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How to make the most of California’s Proposition 8

How to make the most of California’s Proposition 8 – I found out the hard way so thought I’d pass along what I just learned first hand.  Two years ago I had received my property tax bill and it was almost 25% higher than the prior year – so that’s 2014 vs. 2013.  I was so upset by this that I went to the Assessor’s Website – and found out that I could make an appeal online.  Well, fast forward to today when they actually called me back.  Yes…two years later.  They told me that they are going to reduce my basis which will means they will send me a check for my overpayment of the property taxes for two years ago.  I just wish I’d heard from them sooner, as I’d probably made an appeal for 2015’s tax basis as well.  As a matter of fact, the appraiser who called me from the LA County Assessor’s office today specifically told me that she advises everyone do it.  It’s not too hard to do and why not.  You just might get the reduced appraised value and then owe less in taxes.   Now I do have to drive down for the hearing and it’s in downtown Los Angeles at the Halls of Administration of Temple Street.  And I have to be there at 8:30 am – won’t be a fun drive that time of day, but for what I believe will be at least $1,000 – $2,000 credit in my pocket, it could be worth the time.

When I go to that hearing apparently I have the option to either decline or accept their appraised value – again which is lower than the value they taxed me on two years ago.  If I accept the value, it’s all over and they send me a check in the mail which is a credit toward my overpayment of property taxes.  If I so chose, and if I think the new value is still too high, I could decline the value and then go to another hearing in which I fight the case and bring my own comparables which I would show why that value is still too high.  (Obviously this would only be worth doing if I felt their value was grossly over valued.)  It will be interesting to see how the proceedings go.  I am just excited that I actually am going to get something back for my trouble two years ago.  I might even apply again for 2016 – why not.

If you want to apply for an appeal – you can only do it between July 2 and November 30th of the year you are appealing.  You file online and wait.  I waited two years – I basically just figured they did nothing and never were going to do anything.

What is Proposition 8?

n 1978, California voters passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to Article XIII A that allows a temporary reduction in assessed value when real property suffers a decline in value. A decline in value occurs when the current market value of real property is less than the current assessed (taxable) factored base year value as of the lien date, January 1. Proposition 8 is codified by section 51(a)(2) of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

Real property may decline in market value from one lien date to the next lien date; however, it will not benefit from a lower assessment unless its market value falls below the current factored base year value. For example, if you purchase your property during a time when the real estate market falls dramatically, or if your property is substantially damaged due to a storm or fire that causes a reduction in your property’s value, it is likely that your property will benefit from a Proposition 8 reassessment. The decline in value is typically temporary and may be the result of changes in the real estate market, the neighborhood, or the property itself.

Good luck!

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