With the high cost of housing in Silicon Valley, many homeowners wonder whether they should try to fight, contest or appeal their property tax bill.
Here's some helpful basic info that I recall on property tax calculations in Santa Clara County:
1) The tax basis price is usually the most recent sale price (unless there was a remodel involving permits).
2) The annual increase (unless there's a dramatic economic factor) generally is ~1.75% (1% Ad Valorem on Assessed Value along with voter-mandated special assessments and fees). It should not be more than 2% in a year.
3) For appeals, there needs to be at least three comparable sales of similar houses, preferably within 1 mile of the subject property.
4) These comps must be public "on the open market" (not off-MLS or private) sales.
5) There should be a preponderance of evidence. Meaning if one finds three low sales but there are as many or more higher higher-priced sales, they cancel each other out.
For example if one bought at house for $1,500,000 3 years ago
1st year @ 1.75% ~$1,526,250
2nd year @ 1.75% ~$1,552,959
3rd year @1.75% ~$1,580,136
Some clients have found that the Santa Clara County Tax Assessor actually assessed their properties at a slightly lower percentage on the most recent tax bill, likely allowing for the economic impact of the pandemic.
The Santa Clara County Tax Appeals process has specific deadlines and fees.
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