Each year the Assessor determines the full cash value of your property as of the January 1 lien date. This determination is not very difficult as we have Proposition 13 in the State of California. Essentially what the Assessor does is adjust your Proposition 13 trended value by the California State mandated inflation factor which cannot to exceed 2% to arrive at the full cash value of your property.
What a decline in value appeal does, also known as a Proposition 8 appeal, is to allow a taxpayer to protest the Assessor’s assessment of the property by asserting that the full cash value exceeds the market value of the property as of the January 1 lien date.
General observations of market declines or articles from newspapers will not suffice. The Assessor and Board both require a fact based analysis be presented specific to your particular property. Evidence of comparable sales, costs and of income data, all of which must be subject to verification, are required in order to successfully prosecute a decline in value appeal.
The appeal is heard either by a three member Board or a Hearing Officer. The burden of proof is typically assigned to the taxpayer and the Assessor is presumed to be correct (exceptions are owner occupied single family residences and escape assessments). The fact that the Assessor is presumed to be correct cannot be taken lightly. A well prepared valuation analysis and coherent presentation are the keys to success.
Assessors can, but often do not, roll forward decline in value appeal determinations to the succeeding years. This appeal is technically only good for one year as the valuation date changes year to year as do the comparable sales. If you think you have a good decline in value appeal for the current year, you should probably seriously consider filing a succeeding year appeal in the event that your case in not heard AND that the Assessor did not administratively correct your value. Assessors are very reluctant to roll a value forward when they perceive real estate values are increasing.