“San Francisco homeowners are flooding City Hall with so many requests to reduce their property values that the tax assessor said today his office may not be able to meet the demand. So far, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting’s office has received about 1,000 requests for informal reevaluations – three times the number filed last year. Friday is the deadline to request an informal property reevaluation from the assessor.”
Formal requests for reassessment must be filed by Sept. 15 and Ting said anyone who does not hear back from his office – or does not agree with their assessment – should file by that date.”
S.F. assessor overwhelmed with reevalution requests [SFGate]
Assessing The Potential Upside Of A Down Market: Property Tax Basis [SocketSite]

17 thoughts on “JustQuotes: It’s Time To Make Some Property Tax Lemonade”
  1. So….say your house falls in value this year by 10%…you ask to have your valuation for property tax purposes reduced by that amount. BUT, if the value recovers next year Prop. 13 limits the increase in value for tax purposes to 1%? Is that really how this works?

  2. @cameronRex
    I have been thinking the same thing since I started reading about these requests coming from So Cal owners. If Prop 13 caps the value on the way up, shouldn’t it cap the value on the way down? Why is it a single direction cap?
    of course the only people who could possibly qualify are the very recent buyers since anyone owning for any significant length of time has seen the market value of their home well out pace the property tax value of the home.

  3. So what if someone who bought in 2000 requests a review and the Assessor determines the value has gone up? Can taxes go up higher than Prop 13 allows because the owner made the request?

  4. Tax assessments can’t go up more than 2% a year compounded from the year of purchase. If values go down, then up, taxes can return to what they would have been without the period of reduced taxes, based on 2% annual increases from the purchase price.

  5. Is socketsite just a rehash of day old news items from SFGate and Business Times? Is there plagiarism involved here, or are you a part of the associated press?

  6. sf,
    Are you serious? Or are you reallu this clueless?
    [Editor’s Note: No, that wasn’t us. And now back to the tax assessments…]

  7. So….say your house falls in value this year by 10%…you ask to have your valuation for property tax purposes reduced by that amount. BUT, if the value recovers next year Prop. 13 limits the increase in value for tax purposes to 1%? Is that really how this works?
    No. If you get the reduction it’s only for one year. Then it goes back to the original rate. You need to ask for it again every year.
    Here’s a good article from 2003 that describes the process pretty well. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/10/05/REGG323IAU1.DTL

  8. All these requests have to be from District 10 or some condos in SOMA. Apart from that, property values haven’t gone down anywhere else. right?

  9. Maybe if enough folks who bought property in SF between, oh I don’t know, 2005 and 2007 ask for appeals, the Assessor could clear the deck a bit by simply leaving the assessed values on those homes alone (not increasing them by the max. allowed)

  10. most areas outside SF are lowering assessments automatically, but of course not in SF.
    I think it’s absurd that the assessor’s office won’t be able to respond to all of the informal requests and some people will be forced to go to formal appeals for what should be a very simple determination for many. If you’re in a condo with any 2007-2008 sales activity in your building, you have a pretty good idea at what the value is and so does the assessor.
    I won’t be pleased if I have to do a formal appeal just because Ting’s office can’t handle the request I made two weeks ago already.

  11. This is actually pretty timely, as I started working on my formal appeal yesterday. Most of you who’ve seen my posts know that I don’t think prices have dropped much in most parts of the city, but I think it’s fair to assume that they’ve dropped some….especially as it relates to taxes 😉
    Anyway, I filed an informal appeal on my property (purchased close to two years ago), and I got a response literally 36 hours later saying that it had been denied. After debating whether it was worth the effort to file a formal appeal, I decided to go for it. I’m only asking for a 10% reduction in my taxes, but I still would save over a thousand dollars. I’m in the process of putting together a formal appeal, and I’m wondering what the protocol is for that kind of thing. Not surprisingly, the assessor’s office has been pretty useless in telling me what I would need to prepare. Should I try to get an appraisal done or just arm myself with data from Zillow and make a case that way? I’m curious what others have done who’ve had success getting their property tax assessment lowered.

  12. Ting and his office are useless. (Goodluck trying to call his office if you have any questions!) Wouldn’t the best way to handle this is not raise the taxes for people who bought in 2005-08 as Jamie said? Keep them at the assessed value when they bought the property and don’t bother raising them the max 2%. Yes some property values did go up during those time but the 90% of the others went down. Easiest is to make it across the board and lower ALL of them. This saves time and has little effect on the city’s General Fund.
    The problem with Ting is he’s all politics. Same old politician the shows no results but cries to the media for attention. Remember the Board of Supervisors nominates all the people that run the Appeals Board. Do you think Peskin, Gavin, Daly Sandoval etc put in people who will give up the City’s money easily?
    As for what to expect, the best way to handle an appeals is to run comps. Get useful comps on your property and go by each of those and take pics. Put all of it on a report explaining positive/negatives compared to your units plus the psf. Another option is to talk to the appraiser in your neighborhood and try to reach an agreement before going to the Board.

  13. i thought all the prices in SF were still going up?
    Shouldn’t everyone be asking for their taxes to be increased?
    would be interesting to know if appraisers are appraising low for those trying to get values reassessed for tax purposes versus appraising high for those appraising homes for sale

  14. Spencer, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll ask the assessor’s office to raise my taxes, but you have to ask your landlord to reassess the price on your $1600 2-BR prime Pac Heights apartment. You’ve said repeatedly that it’s “market rate”, so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

  15. Spencer, you’re revealing a bit too much schadenfreude, and you have been for a while now. Have some class. People experiencing the worst losses probably aren’t hanging out on SocketSite, God knows, but really – you needn’t be so sarcastic at the expense of other people’s misery.

  16. Well I filed my informal request a week and a half ago and haven’t heard back. If it is denied (or just never processed) I will not bother fighting it because the increase is only going to be just over a hundred bucks. Of course I will make sure to donate to anyone running against Ting in the future (for any political office) and will always donate at least the amount that my property taxes go up this year (then I’ll send a letter to Ting’s campaign letting them know I donated to his opponent and why).

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