Every year California property owners pay property tax based upon the property’s assessed value, as determined by the county assessor. The assessed value of many properties has steadily increased over the years as county assessors have often applied a 2 percent annual increase to annual assessed value. Although some counties have undertaken to reduce the assessed value of certain property given the economic downturn, often these decreases do not account for the actual reduction in value of the property. California property owners may benefit in the short and long term by filing a tax appeal in order to reduce the amount of real property taxes that they owe for 2010.

The Property Appraiser’s Office in each county has begun mailing their annual estimated tax notices setting forth the estimated property taxes due for the 2010 tax year to property owners. It is particularly important for all property owners to analyze this year’s tax assessment. If your real property has declined in value, a well timed, well presented appeal can result in significant long-term financial benefits to a property owner even after the market has recovered because once the assessed value is brought down, it becomes the new basis for all future increases.

We suggest you take a few minutes to review your estimated annual tax notice to determine whether you believe it accurately reflects the value of your property. Every taxpayer has the right to question and appeal the property appraiser’s assessment of their property. If you own property and would like to challenge your tax assessment or would like to clarify any issues or have questions concerning the status of your property, please contact us.

Holland & Knight attorneys have extensive experience in negotiating with assessors’ offices and organizing and presenting meaningful data which can be the key to a successful challenge or appeal of an assessment. We are prepared to assist and guide you through the review of your 2010 tax notice and help you negotiate with the county assessor and navigate through the property tax appeal process. We are committed to ensuring that your assets and rights are protected during these trying economic times.