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Assessment Appeals

Image of houses with graph showing rising values
Property taxes are primarily based on a property's assessed value as determined by the County Assessor. If you disagree with the value established by the Assessor, you can appeal that value to the Assessment Appeals Board.


**Please Note: You are urged to discuss the basis of your assessment with the Assessor's Office prior to your appeal. Many times, the matter can be worked out with the Assessor's Office. However, such contact does NOT protect your right to an appeal should the matter not be settled. In order to protect that right, you MUST file an Assessment Appeal Application by the final filing date.

 
TYPE OF FILING FILING PERIOD
Regular Assessments July 2 to November 30, of each year for all real and personal property assessments.
Supplemental Assessments no later than 60 days of the mailing date printed on the Supplemental notice or tax bill, or the postmark date of the notice or tax bill, whichever is later.
Escape Assessments no later than 60 days of the mailing date printed on the notice or adjusted/escape assessment tax bill, or the postmark date of the notice or tax bill, whichever is later.

Appeals Checklist:

image of a check markTalk to the Assessor first
image of a check markFile the Assessment Appeal Application by the specified time (see above for deadlines)
image of a check markMake sure you appear at the hearing
image of a check markBe prepared to present evidence to support your opinion
image of a check markPay your taxes when due to avoid delinquent penalties
By State law, the assessment year 1975-76 serves as the original base year, and the market value base for individual assessments is the value indicated on the 1975-76 tax bill under “Full Cash Value.” Thereafter, any assessment year in which real property, or a portion thereof, is purchased, newly constructed, or changes ownership becomes the base year used to determine full
cash value. The Assessor then assesses the property at 100% of the full cash value (current market value as of the date of appraisal.)

Increases in the assessed value of real property, other than the 2% inflationary factor, result primarily from reappraisals due to change in ownership or new construction.

Whenever a reappraisal is made, the assessor mails a notice to the owner showing the new full value and the reason for the value change.
If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the Assessor’s appraisal, by all means, discuss it with the Assessor’s Office. Their personnel will be glad to answer any questions you may have about the appraisal and review any pertinent information you can provide. Many times, the problem can be resolved at this point.

After talking with the Assessor’s Office, if you still find a significant difference between their appraisal and what you feel the value is, you may file an application for a hearing. Complete the necessary form and mail to:

Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
P.O. Box 784
Mariposa, CA 95338

Phone: (209) 966-3222.

There is no fee for the filing of an appeal.

Applications must be filed with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors within the filing period (see chart above.) Applications postmarked by the last day of the filing period are considered to be filed timely.

The Assessment Appeals Board has no jurisdiction to hear an application unless it is filed within the specified time.

The application must show your opinion of the full value, and the reason you believe the Assessor’s value is incorrect. The Assessment Appeals Board has no legal authority to reduce an assessment because of the increase in value or taxes from prior years, your ability to pay taxes, or the manner in which tax funds are spent. The function of the Board is to determine the full value of property on the basis of the evidence presented.
Despite the fact that you have filed an application for reduction, you are still obliged to pay your property taxes when due. If you have paid your taxes, and are subsequently granted a reduction, you will receive a refund. If you do not pay your taxes when they become due, and the Board makes no change in the assessment, you will expose yourself to late payment penalties and interest.
Applications are heard by an Assessment Appeals Board consisting of three members appointed by the Board of Supervisors.
After you file an application, the Clerk of the Board will schedule a hearing and notify you in writing of the time and place. Generally, the notice is sent forty-five (45) days prior to the hearing date. (The County has two (2) years in which to schedule a hearing.)

Should you find it necessary to request a postponement, you should submit a written request to the Clerk of the Board for consideration by the Assessment Appeals Board. The request for postponement must be for a justifiable reason and must be approved by the Board.
Burden of Proof:
The law presumes the Assessor has properly valued the property. At the hearing, you must be prepared to present evidence to support a different value. If you do not submit evidence to overcome the presumption, the application must be denied. An exception to this presumption is in appeals involving an owner-occupied single-family dwelling. In this case, the Assessor must present evidence to support his valuation. However, you should still be prepared to present evidence in support of your opinion of value.

If you disagree with your assessment based on the fair market value, there are three basic types of information you may present. You should be prepared to support your opinion of value by the use of comparable sales, cost approach, or an income approach.

Comparable Sales:
When reliable market data is available, this is the preferred method of valuation. If your appeal is on residential property, you should be prepared to use this approach if at all possible. There is normally a large amount of market data available for single-family residences.

The sales data of the comparables can be any time prior to the required appraisal date, but not more than 90 days after. You should be prepared to present the date of the sale, the sales price, and make a comparison of that property to your property.

Since no two properties are exactly alike, adjustments should be made for such differences as size, age, condition, quality, location, etc. You should be prepared to make this type of comparison.

You may use the purchase price of the property under appeal as evidence but don’t stop there. One sales price, even on the subject property, does not establish market value. Be prepared to present additional sales data to support your valuation.

Cost Approach:
The cost approach to value is preferred when no reliable sales or income data is available. Due to the difficulty in measuring depreciation, the reliability of the cost approach tends to decrease as the age of the structure increases.

A replacement cost estimate should include all normal costs of construction, such as architect’s fees, building permit fees, contractor’s overhead and profit, and other necessary costs.

You may present actual construction costs for the property under appeal but, again, don’t stop there. If you did any of the work yourself, or acted as your own contractor, be prepared to place a value on that work. If there were construction cost increases between the time you entered into your contract and the date of completion, they must be recognized. Look for available sales or income data to support your opinion.

Income Approach:
The income approach to value is used for property which is typically purchased in anticipation of a monetary income. In this approach, you must estimate the amount of income the property is capable of producing and capitalize that income stream into a value.

In using this method, you should be prepared to justify the income projection, the vacancy and expense allowances, and the capitalization rate. Any available sales or cost information should also be prepared.
Hearings are scheduled before the Assessment Appeals Board as needed.

Hearing dates and agendas (when available) can be found here. The applicant, or the agent authorized by the applicant, must be present at the hearing. If the applicant was properly notified of the time and place of the hearing, and is not present, the application must be denied for non-appearance. The Board may waive appearance if the issues raised by the application and the supporting facts are fully presented in the application, and if the applicant or his agent requests the waiver in the application. If the Board waives appearance of the applicant, it will decide the case based on the facts included in the application and the evidence presented by the Assessor.
A “change in ownership” means a transfer of a present interest in real property, including the beneficial use thereof, the value of which is substantially equal to the value of the fee interest. There are, however, many types of transfers excluded from the definition of change in ownership.

Under current law, the Assessor is required to reappraise real property whenever a change in ownership occurs. If you have no argument with the valuation, but believe the property should not have been reappraised, you should talk to the Assessor’s Office concerning the type of evidence you need to prepare. The documentation that no change in ownership took place will be different for different situations.
Acting on the evidence presented at the hearing, the Board will determine the full value of the property. The decision may be given at the conclusion of the hearing or taken under submission, in which case the applicant will be notified of the decision in writing. The decision of the Board is final.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES (links open in a new window)
"Your Assessment Appeal" - Videos produced by the California State Board of Equalization

"Frequently Asked Questions" - Answers by the State Board of Equalization to common questions regarding Assessment Appeals.

Taxpayers' Rights Advocate Office - Link to the State Board of Equalization's Taxpayers' Rights Advocate Office

Publication 30 - State Board of Equalization guidelines for property owners appealing the assessed value of residential properties.

 

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5100 Bullion St.  |  Mariposa, CA 95338  |  Telephone Numbers