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Appeal your Property Taxes in California

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Appeal your Property Taxes in California

In 1978, Proposition 13 was passed which allowed California properties to be reassessed to current market value only in instances of a change in ownership or the completion of new construction (called the base year value). In addition, Proposition 13 generally limited annual increases in the base year value of real property to no more than 2 percent, except when property changed ownership or underwent new construction. The good news is that longtime property owners, whose assessed values generally have not increased more than 2 percent per year, tend to have markedly lower property taxes than recent purchasers. However, new buildings and new owners now have assessed values that approximate current market levels.

Additionally, what is known as a “Luxury Tax,” because it is also collected on pricey possessions, such as yachts, air planes and expensive jewelry, is collected from California citizens. In particular, each business must annually file a 571-L or Business Property Statement in the county in which they are located.

Personal Property Tax Complications

A business not only pays for items that are owned, but also may need to account for leased equipment when reporting to the county assessor. Additionally, when personal property is sold, the seller must pay taxes on the property for the ensuing fiscal year. So if you sold office furniture in January, you would have to pay taxes on it as though you possessed the furniture for the entire year!

Because businesses located in multiple places must pay taxes to each county in which they have property, filing 571-Ls can be complicated. Although the Board of Equalization gives out an Assessor’s Handbook to all assessors in California, filing can vary county to county.Even deadlines for filing taxes differ by county.

Appeals Process

If a business disagrees with the assessment made, first contact the appropriate county to request an explanation of how the assessment was determined and inform the assessor of any facts affecting the value of the property. Most disagreements are settled this way, however, if an agreement cannot be reached an appeal should be considered.

In most counties an appeal is heard at an administrative hearing before the Board of Equalization. The property owner has the burden of proving that the assessor has improperly valued the property and the property owner can be represented by a lawyer.

Paramount Property Tax Appeal specializes in filing county 571-Ls, and when applicable, we know how to file and effectively win an appeal. We represent our clients throughout the filing and appeals processes.

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