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Understanding the Assessment Timeline

Property Taxes and the Calendar - Understanding the Assessment Timeline

The Ventura County Assessor’s staff has been responding to hundreds of daily inquiries from concerned property owners.  Many of these property owners have questions about when their property tax bills will reflect the dynamics of today’s real estate market.  A brief explanation of the California property tax calendar and timeline will show what date is used to determine your property’s taxable value.

We pay some types of taxes after the period, or date, when they were established.  For example, income taxes paid by April 15 are based on income for the previous calendar year, ending December 31.  We typically pay them a few months after the period upon which they are based, even if we are not receiving any income when the payment is due.

Property taxes are similar, but with a substantially extended time period, from the effective date of value to when payments are actually due (from 9 to 15 months).  For example, the first installment of the property tax bills mailed out in October is delinquent if not paid by December 10 and the second installment is delinquent if not paid by April 10.  The basis for these tax bills is actually the assessed value on January 1 of the year in which the bills are mailed.  As you can see, property tax bills will not reflect the market conditions, as they exist on the date you receive the bill or when you make a payment.

California law requires the Assessor determine the assessed value of property as of the January 1 lien date preceding the fiscal year for which the taxes are levied.  Generally, the assessed value will be the Proposition 13 factored base year value or, if lower, the actual market value on January 1.

This past year, the Assessor reviewed over 130,000 properties and found over 80,000 where the actual market value on January 1, 2013, was lower than their Proposition 13 value.  As a result, these property owners saw a reduction in their property taxes.  This year we will consider the market conditions as of January 1, 2014, in our property assessment reviews, and will make adjustments as warranted.

If property owners disagree with the new assessed value, they may file a formal assessment appeals application with the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board between July 2, and September 15, 2013.

Also, please remember, the filing of a formal assessment appeals application or the Informal Request for Decline in Value Reassessment , is free.  Many people are receiving deceptive solicitations by mail requiring a fee for a reassessment.  Do not be mislead by these official looking offers for tax relief!  The Assessor’s Office is here to serve you.

The Assessor’s website has many informative sections.  My staff has done an excellent job of developing a very helpful website including a video explaining the assessment appeal process, and other programs.