Is your commercial property a candidate for a property tax appeal?
If your property is located in San Bernardino County, your property tax bill indicates the total current valuation of your property as determined by the Tax Assessor. You can also access your property tax bill on-line at: www.mytaxcollector.com/trSearch.aspx
Dividing the Net Valuation by the square footage of the property determines the valuation per foot. If it is high compared to the current market values in the area, you may have grounds for a re-evaluation by the Assessor.
For example, if your property has a valuation of $200 per foot and the property across the street which is similar to yours recently sold for $100 per foot, you may have a good case for an appeal.
However, keep in mind other factors that may affect values. That other property may be vacant and could have deferred maintenance that would require another $100 per foot in repairs/modifications before it would be comparable to yours. The Assessor will take that into consideration ($100 + $100 = $200 per foot) which may be the same as your valuation.
Recently, some Clients of mine told me they just called the Assessor at the main office at (877) 855-7654 and asked to have an "informal" review of their property value and the Assessor offered them an acceptable reduced valuation and the property owner did not need to file an official appeal or provide any comps. This might be a good first step for you.
Allied Commercial Real Estate could provide you with some comparable property information for neighboring properties to help you and you could file for an appeal directly with the Assessor.
There are companies that offer to complete the appeal for you on a contingency basis - typically they would receive a percentage of the amount of the reduction for a few years. The state/counties sometimes point out that the companies that offer to do the appeal for you are a rip-off. Some are. On the other hand, some are very good and they are motivated to get you the lowest possible reduction because they share in your savings. I've seen some of my institutional Clients (Met Life and New York Life) receive some significant refunds using tax appeal companies. Check references and get a few proposals from different property tax consultants to compare.
For more information regarding the Property Tax Appeal Process, Check out the following link for some basic appeal information from the San Bernardino County Assessor:
Prop 8 - Review Due to Decline in Value Facts
Still have questions? Try this link for frequently asked questions:
Want to contact the Assessor or stop by their offices? Here's the link for their locations:
Reminder: the Assessor determines the valuation and the Tax Collector/Treasurer collects the tax when due - completely separate departments. To avoid penalties and interest on unpaid taxes, the property tax must be paid when due regardless if you file an appeal - if you are successful with your appeal, you would get a refund.
Another note - if you are successful with an appeal, it is a temporary reduction - it does not reset you tax basis going forward.
Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
This information has been provided courtesy of Steven D. Roppel a Senior Vice President at Allied Commercial Real Estate. To email him click here %3Ea%2F%3C6000ps4000ps2000psg1000psleppoRS%3E%226000ps4000ps2000psg1000psleppoRS3000psot2000ps%22%3Dferh%20a%3C
DISCLAIMER: This Article is designed to be of general interest. The specific techniques and information discussed may not apply to you. Before acting on any matter contained herein, you should consult with your personal legal adviser.