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If you feel your property has declined in value over its assessed value, now is the time to apply to your county tax assessor for a reassessment to reduce the amount of property tax you will owe. In recent weeks, many Californians who bought homes in the peak years (usually 2005-2007) are getting lots of solicitations in the mail from companies who will get your house reassessed for a fee…sometimes in the hundreds of dollars. You don’t really need their services – it’s relatively easy and free to get it done yourself. Some of the tax-reassessment companies are legitimate and fair and may be a good alternative if you don’t have the time to do it on your own, but there are plenty of scammers out there. Here’s an example, reported by Emmet Pierce of the San Diego Union-Tribune:
“Two companies that offer to help homeowners reduce their property taxes for a fee were taken to court May 12th by the state Attorney General's Office for allegedly defrauding tens of thousands of California residents.
“According to the state, victims were billed nearly $200 each for services ‘that were almost never performed and are available free of charge from local tax assessors.’
“The suit, filed in San Diego Superior Court, seeks a minimum of $2.5 million in civil penalties. It claims that Property Tax Reassessment and Property Tax Adjustment Services violated state law by distributing false and misleading statements to consumers.
“According to court documents, defendant Sean McConville operates Property Tax Reassessment, while his brother, Michael McConville, oversees Property Tax Adjustment Services. In part, the Attorney General's Office said the Simi Valley residents sent out mailers ‘that read like government billing statements, featured official-looking logos and demanded hundreds of dollars in payment for reassessment and reassessment-appeal services.’
“The mailers allegedly warned consumers that their files would be marked nonresponsive or ineligible for future tax reassessments if they did not reply by a due date. According to the state, the companies have been operating since mid-2008. …”
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Where to get reassessment information by county:
San Diego http://arcc.co.san-diego.ca.us/ Are you planning to seek a reassessment? If so, how much, percentage-wise, do you think your value has decreased?
Los Angeles http://assessor.lacounty.gov/extranet/default.aspx
San Bernardino http://www.sbcounty.gov/assessor/
Santa Barbara http://www.sbcvote.com/Assessor/Assessor.aspx
Share Your Thoughts
Are you planning to seek a reassessment? If so, how much, percentage-wise, do you think your value has decreased?