Do It Yourself - Warning! 
 

© CA State Board of Equalization Website: Your Assessment Appeal

 

In the many years we have been involved in the Property Tax Reduction business we have seen many things.…
Our attendance at Assessment Appeals Hearings, either with Hearing Officers or the full Assessment Appeals Board has given us the opportunity to learn more and more. While waiting our turn to have a Client's case heard, we have watched as individuals, property managers, lawyers and even other agents present their cases. It is always interesting to watch as the property owners or their representatives fall victim to the arbitrary procedural rules and customs in each County.

As a point of fact, each County Assessor is responsible before the State Board of Equalization to comply with The Revenue and Taxation Code. To this end they are audited and must adhere to certain of the findings to receive their full share of the tax revenue. But there is plenty of room for differences.

Below you will find excerpts from an article on the Internet at Cal-Tax.org, an organization founded in 1926 “to protect taxpayers from unnecessary taxes and to promote government efficiency.” It is especially important for those who listen to the Assessor’s Office rhetoric of not needing to hire an Agent because they will do the right thing now that they admit property values are declining to read this in it’s entirety. The article is a bit dated but much of what follows still rings true for those who think the government is fair and objective.

By Eric Miethke
"Most practitioners and property tax managers share a common bond: they feel that rather than being a system of adjudicating legitimate disputes, the property tax appeals process has become a system of rubber-stamping assessor values, even when those values are arbitrarily determined."


"How could practitioners and property tax managers come to this conclusion? Simply stated, because it is the correct one. The property tax appeals system is inherently unfair, and is designed to provide maximum revenue collection and de minimus due process for taxpayers."


"Third, once an application for reduction in assessment is filed, the counties have taken the position that no amendments to that application can be made. Considering that at the time applications are due, tax bills have not even been sent out, it seems pointless to preclude taxpayers from amending their applications; that is, of course, unless it is to ensure that many people do not receive a fair hearing on their applications."


"If one recognizes that most taxpayers don’t understand the distinction between an application to reduce base-year value and a reduction in fair market value under Proposition 8, the prohibition on amending applications seems both punitive and inconsistent with due process. By contrast, administrative proceedings in the sales and income tax areas allow such petitions to be amended or augmented up to the hearing."


"Next, once the county has received an application, the law provides that it can wait up to two years before granting an appeals board hearing. State tax agencies, under direction from the Legislature, are moving to shorten and accelerate the administrative appeals process. With modest exceptions, the counties have gone in the other direction with the property tax. During the 1990s, counties have repeatedly sought to extend the two-year limitation on property tax appeals hearings to three years."

As the old saying goes, 'Justice delayed is an opportunity for the taxpayer to give up.'"

To view the entire article, click here.

Because of the complexity of these rules and customs, CAPTA represents attorneys and even judges who understand that the Property Tax Appeal arena is completely different. More and more, we are seeing property owners and managers looking for help when their appeal is scheduled for hearing. Was the appeal process set up for individuals to be able to navigate through? Absolutely. But it has quickly become an increasingly daunting task. Like income taxes, you could likely prepare them yourself. However, it doesn't take long to realize that there is so much more than meets the eye and you hand it over to your CPA or tax attorney. Likewise, you can pursue the property tax appeal yourself, but you will likely find out its far less simple than it was intended to be. When that day comes, CAPTA will still be here to see you through.

So Now the Question is Why CAPTA?

Homeowners with tract homes or typical single family residences - proceed to our step-by-step do it yourself guide.

Do you have other questions or just want to learn more?

Time is critical, the opportunity to file for the 2017 tax year is NOW in some counties!
Please contact us now at (888) 903-5766 or E-MAIL US right away!

 
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