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INYO COUNTY ASSESSMENT APPEALS

ASSESSOR'S APPRAISAL OF PROPERTY

By State law, the assessment year 1975-76 serves as the original base year and the market value base for individual assessments is the value indicated on the 1975-76 tax bill under “full cash value.” Thereafter, any assessment year in which real property, or a portion thereof, is purchased, newly constructed or changes ownership shall become the base year value used in determining the full cash value on the date the change occurs for such real property or a portion thereof. The assessor then assesses the property at 100 percent of the full cash value.
Increases, in the assessed value of real property, other than the 2% inflationary factor, result primarily from reappraisals due to change in ownership or new construction.
Whenever a reappraisal is made, the assessor mails a notice to the owner showing the new full value and the reason for the value change.

TALK TO ASSESSOR FIRST

If your opinion of the value of your property differs from the assessor’s appraisal, by all means come in and discuss it with the Assessor. The personnel in his office will be glad to answer any questions you may have about the appraisal and review any pertinent information you can provide. Many times, the problem can be solved at this point.

FILING THE APPEAL

After talking with the Assessor, if you still find a significant difference between his appraisal and your opinion of value, you may file an application for a hearing. The necessary forms are available from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, County Administrator’s Office, P.O. Box “N” Independence, CA 93526. Phone (760) 878-0373.
Applications must be filed with the Clerk of the Board beginning July 2 but no later than September 15. Applications postmarked by September 15 are considered timely filed. Supplemental assessments appeals must be received within 60 days of the date of notice. The Assessment Appeals Board has no jurisdiction to hear an application unless it is filed within the specified time.

BASIS FOR THE APPEAL

The application must show your opinion of the full value and the reason you believe the assessor’s value is incorrect. The Assessment Appeals Board has no authority to reduce an assessment because of the increase in value or taxes from prior years, your ability to pay taxes, or the manner in which tax funds are spent. The function of the Board is to determine full value of property on the basis of the evidence presented.

ASSESSMENT APPEAL HEARINGS

The Board of Supervisors who sits as local Board of Equalization holds assessment appeal hearings. The Board hears the evidence from both the Applicant and the Assessor.

APPEARANCE AT THE HEARING

The applicant, the applicant’s attorney or the agent authorized by the applicant, must be present at the hearing. If the applicant was properly notified of the time and place of the hearing, and is not present, the application must be denied for non-appearance.

PAYMENT OF TAXES

Despite the fact you have filed an application for reduction, you are still obligated to pay your property taxes when due. If you have paid your taxes and are subsequently granted a reduction, you will receive a refund. If you do not pay your taxes when they become due, you will be subject to late payment penalties and interest even if your assessment is reduced.
 
THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION:

  1. DOES NOT fix tax rates, levy taxes or change the tax rate.
  2. CANNOT reduce your assessment:
    • Because you cannot pay your taxes, or
    • Because the assessed value of neighboring property is lower than your present assessment.
  3. CANNOT grant exemptions or remove penalties for delinquent payments.
  4. WILL DETERMINE THE BASE YEAR MARKET VALUE OF YOUR PROPERTY:
    • Based on evidence presented by the Applicant and the Assessor.
  5. WILL ASK:
    • Your opinion of the full market value and facts or justification for your opinion as of:
      1. January 1, or
      2. The date real property is purchased, newly constructed, or changed ownership
  6. WILL DETERMINE WHETHER TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP OCCURRED REQUIRING REAPPRAISAL FOR TAX PURPOSES if there is any disagreement regarding this issue.
 

NOTICE OF HEARING

Notice of hearing will be mailed forty-five days prior to the hearing date. If you wish a notice of hearing to be sent to co-owners, you must include their names and addresses with the application.

WITHDRAWALS

If you decide not to pursue your appeal, you may withdraw your application in writing.

STIPULATIONS

A Stipulation is an agreement between you and the Assessor as to correct the value of the property. The Stipulation signed by you (or your attorney or agent) and the Assessor and County Counsel shall be submitted to the Board of Equalization at the hearing. If the signed Stipulation is presented, the Board may (1) accept the Stipulation or (2) reject the Stipulation and re-set the appeal for hearing. If a properly signed Stipulation is submitted to the Board, you need not be present at the hearing.