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Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes assessments and property values can be a complicated process. In the course of your dealings with the Assessors Office, you are bound to have some questions. Choose from the topics below to access questions dealing with that topic. If you wish to see all the questions, choose all questions.

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Thomas Fire
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Can I rebuild with steel framing instead of wood framing? What will happen to my values if I rebuild something bigger? If-when I rebuild my house, how will you value it? Will my property taxes increase?

Section 70 of the Revenue and Taxation code requires that the reconstructed property must be substantially equivalent to the damaged or destroyed property. The reconstruction must be done timely (no exact timeframe given by the BOE). Any reconstruction of real property that exceeds the substantial equivalent of the damaged or destroyed property will be deemed to be new construction, and a new base year value will be established for the newly constructed portion.

The previous factored base year value will be restored if the structure is rebuilt in a like or similar manner. Any new square footage or extras, such as additional baths, will be added to the restored base year value at its full market value. If the re-build’ quality is vastly superior to the previous SFR, the additional value for the difference in quality classes will be added to the restored base year value.

If you rebuild smaller than what was destroyed or damaged in the fire then a percentage of the improvement value will be restored.

Can I track the status of my claim from reassessment?

You will be notified via the mail of the approval or denial of your claim. You will receive a questionnaire next year asking for repair status is.

Do I need to pay my outstanding bill? Do I need to pay the second installment of my regular bill?

 Yes, you will receive tax relief via the Assessment Roll Correction that will prorate the tax relief from 12/5/17-6/30/18. The Auditor will prorate the secured tax bill and the tax collector will send out notifications. The current property taxes will be reduced for that portion of the property damaged or destroyed. This reduction will be from the date of the damage and will remain in effect until the property is rebuilt of repaired.

Do they need to pay the supplemental bill if they purchased the properties in 2017 and then they were affected by the fire?

Yes, you should pay the supplemental bill and/ or the secured tax bill. The calamity claim relief for 12/5/17-6/30/18 will be processed and you will be receiving notifications via the mail. You will receive either a credit or a refund.

How soon will the calamity claims be worked and when will they see their values adjusted?

We will process them during the month of February and submit the ARCs to the Auditor so that the Auditor has time to adjust the 2nd installment that is due April 10th. You will receive confirmation in the mail that the calamity claim has been received and processed.

I do not know if I suffered enough damage to qualify for a calamity claim or what the requirements to file are?

The application must be made by the person who on January 1 was the owner of or had possession or under his control the taxable property which suffered damage of by a person who acquired the property after January 1 and is liable for the taxes for the next fiscal year commencing July 1.

The total value of the damage to all taxable property must exceed $10,000.

The calamity claim must be filed with the assessor within 12 months after the damage or destruction.

I don't agree with the value adjustment and believe it should be lower.

If you believe this assessment is incorrect, you have the right to an informal review. For information regarding an informal review, you may contact the Assessor’s Office at (805) 654-2181.

You also have the right to a formal appeal of the assessment. You may appeal the proposed reassessment to the Assessment Appeals Board within six (6) months of the date of mailing this notice . An Assessment Appeal Application is available from, and is filed with, the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board. You may contact the Clerk’s Office at (805) 654-2251 for more information on filing an application.

If I end up paying the second installment of my bill, when can I expect a refund?

You must contact the Auditor’s office.

If my house is uninhabitable, but some improvements remain undestroyed (e.g. swimming pool, spa, detached garage, gazebo, built-in BBQ, patio cover, etc.), will you be assessing the remaining improvements, and if so, using what methodology?

The value of the improvements that were not destroyed will remain. We cost those improvements using LAC costs less depreciation and this value will stay on the 601 IV roll.

What is my annual responsibility to keep the Assessor informed of changes to the property?

Without a current mailing address, we will be unable to send you notifications regarding your calamity claim and/or any refunds will not reach you.

Will front and backyard landscaping be covered under the calamity claim? I did not have structural damage, but my landscaping was destroyed. Will I have any relief to my value?

No, landscaping cannot qualify for calamity reassessment.

For properties that were 100% destroyed in the fire, the land value will be reduced by 25% and the improvement value will be reduced 100%. For those properties that sustained partial damage or smoke damage, the land value will remain unchanged and the improvement value will be reduced by a percentage of the loss. (See attached procedure for partially destroyed properties).

Will the same 65% allocation be used to value the remaining land, or are you going to employ a different land appraisal methodology while the land remains unimproved?

Your 65% allocation will remain and will not change. If you disagree with your allocation, please contact the COB and inquire about filing an appeal for the allocation.

Will we automatically reduce the value for those unaffected by the fire (no physical damage) but in a neighborhood destroyed by the fire?

 You should submit the AO-V 271t, Thomas Fire Informal Request for Decline in Value Reassessment form to our office. This form is specifically for homeowners to file when they feel their property values have been affected based on the adverse market conditions relating to the Thomas Fire.  This form should not be used by homeowners who sustained property damage because of the fire.  The Assessor will review the fair market value of the subject property as of January 1, 2018, compare that value with the properties current assessed value, and enroll the lower of the two values. You will be notified of your assessment in July 2018. If at that time you disagree with your assessment, please contact the Assessor’s Office to discuss an Informal Review of your properties assessment. If you still disagree with the assessed value, you may file an Application for Changed Assessment with the Clerk of the Board between July 2, 2018-September 15, 2018.