You may have read earlier on this blog about my adventures in getting my lot subdivided in San Bernardino County, California. Unbelievably, that process is still not done… more than three years after we started it.
In the meantime, property values have dropped enormously where I live, and so last year, we finally got the county to reduce the assessment on which we pay property taxes. Since then, values appear to have dropped even more, but the county raised our assessed value, being greedy and rapacious as most governments are. So we appealed, using the correct form, supplying supporting evidence of the further drop in property values in our area. Here is the county’s reply:
Dear Property Owner:
Your application for changed assessment (assessment appeal) has been received. However, we have not reviewed the application for completeness or timeliness. After we review your application, you will receive another letter which will either:
* State the your application is complete and your appeal is eligible to be scheduled for hearing; or
* Inform you that your application is incomplete and further information is needed; or
* Notify you that your application has been denied.
Please note that due to the large volume of appeals, it can take 12-18 months before an appeal is scheduled for hearing. Filing an appeal does not relieve the taxpayer from the obligation to pay the taxes when due. If a reduction in your assessment is granted, you may receive a refund.
Isn’t that special? It seems that, once again, we are making the county an interest free loan for a year or more.
California is in big trouble. It has pushed businesses out of the state with high taxes and ridiculous regulations, and it seems determined to do everything it can do to stifle the growth of business or economic activity in the state. In the meantime, it tries to pay its bills by further squeezing the remaining people… a game of diminishing returns if ever there was one.
I especially like that last part: “If a reduction in your assessment is granted, you may receive a refund.”
Well gee, now I feel better. I may receive a refund in a year or two, for the lousy decisions made by the assessor’s office this year.
Of course, unlike private citizens, government never has to pay a penalty when it makes a mistake.