March 10, 2009

The Sacramento County Tax Assessor, Ken Steiger, spoke to the Finance Forum of the Sacramento Association of Realtors this week.   In it, he spoke of 10 things every property owner should know about their property assessment and taxes.  I thought it would be a great list to share with fellow Sacramentans.

  • Land and Improvements can only be reassessed if there has been a change in ownership, new construction or a decline in value.
  • If you are an owner occupant you may qualify for a homeowners exemption on your property.  This is currently a $7000 reduction ($70 savings per year) reduction from the assessed value of your home.  This can be checked on your tax bill to find out if the property has one.
  • Remodels or repair and replacement of existing items on your property do not cause reassessment unless you have renovated the building to the extent it becomes substantially equivalent to a new building.  Additions are assessed at fair market value.
  • Refinancing does not cause a reassessment of the property.
  • Any transfer between spouses will not cause a reassessment of the property.
  • Declines in value of the property resulting from a natural cause (fire, flood, earthquake) or market declines can reduce your property assessment temporarily until the condition is remedied.  Requests and/or applications for reduction can be made with the County Assessor. *You can do this yourself…don’t buy into the offers of doing it for you for a fee!)
  • Supplemental Assessments occur whenever a change in ownership or new construction occurs.  These are sent separately from your annual October bill.  Since they are not paid automatically through your impound account, be certain to either pay it yourself or contact your lender to see if there is enough in the impound account for them to pay it.
  • Transfers of title between parents and children, or in certain circumstances Grandparents and Grandchildren, may be excluded from reassessment if an application is filed with the County Assessor and certain conditions are met.  Each individual owner can transfer property up to 1 million dollars worth of assessed value in addition to their primary residence to their children/grandchildren.  In these uncertain times of government budgets, check with your CPA or the Sacramento County Assessor to find out if these numbers are current.
  • If one owner of your residence is 55 or older, and you purchase a residence of equal or lesser market value within the same county (there are some other counties who honor this…check to find out the counties that cooperate), you may transfer your old property tax base to your new property, if an application is filed with the County Assessor and certain conditions are met.
  • If you have a concern that your property is assessed too high, you can contact your County Assessor’s office to try to resolve the issue.  If this doesn’t bring the results you want, you can file an appeal with your Assessment Appeals Board under the County Board of Supervisors.  You must file the appeal within 60 days of the date the bill or notice was sent, or for the annual main roll bill, between July 1st and November 30th of each year.

Now, if you have further questions, the Sacramento County Tax Assessor’s office has an award winning website at  Feel free to check it out!


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