Adjust your property taxes to reflect today’s value

May 11, 2007
REALTOR® Outlook
By Kay Wilson-Bolton For times such as these, the California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 51 authorizes the County Tax Assessor to temporarily lower the taxable value of any real property when the assessed value is greater than the market value as of the January 1st lien date.What seems like a long time ago, between 1991 and 1996, real estate prices in Ventura County slipped to their lowest levels during a statewide economic recession.The Assessor’s office reduced approximately 75,000 property assessments below their Proposition 13 factored base year value.These properties were in a temporary, decline-in-value status. Under Prop 13, the base year value established at their time of purchase must be increased by an inflation factor, not to exceed 2% per year. This adjusted value is known as the factored base year value.There is no limit as to how rapidly the Assessor could reduce a value to track market conditions. While there is also no limit as to how rapidly they can be restored in a recovering market, their policy has been to phase in the restoration as they follow the market over time. The assessment’s upper limit remains the Prop 13 factored base year value.In 1998, with the market improved over previous years, some proprieties were restored to their factored base year value, and several thousand properties were only partially restored.The recent boom has impacted almost all classes of commercial/industrial, oil, multi-family apartment and single-family residential properties, which were in a decline-in-value status.If you have evidence that the market value of your property, as of January 1, 2007, was less than the assessed value, property owners are able to ask for an adjustment of their taxes.
The request must be submitted to the Assessor’s Office by December 31, 2007. You can obtain the form from the County’s website or call 805.654.2181.If you disagree with the Assessor’s findings resulting from the application, you can appeal the decision. The assessment appeal filing periods from July 2 through November 30, 2007.The Assessor’s office will need supporting documentation for your opinion of value which could include an appraisal, listings in the area (solds are better), repair permits, or a market analysis prepared by a REALTOR®.REALTORS® care about property values in every market. Let a REALTOR® you trust know if you need assistance in supporting your request for a property tax adjustment.You are entitled to pay only the amount of tax you owe. That applies to all taxes for all reasons.Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and CENTURY 21 Ability. She brings a regional perspective to local issues. She can be reached at 805.340.5025. Her website is

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