In 1978 Californians passed Proposition 13, amending the State Constitution so that the yearly taxable value of most real property in California must be the lower of either:
- The property's base year value adjusted for current inflation, or
- The property's fair market value on January 1st (the "lien date") for the applicable tax year.
Base Year Value
The base year value is established when a property is sold, changes ownership, or undergoes new construction. If none of these has occurred since 1975, the base year value is the market value of the property as of March 1, 1975. Real property market values typically increase over the years, but sometimes the fair market value of a property falls below its current adjusted base year value. Proposition 8, also passed in 1978, allows for temporary declines in value which Proposition 13 did not address.
The law established by Proposition 8 allows the County Assessor to reduce your property taxes by enrolling a value on the Tax Roll that reflects a temporary reduction in taxable value for your property (see California's Revenue and Taxation Code, Section 51). Once reduced in this way, your property's value must be reviewed on January 1 each following year to determine whether its current market value is still less than its current adjusted base year value. When its market value increases above its adjusted base year value, the Assessor will once again enroll its adjusted base year value. Prop 8, values can change from year to year as the market fluctuates up and down, but under no circumstances does the Assessor assess your property at a value greater than it's adjusted base year value.
Temporary Reductions in Value
Temporary reductions to your property's taxable value on the Assessment Roll can be initiated by either you, or the Assessor. You can provide us with evidence that you feel justifies a reduction in your property value, or simply request us to review it. We also initiate reviews on our own. Our office constantly monitors market conditions and frequently lowers assessed values without requests from owners.