The Los Angeles County Assessor’s office is alerting homeowners that various private companies are sending mailings to property owners offering their services to pursue a reduction in the owner’s property taxes. The companies may charge hundreds of dollars to file for a reduction in value on behalf of the property owner. Some companies also are imposing late fees if the application is received after an arbitrary deadline. Solicitations from private companies offering to pursue a reduction in property taxes must clearly indicate that they are NOT a government agency and that their services are NOT approved or endorsed by any government agency. Failure to provide such notice is a violation of California law.
In 1978, California voters passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that allows a temporary reduction in assessed value when a property suffers a “decline-in-value.” A decline-in-value occurs when the current market value of your property is less than the assessed value as of January 1. The assessed value is the value shown on a property owner’s most recent property tax bill. Typically, an application from the property owner is required to initiate a review of the property’s value by the Assessor.