This year, for the first time, owners of mobilehomes will receive their notification in May instead of the end of June. “The earlier notification is due to improved operating efficiency within the Assessor’s Office,” said County Assessor Larry Stone. The Santa Clara County Assessor's Office is one of only 10 counties in California that mails a notice of assessment to all taxpayers.
“By encouraging property owners to contact us before the close of the assessment roll, we hope to substantially reduce the need for property owners to file a formal appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board. Notifying property owners of their assessed value six months before their tax bill arrives in the fall is a significant benefit to taxpayers,” said Stone.
Mailing notification cards before the roll closes also increases the accuracy of the assessment roll, which is an important component of the Department’s mission. “It is a huge benefit to our office,” said Stone. “Correcting an assessment after we close the roll on July 1, or through a formal assessment appeal, is far more expensive and time consuming than correcting it prior to July 1. The more accurate the Roll the better it is for everyone: taxpayers, agencies that rely on predictable property tax revenue and our office.”
Proposition 8, passed by California voters in November 1978, provides that property owners are entitled to the “lower” of the fair market value of their property as of January 1, 2007, or the factored base year assessed value as determined at the time of purchase or construction, and increased by no more than 2% annually.
Consistent with Proposition 8, a number of property owners will proactively receive either a reduction or a partial to full restoration of their assessed value. When the market value of properties declines below the previously established assessed value measured as of January 1 each year (lien date), the Assessor proactively reduces the assessed value to reflect the lower market value. However, as the real estate market rebounds, the Assessor is required to “restore” the assessed value for properties previously reduced.
The exact number of property owners receiving a temporary reduction or increase will not be available until shortly after the roll closes on July 1. As part of the Assessor’s proactive effort, nearly 20,000 properties were identified earlier this year as possible candidates for relief. While the review of residential property value is nearly complete, a substantial number of property values of non residential properties are still being actively reviewed. Once those reviews are complete, the Assessor will send those property owners receiving an increase, or reduction, a second notification. The timing of those reviews has been delayed this year due to actions the Assessor took in anticipation of budget cuts proposed for fiscal year 2007-08. “Last October we imposed a hiring freeze to prepare for the budget cuts which we anticipate will eventually reduce our staffing level to a 23-year low. The delay in completing Proposition 8 reviews is an example of the impact of staff cuts on our operation. While we have used technology, strong management, and talented staff to minimize the impact, those factors cannot fully make up for the loss of an anticipated 32 positions,” said Stone.
The back side of the notification card is below. The front of the card contains the property’s address, full cash value and parcel number.