“Regrettably, approximately 15% of the cards were printed with errors,” said County Assessor Larry Stone. Those printing errors appear to include incorrect property address, parcel number and/or assessed values; the mailing address was not affected.
Late this afternoon the Assessor’s office was able to isolate those zip codes most likely to have received notification cards containing errors. There are no more than 12 zip codes, out of approximately 230 zip codes in the county, and it is unlikely that all property owners within these zip codes are, in fact, affected:
The Assessor’s Office discovered the problem this morning and has been working diligently with their printing services vendor to identify exactly how many property owners were affected. The Assessor’s Office has confirmed that the problem is confined to the physical printing of the cards; the Assessor’s internal database does not contain these errors.
“It is simply awful. We mail these cards to reduce confusion, improve customer service and increase the accuracy of the assessed values—and are one of only 10 Counties that mail them. This error is likely to have the opposite effect,” said Stone.
Once the Assessor’s Office has identified which property owners received the wrong information the Office plans to mail those taxpayers a corrected notification as quickly as possible. “I am truly sorry for the confusion this has created. I am committed to making sure every property owner is notified with sufficient amount of time, so that taxpayers and our staff can focus on issues of valuation rather than printing errors.” said Stone.
Taxpayers are encouraged to wait to receive, by mail, a corrected notification rather than deluge the Assessor’s Office with phone calls. The Assessor’s Office will contact the media and update their website (www.sccassessor.org) once it is known which properties were impacted and the anticipated datefor mailing the corrected notification card.
For more than 30 years, Santa Clara County has mailed the annual notification card and they are one of only 10 counties in California that mails them. By encouraging taxpayers to contact the Assessor’s Office early in the process, these notifications reduce the eventual number of formal assessment appeals, which are time consuming and expensive for both parties. A reduction of a little more than 100 appeals provides a savings equivalent to the entire cost of mailing the cards.