A Lower Assessment?, or, Have You Checked Your Property Tax Data Lately?

During the 1990s recession, many property owners filed for a re-evaluation of their property taxes because of the falling market prices, which meant a lower property tax. To do that--then, as now--there were certain forms and a procedure to follow to apply for that lower assessment. That information, by the way, is posted on the County Tax Assessor's site. One thing to know right now, though, is that the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor's office has been diligently pursuing the market trends and automatically lowering property assessments during this latest downturn.

If, however, you think you are still not getting the correct assessment, you should know that deadlines must be met, or you wait until the following year to make an appeal. Review your property data for square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, etc., to make sure it compares correctly with the real configuration of the property.

If you believe your property data as entered in the tax records does not represent the property, documentation will be required in the form of an appraisal (if you have one) or other documentation. For instance, if your home shows as a 3 bedroom on the tax records, but it was later modified and is functionally a 2 bedroom, this will require documentation to present to the Tax Assessor's office.

Be able to provide recent comparable sales (usually about 3) in your area to show current market values. If you need help with this, please contact me for information on filing deadlines, or the sold listings provided through the MLS that would be a comparable for your property.

And, while you're at it, you should make sure you've taken your $7,000 Homeowner Exemption, which also saves you a little more because it lowers your tax basis by $7,000.

By lowering your assessment, you save money.

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