Where can I get information about filing a property assessment appeal?
Visit the Clerk of the Board's website at http://ocgov.com/gov/cob/ and select ‘Appeal Your Property Value’ to get information on how to file an appeal and prepare for your hearing, forms and instructions and access to the online filing system that provides step-by-step help in completing your appeal application.
I want to appeal my property taxes. What do I need?
It's not your taxes that are appealable, it’s the Assessor’s enrolled value of your property that you can appeal. If homes in your area of the same size, condition and type have sold for less than the Assessor’s enrolled value of your home, you may have a valid assessment appeal. Be sure to review your annual July notice from the Assessor to see if after the Assessor’s review of your property resulted in a lower enrolled value.
What do I need to challenge my assessment?
Contact your realtor and have them provide you with comparable sales as close as possible to your property for the "lien date" timeframe. The lien date is January 1 of the year you are appealing. Your evidence (comparable sales) cannot be sales that occur 90 days after the lien date (January 1) but can go back in time. Evidence that is closest to the January 1 lien date will be the most credible evidence. Forms and our online appeal system that provide step-by-step help in completing your form are available on the Clerk of the Board's website at http://ocgov.com/gov/cob/ under 'Appeal Your Property Value'. Forms can also be obtained at most County Libraries and at the Clerk of the Board’s office at 333 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Room 101, Santa Ana, CA 92701.
What are the deadlines for filing assessment appeals?
Type of Assessment and Filing Deadlines are:
Regular Appeals: July 2 to September 15 of each year at 5:00 p.m.*
Supplemental/Roll Correction Appeals: 60 Days from date of notice*
Escape Appeals: 60 Days from date of notice*
Calamity Appeals: 6 Months from date of calamity reassessment notice*
* If the last day of the filing deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the filing period will be extended to the next business day at 5:00 p.m.
Is there a fee to file?
No, at this time there is no charge to file an assessment appeal.
Do I have to have an Agent or an Attorney to file?
No. You may file your application and present your evidence at the hearing without an agent or attorney. However, if you have an unusual property or legal issue, you may want to consult an appraiser, tax agent or attorney for guidance.
We hold workshops throughout the County on how to prepare for your hearing. A schedule of upcoming workshops can be found at www.oc.ca.gov/cob/ under Property Assessment.
What should I expect?
Once the Clerk of the Board has reviewed your application to ensure it was filed timely and completely, it will be scheduled on a calendar before an Assessment Appeals Board or Hearing Officer. At that time, you will be asked to present your evidence challenging the Assessor's enrolled value. The Assessor will also have an opportunity to present evidence supporting his enrolled value. The Assessment Appeals Board or Hearing Officer may announce their decision at the conclusion of your hearing or they may take the matter under submission and you will be notified of their decision by mail.
When will my appeal be heard?
If you file your appeal at the beginning of the filing period in July vs. at the end of the filing period September 15, you are likely to have your appeal heard within the first eight months beginning in November. However, with the high number of appeals currently being received it will likely take a year or more for your appeal to be scheduled for hearing if you file during the September timeframe. However, under no circumstances will your appeal be heard beyond the two-year statutory timeframe to hear and resolve your appeal. You will receive a hearing notice no later than 45-days prior to your scheduled hearing.
Do I have to attend the hearing?
Yes, if you do not appear your application will be denied.
What is the difference between an Assessment Appeals Board and a Hearing Officer and which should I have hear my appeal?
An Appeals Board is a three-member panel. When your hearing is scheduled with an Appeals Board it is a more formal courtroom atmosphere. The hearing will be tape-recorded and there will be a clerk and an appraiser from the Assessor's office at the hearing along with the Appeals Board.
When your hearing is scheduled with a Hearing Officer it is a more informal setting. A Hearing Officer is a qualified individual who hears residential valuation appeals. An Assessor's department appraiser also attends this hearing and the hearing is tape-recorded.
Selecting to have your appeal heard before an Appeals Board or a Hearing Officer is a personal choice. Both abide by the same guidelines and make their decisions upon the evidence presented at the hearing. Having your appeal heard before a Hearing Officer is considered an expedient and convenient alternative to the more formal Board proceedings. However, if you wish to have Findings of Fact prepared, you must have your appeal heard before a full Appeal Board.
Do I still have to mail my application to your office even though I used your online program?
Yes, you need to print, sign and mail or deliver your completed application to the Clerk of the Board PRIOR TO the deadline for your type of appeal. We cannot process your application unless it is received timely and with your original signature.
Can I fax my application?
No, we need an original signature on the application.
Do I have to have pay my property taxes while my appeal is pending?
Yes, otherwise a penalty for non-payment of taxes will be imposed which is not appealable to the Assessment Appeals Board. If your property taxes are reduced you will be refunded the amount of overpayment plus interest.
Do I need to supply evidence/“Comps” with my application?
No, but you are encouraged to gather your "Comps" (comparable sales) prior to filing to make an informed decision whether you should file an assessment appeal. If you choose to file an appeal, then bring the information to your hearing as evidence. You should bring 6 copies of your evidence for an Appeal Board hearing and 4 copies for a Hearing Officer.
What is the 90 Day Rule?
Under California law, Assessment Appeals Boards and Hearing Officers cannot consider a comparable sale if it occurred more than 90 days after the date of valuation. For property owners appealing their January 1 assessment, you may only collect comparable information from January 1 to March 30 (90 days) in the same year. Any evidence presented from April 3 forward is not admissible and cannot be considered by the Board or Hearing Officer. You may collect evidence prior to January 1 without having to be concerned with a time limitation, but understand that you may need to apply appropriate adjustments as evidence closer to January 1 is the most credible.
For Supplemental Assessments, the 90 day rule applies from the date of transfer or the completion of new construction (both dates displayed on the Assessor's Supplemental Notice) and 90 days forward.
Do I need to pay for a formal appraisal?
Usually, three comparable sales of homes in your area of the same size, condition and type are enough as evidence. However, if your property has extraordinary factors that influence its value and/or you don't feel you can collect adequate information/comparables, then you may consider seeking assistance from a real estate professional such as a real estate agent/broker and/or appraiser.
What is my APN #?
Your APN is your Assessor's Parcel Number, often referred to as your Parcel #.
What are Written Findings of Fact?
Findings of Fact are a written summary showing the basis for the Appeal Board's decision prepared by an attorney. Findings of Fact are necessary to challenge an Appeal Board’s decision in Superior Court. They are available only for Assessment Appeal Boards and not Hearing Officers. Findings of Fact must be requested in writing and paid for prior to the start of your hearing. Information on the fee for Findings of Fact can be found at www.oc.ca.gov/cob/ under Property Assessment.
How soon before I get a Hearing and how will I be notified?
Once we receive your application and process it, if it all checks out and there are no discrepancies, it will all depend on how many appeals have been filed before yours. We are on first-come- first-serve bases , applications are usually scheduled for hearing approximately 5-6 months after the application is filed. You will receive you hearing notice 60-70 days prior to your scheduled hearing.