What does AOPTA The Property Tax Experts Do?
AOPTA reduces property taxes for homeowners, investors, and small businesses. As part of the process of assessing and filing your property tax appeal, we will:
Look for possible reductions, assessor errors, and any transfers that increase your property taxes.
Find out if your property has been over assessed by conducting a comparative market analysis, income approach or by reviewing transfer documents.
File an appeal with the appropriate assessment board in your county. In some cases, we can work with the assessors to reduce your property taxes before the new tax year is billed.
Present the property owner’s case for a tax reduction in court hearings.
Negotiate an assessment reduction with the county assessor and the assessment board.
We make sure our customers don’t overpay on their property taxes again with our property tax monitoring service. We analyze millions of properties every year to identify property owners who are overpaying.
How does a property tax appeal work?
It is the right of every property owner to contest the county tax assessment of their property. By appealing your property’s assessed value, you can reduce your property tax bill as a result.
Does an appeal affect the value or appraisal of my property?
Assessed values only reflect taxable values for property tax purposes and do not affect appraisals, lending, insurance, or other purposes such as going to sell your home.
How much do you charge? What is the process for pricing?
No upfront costs or hidden fees are charged, only a 35% commission on the total tax savings in the year we appeal for Proposition 8 appeals. For base year appeals (certain criteria applies), it is typical for assessors to fight harder to defend the roll therefore we charge 50-100% of the refund. However, when we are successful on your base year appeal, you retain your tax savings for life. For AOPTA to qualify for this fee, tax refunds or reductions must be achieved.
What is your level of success?
Only working in California, we understand the appeal process and the nuances of each of the 58 counties. Our goal is to file appeals for every property that has a potential to be reduced, so we strive for a 100% success rate. As part of the pre-review process, we estimate the savings potential and assess the merits of the appeal. Several property tax appeals have been mass filed by other agencies in California without considering possible reductions. Overburdening county appeal services has resulted in a clogged appeal process in many counties. These firms have a 50% withdrawal rate, which is less than a 50% successful rate inclusive of appeals that have been brought forward and failed.
Is my appeal going to be filed as soon as possible?
In each appeal, our expert team assembles all relevant and available information about your property and the local real estate market. You can count on us to submit your appeal before the deadline for submitting it. The assessor’s office may offer opportunities for us to present an appeal for reduction of your tax bill before you receive it.
How long does the whole process take?
The appeals are submitted before the county deadlines. Our team can give you an estimate based on the time of year and the reason for filing. As a result of the large number of appeals filed annually, we typically estimate that it will take 8-12 months for a formal appeal to be resolved. This may, however, result in you entering a new tax year. When your appeal is scheduled and during that time, we typically discuss the current year with the county appraiser to get two years’ worth of savings.
The appeal for my property tax needs special attention. How should I proceed?
When it comes to reducing your property taxes, we pride ourselves on thinking outside the box. If the appeal needs special attention, please let us know! If you have specific details that can help, make it more compelling, please contact a representative by scheduling a call HERE or discuss on the induction call. The more information we have, the better your chances of successfully reducing your property tax bill will be.
Is it possible for me to appeal on my own?
Yes, of course! Please do so if you can. We understand that the process can be difficult and time-consuming, so we’ve simplified it. Our experienced professionals will use the best tools and technologies to get you the savings you deserve.
We’ll be honest on the record by experience. Self-appeals by property owners can be challenging. The purpose of this process thought to benefit taxpayers end up unfavorable. The process is unfriendly, confusing, and time-consuming. Property owners have represented themselves at hearings and lost because of inexperience. The assessor’s office cannot provide legal advice or skills on how to prepare an appeal.
What are the steps involved in calculating savings estimates?
Utilizing a technology platform and real-time, real-person valuation experience as well as our team’s experience with county assessors, AOPTA creates a robust valuation strategy that reduces property taxes. To estimate your savings, we may use comparative market analysis, income analysis, or cost analysis. Savings may vary based on individual circumstances and additional information, such as property damage and deferred maintenance.
What is the calculation of property taxes?
Using Prop 8, a 1978 law protecting property owners from excessive yearly increases, your county assessor calculates an “assessed value” each year. The assessors are only allowed to increase your property taxes by 2% per year from your base year value under the law. As an example, you bought your home in 2020 for $500,000. Every year after that, your base year value increases by 2%, making the factored base year value $510,000 for year two, $520,200 for year three, and so forth. Your property tax bill is determined by multiplying this value by the tax rate which is around 1% give or take with special assessments in your area.
What is a "property tax assessment" and how is it determined?
For tax purposes, a property’s “assessed value” represents its taxable value. The taxable value is based on the factored base year value every year, which is the purchase price plus 2% added each year after that. In accordance with law, your assessed value cannot exceed the market value determined by the assessed value. An analysis of the value difference of the assessed value versus the market value is carried out using one or more of the following valuation approaches: comparable sales (Market Value), replacement costs (Cost), or rental values (Income).
Why may my property over assessed?
As you might imagine, assessing each property every year is an enormous undertaking. Most assessors use a mass-appraisal system that automatically calculates property values using the allowd yearly increase. While this approach generally achieves fair valuations in a real estate market that as UP or normal appreciations, it also commonly leads to over-assessments in DOWN markets. Our property tax experts perform a comparative market analysis for each individual property to determine whether a property is over assessed.
What causes my property to be over assessed?
A mass appraisal system that automatically calculates property values in California adds the 2% increase to the prior year’s value. While this approach generally results in fair valuations, it can also lead to over-assessments. Depending on market fluctuations, the market value may be lower than your assessed value over time. Moreover, the residential real estate market has been increasing in value since 2020. Therefore, the base year value is determined by the purchase prices of homes purchased at the top of the market. If property values begin to decline, we can help these taxpayers save on their property taxes. To determine whether a property is over assessed, our property tax experts perform a comparative market analysis. For commercial properties that are based on income generated, we consider market lease rates, market cap rates, and expenses, which also fluctuate with market conditions.
If I contest my assessment, will my taxes go up?
It is possible for the Tax Assessor’s Office to raise your property tax bill if they believe there has been a significant error in your assessment. However, this type of case is very rare. Tax bills have never increased as a result of appeals filed by our team. Before filing, we review your property for anomalies that may raise a red flag. Most cases like this occur when the assessor’s office fails to notice a transfer.
Is it necessary to appeal every year?
Yes, indeed! Property assessments are typically increased annually. Although your assessed value can only increase by 2%, the market price for homes fluctuates. Each year, we will review your property taxes and recommend appealing if there is an opportunity to reduce them.
What can I do now that my appeal deadline has passed?
In California, all counties allow late appeals under extenuating circumstances. As an example, if you:
Did not receive a notice of valuation or bill.
Absent from the address where the notice was sent
Experiencing a serious illness or death in your immediate family
Experiencing a natural disaster
You may be able to file an appeal after the statutory deadline has passed. Our team prepares and coordinates late submissions for clients every year.
Do I have to pay my taxes once I appeal?
Yes, we promote full and timely payment of property taxes for all our clients. Your appeal may be dismissed without review if your account becomes delinquent and any late payment is subject to irreversable late penalties. Overpaid taxes will be refunded upon successful appeal.
My tax bill contains an error regarding my property details. Is it possible to get a refund for previous years?
Whenever you notice an error on your tax bill, you should contact the tax collector as soon as possible. We should also be involved. You may receive a supplemental or escape bill assessment from the assessor. A supplemental is typically sent upon the purchase of real property and serves as a “catch-up bill” for the current tax year. A delayed re-appraisal of the property, an erroneously applied homeowner’s exemption valuation reduction, etc., results in an escape bill assessment. You have 60 days to receive these documents, whether they are notices or bills. If there are errors or supplemental or escape bills, we can help you get the maximum refund possible.
What is the difference between a Regular, Supplemental or Escape Bill/Notice?
The Regular bill is the normal tax bill for each year. The lien date (value date) is January 1st of each year. Most assessors close the tax rolls at the end of June and publish your new assessed value as of the lien date on July 1st.
Supplemental Bills or Notices are issued due to change of ownership such as a sale or transfer of ownership by deed and by the completion of new significant construction.
Escape bills are issued when the assessor noted a change in ownership in the past and corrects the roll value or when an audit is performed due to business personal property.
What is the deadline for filing an appeal for each of these bills types?
The deadline to file on the Regular roll value is either from July 1st September 15th or November 30th depending on the county. Refer to the filing calendar HERE or from the county the property is located.
Deadlines to file an appeal on Supplemental or Escape bills/notices is 60 days from the date of notice or bill depending on the County.
What happens if you miss the 60-Day window to file on the Supplemental or Escape bills/notices?
In the event that you miss the 60-day window, you can still file an appeal during the normal filing period of July 1 to either September 15 or November 30, depending on your county. Audits of business personal property are not included.
What happens if you miss the Regular Bill filing period of July 1st to September 15th of November 30th (depending on county)?
California tax appeal law does not allow for late filings on any appeals. In fact, we send all our applications by certified mail with packing slips so that we ensure our client’s appeals have been received. We leave nothing to be at risk of the postal service or county’s mail service. If you miss the deadline, you won’t be able to collect a refund on the year you wanted to file in.