html'luislouro - 250 pixI wanted to remind everyone that you have one more month to appeal¬†your 2012 property taxes in Sacramento County. The deadline to dispute your assessed value is November 30, 2012. This deadline is for typical “decline in value” situations where the market has decreased in value, but the assessed value is out of sync with reality. Keep in mind the¬†assessed value is supposed to be based on January 1, 2012¬†– NOT today. If you have questions about how the process works, you can scan through over 60 property tax articles I’ve written or feel free to email or call.¬†However, read¬†here about some of the nuts and bolts of property taxes¬†to help you get started.¬†Being that it’s down to the last month, I highly recommend owners to¬†fill out the Application for Changed Assessment¬†(a formal appeal) instead of the Prop 8 Form (a free form that carries zero weight after November 30). Like I tell everyone, it’s great if you can do your own research in the appeals process, but if you need help, let’s connect.

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Should you fill out the Prop 8 “Decline in Value” form or Application for Changed Assessment?

There is so much confusion about which form to fill out when appealing your property taxes in Sacramento County.¬†In the video I explain the difference between the Proposition 8 “Decline in Value” form and the Application for Changed Assessment. I give advice on which form to fill out and hopefully give a clear explanation of which one of these forms is actually an appeal (only one of them). Every year I see property owners lose money because they filled out the wrong form or frankly knew too little about the appeals process, so I hope this is helpful. Watch the video below (or here).

What do you think? Any questions?

If you have any questions or Sacramento area real estate appraisal or property tax appeal needs, contact me by phone 916-595-3735, email, Facebook, Twitteror subscribe to posts by email.