I think my property taxes are too high. What can I do? by Aaron Zapata – Prudential

I think my Orange County property taxes are too high. What can I do?

If you think that the taxable value of your home is too high and that you are paying too much on your property taxes, there is a way to appeal your case to the Orange County Assessor Department.

The first step to take, if you believe that you have information that indicates your taxable value is too high, is to call the Assessor at (714) 834-2727 and talk with an appraiser. This is an informal assessment review available January 1 through April 30. If you are not satisfied with their response, you can take the next step.

The next step to take, after talking with an appraiser, is to file an Assessment Appeal with the Clerk of the Board at the Assessor’s Department. The filing period for a formal appeal is July 2 through September 15, 2010.

 An appeal can be filed in person, by mail, or online at the Clerk of the Board’s website: http://assessmentappeals.ocgov.com/cob.  Online filings must be printed, signed and mailed after completion. Assessment Appeal forms can also be obtained at most Local County Libraries.

The Clerk of the Board suggests that you contact your local Realtor to provide you with at least three comparable sales as close to your property as possible that closed on or near January 1 of the year you are appealing.

Once the Assessor has received your appeal and has verified that there are no discrepancies, they have up to two years to hear your appeal.  However, most cases are heard within 5-6 months. 

An appeal hearing will be scheduled. You must then go before an Assessment Appeals Board or Hearing Officer where a decision will be made. If you do not attend the hearing, your case will be dismissed.

There are no charges for the appeal process, and you do not need to hire an attorney to represent you at the hearing. 

Finally, you must pay your property taxes during appeals process.  If your property taxes are reduced, you will be refunded the amount of overpayment plus interest.

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