February 1, 2008

Property Tax Relief

County Assessor, Gregory J. Smith, wishes to notify property owners that tax relief is available if their property’s market value has fallen below its assessed value. Your property’s assessed value is shown in the upper right hand corner of your current tax bill. For all practical purposes, this only affects those property owners who purchased their property at the height of the current real estate market.

Under State law, (Proposition 8) a temporary reduction in assessed value can be made when the market value falls below the assessed value. Once reduced, the Assessor’s Office must then annually review the value of the property. When the property values increase, the assessed value will also be increased but no higher than the original assessed value (plus the annual CPI increase, not to exceed 2%, as required by Proposition 13).

Property owners who believe their property’s market value has fallen below its assessed value should file an Application for Review of Assessment with the Assessor’s Office as soon as possible but no later than May 30, 2008. They should provide their opinion of value and supporting documentation, such as comparable sales, current listings, or a recent appraisal. For apartments or other income-producing property, income and expense information should also be provided. This application is available on the Assessor’s Web site at www.sdarcc.com, in all the Assessor’s branch offices, or by phoning the Assessor’s Office at (858) 505-6262. When complete, please return the application to Gregory J. Smith, County Assessor, 1600 Pacific Highway, Room 103, San Diego, CA 92101.

Property owners who apply for this temporary reduction will be notified in early July of the results of their request. 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 November 30.

Mr. Smith also wishes to alert the public that numerous private businesses and individuals are currently mailing solicitations to property owners offering their assistance in this process for a fee. While property owners are certainly at liberty to use these private companies, they can apply for this reduction themselves at absolutely no cost by simply filing the application with the Assessor’s Office by May 30.

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