CHANGE IN ASSESSMENT
REAL PROPERTY APPRAISAL
Under California State law, real property is reappraised only when:
New construction occurs,
- A change in ownership occurs, or
- Market value declines below assessed value.
If none of these things occur, the assessed value of a property will increase by no more than 2% per year.
Under Proposition 13, the property tax rate is 1% of assessed value, plus any bonds or fees approved by popular vote. Tax rates in Amador County average about 1.0%; however, an annual tax bill may also include other special assessments and levies, which are not property taxes.
In the past there have been properties throughout the State, including Amador County, that have been temporarily valued lower than their Proposition 13 (Factored Base Year) value. This is because provisions of our tax law allow the Assessor to make adjustments, if the market value is less than your taxable value.
When we experience a healthy real estate market, these temporary reductions are adjusted annually to reflect current market value. These temporary reductions are removed altogether and the original Proposition 13 value reinstated when the current market value exceeds the Prop 13 value. At this point the 2% maximum annual inflation factor is also reinstated.
New construction is appraised at its value as of the date it was completed, however, if January 1 occurs before completion, the unfinished new construction is also appraised at its percentage of completion for that year. Repairs, replacement, and maintenance are normally not considered to be new construction.
The Assessor’s Office receives copies of all building permits issued within the County and the Assessor independently determines if the new construction should be assessed. If so the value of the new construction is determined and added to the assessed value of the existing property. (Previously existing property is not reassessed.)
CHANGES IN OWNERSHIP
The Assessor’s Office reviews all recorded deeds to determine which require reappraisal. The Assessor may also request additional information from the owner about a deed or other changes in ownership (the owners response is strictly confidential and not available to the public). Often times, information about a sale, such as special financing or a sale that included personal property, can result in a lower assessment. The Assessor then determines the full cash value of those properties as of the date they changed ownership.
If the Assessor’s Office reappraises your property due to a change in ownership or completion of new construction, you will be notified by mail of the new value. There may be a supplemental tax bill produced if there was an increase in value. If the new value is less than the previous value, it may result in a refund. Supplemental tax bills are in addition to the regular annual tax bill for the first year the property is owned.
If property belonging on the local tax roll is not timely processed by the Assessor, it is termed an Escape Assessment.
This can occur due to different circumstances, however some of the more frequent reasons include the following:
- Business property statements are not filed, or are not filed by the deadline.
- An unrecorded contract of sale, not reported to the Assessor, which results in a change of ownership affecting prior years.
- A change in ownership due to a death is not reported, or not reported timely.
- Non-permitted new construction is discovered after the fact.
- Taxable personal property is discovered during a business audit.
- Normal assessment processes that are delayed to avoid a potential error on our part.
If you have received a Notice of Proposed Escape Assessment, the reason for the notice will be stated.
The notice will also state the values we intend to place on the tax roll, and you should expect a tax bill to follow in a reasonable time.
You have specific appeal rights, which are directly tied to the date on your notice, so it is important to read all the information carefully.
If you have any questions, please contact our office.
DECLINE IN VALUE - PROP 8
If the market value of a property as of January 1 is lower than the assessed value, the assessed value can be temporarily reduced. This decline in value may be the result of changes in the real estate market, the neighborhood, or the property itself. The assessed value will be reduced only after a review by the Assessor’s Office. If the assessed value is reduced, it will be reviewed annually as long as necessary. To request a review of an assessed value, call 223-6351 (8am - 5pm) or submit the "Request for Assessment Review" found in the "Forms" section.
If all or part of the improvements on a property are removed, the assessed value may be lowered.
If a property is damaged by a calamity, such as a fire or a storm, the assessed value can be lowered until repairs are completed. When the repairs or reconstruction are completed the previous existing prop 13 value can be reinstated. An Application must be filed with the Assessor’s Office within six months of the date the calamity occurred.
If you disagree with the assessed value of your real property or personal property you have the right to an informal review of the appraisal with the assessor or a member of his staff.
Whether or not you contact the Assessors Office first, you have the right to file an Application for Changed Assessment with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors. This leads to a hearing before the Board of Equalization, where you and the Assessors Office will present evidence to support the different opinions of value. The Board of Equalization will determine the value based on the evidence presented by both sides.
If you disagree with the value on the annual tax roll, you must file an application between July 2 and November 30.
If you disagree with the value of a supplemental assessment or escaped assessment, you must file within 60 days of the date of mailing of the supplemental notice.
To request an Application for Changed Assessment, write the Assessment Appeals Board at 810 Court Street, Jackson, CA. 95642 or call 223-6470. Property Assessment Appeal Applications, published by the State Board of Equalization and are also available on the Board of Supervisors page under "forms" on the county website.
Current information about property ownership and assessment in our county is available for viewing. This data is indexed by owner, parcel number and address. You may view it at the Assessors’ Public Counter, 810 Court Street, Jackson, CA. 95642
Information about property assessment, characteristics, ownership, and recent transfers is available for purchase. Please visit the Public Counter, or write to the Assessor, 810 Court Street, Jackson, CA. 95642 or call 223-6351 (8 am - 5 pm).
The Assessors Office maintains maps that show every parcel of property in Amador County. These parcel maps are the basis for the assessment of real property. The maps are continuously updated to reflect new parcels and changes to existing parcels. These maps are available for viewing at the Assessors Public Counter and can be purchased at the County Surveyors Office, 810 Court Street, Jackson, CA. 95642
BUSINESS AND PERSONAL PROPERTY
Mobile homes, modular homes and manufactured housing are all referred to as M/H in this section.
All M/H’s that are not on permanent foundations have titles (similar to automobiles) issued by the California Dept. of Housing & Community Development (HCD). Those purchased before July 1980, may either be subject to an HCD license fee or local property taxes. HCD can be reached at (916) 323-9224 or 1-800-952-8356.
M/H’s on permanent foundations and new M/H’s purchased after June 1980, are subject to property taxes. M/H’s that are subject to property tax are taxed at the same rate as other property and their values will increase by no more than 2% per year, unless there is a change in ownership or new construction occurs.
BUSINESS PERSONAL PROPERTY
Unlike real property, business personal property is appraised annually at current market value. The tax rate is the same as that of the real property at the same location. Business inventory and licensed vehicles are exempt from taxation. All businesses must file a property statement, annually or in some cases every third year, as determined be the Assessor’s Office, that lists the costs of supplies, equipment, and fixtures at each business location as of the lien date. If you do not receive a statement by January 1, please contact the Assessor’s Office at 223-6351 (8am - 5pm).
BOATS AND PLANES
Boats and airplanes are taxable and are appraised annually at their current market values. Their values are determined by reviewing market value listed in the Boat and Aircraft Bluebooks.
EXCLUSIONS & EXEMPTIONS
(fillable forms are available for some of the following)
HUSBAND AND WIFE:
Transfers of property between husband and wife are excluded from reassessment and will not cause a reappraisal. This includes transfers due to the death of a spouse or a divorce decree.
There is no reassessment for refinancing because it is not considered a change in ownership or new construction.
PARENT AND CHILD/GRANDPARENT AND GRANDCHILD:
In some cases, the transfer of property between parent and child or grandparent and grandchild will not cause a reappraisal. Normally when real property changes ownership, it must be reassessed at market value, establishing a new assessed value. When the parties involved are parents and their children, the reassessment can be avoided by filing a Claim for Reassessment Exclusion for Transfer Between Parent and Child with the Assessor's office. An exemption can also apply when the parties involved are grandparents and their grandchildren. This reassessment can be avoided by filing a Claim for Reassessment Exclusion for Transfer Between Grandparent and Grandchild with the Assessor's office. A principal residence and other property up to $1,000,000 assessed value may transfer without reappraisal, if the transfer qualifies. These forms can be found in the "Forms" section of the Assessor page.
The exclusion from reassessment is not automatic. The Assessors Office will determine if there is eligibility based on the preliminary Change of Ownership statement and a form or notice will be sent to the new owners. But it is the new owners responsibility to file the form. Since a re-assessment can sometimes mean a significant increase in the taxes, it's important to file the claim form in a timely manner.
This exclusion applies to all types of transfers, such as a sale for money, a gift, an inheritance, a court action, etc. If the transfer is due to inheritance, the change in ownership is as of the date of death, no matter when or if the title is actually put in the name of the heirs. This is important to know especially for parcels held in a trust. If the parcel is sold out of the trust or estate, there still may be a supplemental assessment from the date of death to the date of sale if the claim form is not filed.
Filing deadlines are within three years after the transfer, or prior to the transfer of the property to a third part, whichever is earlier, or within six months after the date of mailing of supplemental or escape assessment for the property. New legislation effective 1/1/98 allows for an additional filing time if you have missed all those already mentioned. However, this new filing time only affects future tax years and the parcel cannot have been transferred to a third party.
If you have any questions about this benefit, contact the Assessor's Office.
TRANSFER LOWER TAX BASE TO NEW PROPERTY (Prop 60):
In 1986 the voters of California passed Assembly Bill 60. This legislation allows property owners to sell their principal residence and buy or build a replacement residence of equal or lesser market value and take their original assessed value to the replacement home. The market value of the replacement home must be equal to or less than the value of the previously sold home or not more than 5% higher if the home was sold within a year after the acquisition of the new home and not more than 10% higher if sold in the second year after acquisition.
There is a two year period in which to accomplish this and one of the owners must be at least 55 years of age. Both the original and replacement dwellings must be occupied as principal residences and both must be in Amador County. You may purchase property and build a replacement residence providing that the purchase and construction be completed within the two year time period. Land that is purchased more than two years before the sale of the original property is eligible provided that the other statutory requirements are met. The Assessor determines the market value of both properties.
Here is an example of how the value transfer works. If a property owner with an assessed value of $80,000 sells their original residence for $200,000 and purchases replacement residence for $200,000 or less and meets the eligibility requirements outlined, s/he may transfer the original $80,000 assessed value to the replacement residence. So instead of paying taxes on the market value of the new home ($200,000), the owner continues to pay on the lower original value ($80,000). This results in considerable savings on the tax obligation for the replacement home.
In addition to the two-year time period to sell and replace, a claim form must be filed within 3 years of the date a replacement property is purchased or new construction is completed. This benefit can be used only once in the lifetime of the claimant.
If you feel you qualify for this benefit, submit the "Base Year Transfer to a Replacement Dwelling for persons 55 and older" form found in the "Forms" section. For additional information and or a claim form please contact this office.
The state has a program for property owners who own a home and occupy it as their principal place of residence as of 12:01 a.m. January 1. The homeowner may apply for a Homeowners Exemption that will reduce their annual tax bill by about $70.
If you build or acquire a home, and there was no exemption on the annual tax roll, you may apply for a Homeowners Exemption on the supplemental tax roll. In order to qualify, you must occupy the home within 90 days of the completion of new construction or the change in ownership. You should also apply for this exemption within 30 days of receiving a Notice of Supplemental Assessment.
If you believe you qualify for this exemption and it does not show on your property tax bill, simply call the Assessor's Office and we'll get you started. Once completed and on file, the exemption will appear on the annual property tax bill with the value reduction and tax dollar savings indicated. The exemption is applied each year without having to refile. The homeowner is only required to contact the Assessor's office if they move to another residence.
Homeowners Exemptions are not automatically transferred between properties. If you move, an application for a new exemption must be filed. The "Homeowner's Exemption" form is found in the "Forms" section. For additional information and or a claim form please contact this office.
BUILDERS INVENTORY EXCLUSION
The appraisal of new construction can be delayed under certain conditions. The owner must build with the intention to sell and must file an application with the Assessor’s Office no later than 30 days after the start of construction. If the owner is granted the exclusion, the new construction will not be assessed until the following lien date, unless it is sold, rented, or occupied before then. Click here for Builders Inventory Exclusion Form
SOLAR ENERGY NEW CONSTRUCTION
The solar panels for many types of active solar energy systems are exempt from taxation to the owner who had them constructed. They include, but are not limited to, those used for
- Space heating
- Water heating
- Production of electricity
- Solar mechanical energy
DISABLED VETERANS EXEMPTION
If you are a veteran who is totally disabled (service related 100%), blind in both eyes, or has lost the use of more than one limb as a result of injury or disease during military service, you may apply for a Disabled Veterans Exemption. It is also available to unmarried surviving spouses of such a veteran. An application must be filed with the Assessors Office.
There are two kinds of exemptions available for veterans.
The Disabled Veteran Exemption is designed to assist a veteran who is considered to be 100% disabled, as rated by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, or compensated at a rate of 100% due to unemployability. The unmarried surviving spouse may also qualify. The value of this exemption is up to $100,000 and is applied to the assessed valued of the principle residence. With the tax rate at about 1%, the exemption can save the property tax owner approximately $1,000 on their annual property tax obligation.
For regular veterans with limited assets, there is an exemption with a value of $4,000. To qualify for this exemption a married veteran total assets cannot exceed $40,000. For single veterans, total assets cannot exceed $20,000. Due to these restrictions, there are very few regular veterans that are eligible.
Should you believe that you are eligible for either type of the Veteran Exemption, please contact our office for additional information and the necessary form. The "Disabled Veterans' Exemption Claim" and related forms can also be found in the "Forms" section.
DISABLED PERSONS – NEW CONSTRUCTION EXEMPTION
California legislation provides that certain construction, installation or modifications of an existing dwelling can be excluded from assessment if the work is performed to make the dwelling more accessible to a severely and permanently disabled person who is a resident of the dwelling. Examples of construction that may be excluded from assessment are "access ramps, widening of doorways and hallways, barrier removal, changes to restroom facilities, etc."
The claim form must be filed with the Assessor's Office prior to or within 30 days of completion of construction and must include a physician's statement.
In addition, there is legislation that allows a severely and permanently disabled person to transfer their Base Year Value to a replacement home if it is purchased for the purpose of obtaining a dwelling that is more accessible or to alleviate financial burdens caused by the disability. This is a one-time benefit and also requires a physician's statement regarding the nature of the disability. The sale of the original home and purchase of the replacement home must be within 2 years of each other and the claim form must be filed within 3 years.
Should you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact the Assessor's Office.
Real and personal property used exclusively by a church, college, cemetery, museum, school, or library may qualify for an exemption from property taxation. Properties owned and used exclusively by a nonprofit religious, charitable, scientific, or hospital corporation may also be eligible. An application must be filed with the Assessors Office.