San Bernardino County
Office of the Assessor

 


Wednesday, October 01, 2014


FAQs
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FAQ


Appeals
Assessments
Change of Ownership
Damaged Property
Exemptions & Exclusions
Improvements
Mailing Address
Supplemental Assessments
Taxes
Transfer of Title


Appeals

  • If I do not agree with my assessment, can I appeal?

    Yes. First, you may consider contacting the Assessor’s Office for an informal review to discuss the basis for the new values and to provide any information relating to the value of the property. Differences over the valuation of property that cannot be resolved by discussion with the Assessor's Office are handled by the Assessment Appeals Board. For more information, see Appeals or contact the County of San Bernardino Clerk of the Board at (909) 387-4413.


Assessments
  • I received a “Notice of Escape Assessment”. What is an escape assessment, and does it mean I owe more taxes?

    Occasionally the Assessor must make a correction to an assessed value after an assessment roll (a list of all property in the county together with their assessed values) has been completed and turned over to the Auditor-Controller and then to the Tax Collector for billing. These corrections or changes to an assessed value are known as “escaped assessments”. These corrections could be the result of an error by the Assessor’s office or by the property owner. An example would be the Assessor’s office not assessing new construction in a timely manner or the property owner building an addition without obtaining a building permit, therefore, the Assessor’s office was not aware of the new construction.

    Since an escape assessments always deal with value that should have been assessed but wasn’t, additional taxes will be due. However, the current owner will not be responsible for taxes on any escape assessment that covers a time period before they acquired the property.
     
  • The assessed value of my property increased more than 2 percent this year. There was no change of ownership or new construction. Doesn’t Proposition 13 limit annual increases in value to 2 percent?

    Under Proposition 13, base year values may not be increased more than 2 percent per year. A property under Proposition 8, however, is not restricted to the 2 percent increase. For example, in a situation where a property’s value increased 20% since the prior lien date, but the value is still below the Proposition 13 adjusted base year value, the new increased Proposition 8 value will be enrolled.
     
  • What is a “Proposition 8” value?

    Sometimes the market value of a property on January 1 has fallen below the Prop 13 adjusted base year value. In this situation the Assessor has the authority to reduce the assessed value to the current market value. This is sometimes referred to as a “Proposition 8” assessment, after the November 1978 proposition that amended Article XIII A to allow these reductions in value.
     
  • Does the sale price mean the market value, if so, why are you taxing me on $300,000 when I only paid $200,000?

    This is a very common misconception. The sale price is presumed to be market value only if it was an “arms-length”, open market transaction, and you notified the Assessor’s office of the sale price by timely filing a “Preliminary Change of Ownership Report” or a “Change of Ownership Statement”. If either of these conditions is not met, your base year value will be set at market value based on our appraisal. If both of these conditions are met, we would only set your base year value at something other than the sale price if a preponderance of evidence indicates the property would have sold for at least 5% more or 5% less than the actual sale price in an open market transaction.
     
  • How do you estimate market value?

    When there is an active market for the type of property being appraised, we compare it to similar properties that were recently purchased. The process can involve anything from a simple comparison of prices adjusted for any significant physical and locational differences to a complex analysis of the rate of return investors expect for properties with similar income-generating potential. If there are not enough recent sales from which to draw a conclusion, the appraisal would be based on an analysis of the current replacement cost, including typical overhead and profit, and any necessary adjustments for depreciation.
     
  • If a home was purchased in 1975, when will the next increase in property value take place?

    Under Prop 13, there will be no increase except the 2% per year. If there is a change of ownership or new construction, this may require a re-appraisal, which could increase the value.
     
  • If my property is damaged in a fire, is this taken into consideration when appraising the property?

    Yes. If the loss was over $10,000, and if the Assessor has been informed of the damage, this will be taken into consideration. Other calamity damage is also taken into consideration.
     
  • What is the property tax rate that will be applied to my assessed value?

    Proposition 13 limits the general property tax rate to 1 percent of the assessed value, plus an amount for the debt service on any bonds approved by popular vote. The tax rate will vary depending on where the property is located. You can obtain the exact tax rate for a particular parcel by contacting the San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller’s Office.
     
  • Why is my tax bill more than 1% of the market value of my home?

    Prop 13 allows the tax bill to include bonded indebtedness (sewers, streetlights, etc.) previously approved by the voters to be added to the 1% general tax levy. This amount will vary across the county.
     
  • Why do I have to pay more taxes than my neighbor whose house is newer and larger than mine?

    The most likely reason is that under California’s unique “Proposition 13” property tax system, the maximum assessment on real property is limited based on the value at the time it was acquired. This “base year value” cannot be increased by more than 2% each year, so it is normal for people who have owned their properties for many years to have lower assessments than neighbors who bought more recently. The only other time a property’s assessment would reflect its current market value is if market value were to fall below the Prop 13 value limitation at some point in the future.

 

Change of Ownership

       
    • Why did you reappraise my property when it didn’t change ownership?

      A number of transactions are legally excluded from the meaning of the term “change of ownership”, but we can’t apply those exclusions without first verifying that all requirements have been met and the proper application (if required) has been filed. For example, if you simply added your spouse on title, but you have different last names, we will need a copy of your marriage certificate. If you had to add or remove someone from title so you could refinance or get a new loan on the property, we will need verification from the lender or a signed affidavit from you. If you transfer title into your trust, partnership, corporation or LLC, we may need copies of the relevant documents showing no one else has an ownership interest. Call your local district office immediately if you believe your property should not have been reappraised.
       
    • In a divorce situation, does the change of ownership trigger a reappraisal?

      No. All transfers between husband and wife are excluded from reappraisal.
       
    • I would like to add my son as joint tenant. Will the property be reappraised?

      No. This is not a change of ownership requiring a reappraisal under the present law; however, you may need to apply for the proposition 58 exclusion.
       
    •  If I transfer title to my property to a legal entity will it be reassessed?

      In general, the transfer of any interest in real property to a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or other legal entity is a change of ownership of the interest transferred and will be reassessed. Exception: Transfers between individuals and legal entities or between legal entities which result solely in a change in the method of holding title and in which the proportional ownership interest remain the same after the transfer are not subject to reappraisal. If this applies, the property owner will be required to provide documentation such as articles of incorporation, articles of organization, or partnership agreements to show that no proportional interest change took place.
       
    • Where can forms to transfer title or a deed of reconveyance be located?

      Legal forms can usually be found at stationary stores or other businesses that carry legal forms. Some forms can also be found on the Recorder's website at http://www.sbcounty.gov/arc/.

       

    Damaged Property

    • If my property is damaged in a fire, is this taken into consideration when appraising the property?

      Yes. If the loss was over $10,000, and if the Assessor has been informed of the damage, this will be taken into consideration. Other calamity damage is also taken into consideration.

       

    Exemptions & Exclusions
    • If purchasing a new home, is the Disabled Veteran’s Exemption automatically transferred to the new property?

      No. Contact the exemptions section at the Assessor’s office at (909) 387-8307 or toll free at (877) 885-7654 and request the appropriate forms.
       
    • What is a homeowner’s exemption and when is it due?

      A homeowner’s exemption is a benefit to homeowners who occupy the property as their principal residence as of January 1st of any given year. The exemption reduces the taxable value by $7,000; therefore, saving approximately $70-100 on the tax bill. The homeowner’s exemption form is due by February 15th or the 30th day following the date of the notice of supplemental assessment.
       
    • I would like to add my son as joint tenant. Will the property be reappraised?

      No. This is not a change of ownership requiring a reappraisal under the present law; however, you may need to apply for the proposition 58 exclusion.

       

    Improvements

     

    • I recently bought my home and haven’t done any improvements. Why is my assessment notice showing improvements?
       
      Tax law requires the separation the value between the land and the improvements. The improvement value is for the structure that is built on the land.
       
    • I want to build an addition, but Building and Safety won’t give me a permit until I prove permits were issued for all the improvements that are already there. They assured me you have all of that information, so why don’t you?

      The Assessor has no legal obligation or business need to record every permit issued on every property in the county, so the fact that our records don’t include a permit number for a specific improvement does not mean a permit was never issued. We will be glad to provide any permit information we have, but we can’t guarantee it will include the one you are looking for.
       
    • Why do you show my house having 2,543 square feet when the builder told me it only has 2,516 square feet?

      Under guidelines issued by the State Board of Equalization, we round building measurements to the nearest foot. The square footage shown in our records is therefore rarely the same as the figure calculated by the architect. All building data we maintain is for assessment purposes only and a minor difference such as this would have no impact on value.

       

    Mailing Address

    • Why aren’t you using my correct mailing address?

      When a deed is recorded to transfer title to a property, there is a section on the deed to indicate the mailing address to be used for property tax purposes. This address is used until you sign a request for a change of address. So if the records are not correct, it is because 1) the address written on the deed was not correct, 2) a mistake was made inputting the information into the computer system, or 3) notification of a different address was not received. Regardless of the reason, contact us in writing immediately so we can update the records.

      If you own property in San Bernardino County, it is important to keep your current mailing address on file with the Assessor’s Office to assure delivery of important assessment notices.  Assessor mailing address information is also passed to the Treasurer-Tax Collector for the purpose of mailing property tax bills. 

      Mailing address changes may only be made by the owner of record or their pre-designated agent and must be in writing.  Change of Address cards are available in any Assessor’s Office location or requests may be made via correspondence to the Assessor’s Office.  Please include the following:
       

      • Assessor’s Parcel Number or physical address of the property
      • New mailing address
      • Signature of the property owner or agent
      • Printed name of the owner or agent
      • Date

      Please mail your request to: 

      Office of the Assessor
      Attention: Address Changes
      172 W. 3rd Street
      San Bernardino, CA  92415-0310

      Or  

      Fax to: (909) 387-6765

       

    Supplemental Assessments

    • What causes a supplemental assessment?

      Supplemental assessments are generated due to qualifying changes of ownership or new construction. Well known types of change of ownership are those changes involving a buyer and a seller. However, change of ownership situations also include removing or adding someone’s name from title even when monetary consideration is not exchanged. Typical new construction events may include building a new home, adding on to an existing home, or adding a swimming pool. However, new construction can be considered adding any real property improvements that did not previously exist.
       
    • I received a “Notice of Supplemental Assessment”. What is a supplemental assessment and does it mean I owe more taxes?

      Under Proposition 13, a new base year value is established for the portion of a property that undergoes a “change of ownership”, and a separate base year value is established for any “new construction” completed after a change of ownership. As of July 1, 1983, taxes are based on these new values starting on the first day of the following month. These taxes come in the form of a supplemental assessment, which is determined by taking the new value and subtracting the total value already assessed to previous owners for that time period. If the new value is higher than the total value already assessed, additional taxes will be due. However, if the new value is less than the total value already assessed, taxes will be refunded.
       
    • I recently added a bedroom to my home. Will you reappraise the whole property or just the value of the new bedroom?

      Only the new addition (bedroom) will be assessed, which will add to the current value. The same will apply for a pool, air conditioning, or other major improvements.
       
    • Why did you reappraise my property when it didn’t change ownership?

      A number of transactions are legally excluded from the meaning of the term “change of ownership”, but we can’t apply those exclusions without first verifying that all requirements have been met and the proper application (if required) has been filed. For example, if you simply added your spouse on title, but you have different last names, we will need a copy of your marriage certificate. If you had to add or remove someone from title so you could refinance or get a new loan on the property, we will need verification from the lender or a signed affidavit from you. If you transfer title into your trust, partnership, corporation or LLC, we may need copies of the relevant documents showing no one else has an ownership interest. Call your local district office immediately if you believe your property should not have been reappraised.
       
    • My new home was assessed for more than my construction cost. Why?

      The law requires the Assessor to appraise new construction at fair market value. Fair market value is the price that the property would bring if it were exposed for sale on the open market. We determine fair market value for single family residences by analyzing sales of homes similar to the one being appraised.
       
    • Will painting or making roof repairs cause a reappraisal?

      No. These items are considered normal maintenance. Items requiring a building permit will be appraised.
       
    • What is a supplemental tax bill?

      State law requires the Assessor to reappraise property upon a change of ownership or new construction. The supplemental assessment reflects the difference between the new assessed value and the old or prior assessed value. If the property is reassessed at a higher value than the old assessed value, a supplemental bill will be issued. If the property is reassessed at a lower value than the old assessed value, a refund will be issued. Changes in ownership or new construction occurring from July 1 to Dec 31 will generate one bill covering a single fiscal year. The taxes are based on the number of months left in the fiscal year from the date of ownership change or the new construction completion date. If the change of ownership or new construction occurs between January 1 and June 30, two supplemental tax bills would be issued to cover changes for two fiscal years. The first bill would be from the date of the transaction for the remainder of the fiscal year; the second bill would be for the next fiscal year. Supplemental tax bills are mailed directly to the property owner and are the owner’s responsibility. In general, they are not paid out of your impound account. Please check with your lender.
       
    • I just purchased my property and I am supposed to receive a supplemental tax bill. Can you tell me how much that will be?

      The Assessor’s Office determines the assessed value of property. In order to determine your estimated supplemental bill, contact the Tax Collectors office at (909) 387-8308 or their website at http://www.mytaxcollector.com.

       

    Taxes

    • How much are my taxes and when will I get my bill?

      The Assessor does not compute the actual amount of taxes due or send you a tax bill. If you need to know the amount due on a bill that has already been issued, contact the Tax Collector at (909) 387-8308. Future tax bills will be based on 1% of the assessed value, plus the current payment on any bonded indebtedness that existed at the time Proposition 13 passed, plus any “special assessments”. Special assessments are levied by various government agencies and are generally a flat fee as opposed to being based on value. Examples would include fees for local paramedic service and payments on Mello-Roos bonds that were issued to finance the construction of infrastructure for a new development. Generally speaking, the total amount including all three components will be in the range of 1% to 1.5% of assessed value, although they could be higher.

      Annual tax bills are mailed in late September or early October each year. Supplemental tax bills are mailed in the first January, May, or October that is at least 45 days after the notice of supplemental assessment was mailed. Tax bills related to corrected assessments are generally mailed within 60 days of the notice of the corrected assessment.
       
    • When is the next tax sale?

      To verify this information, contact the San Bernardino County Tax Collector at (909) 387-8308 or
      online at http://www.mytaxcollector.com.
       
    • My credit report shows a tax lien. Where can I obtain information regarding this?

      If it is a property tax lien, contact the San Bernardino County Tax Collector at (909) 387-8308. Other type of liens can be researched at the San Bernardino County Recorder's office (909) 387-8306.
       
    • I sold this property years ago. Why are you still sending me tax bills?

      The Assessor’s Office does not send out tax bills. The bill will come from the Tax Collector for one of two reasons. Either we failed to update our records after a deed transferring real property was recorded, or the property was transferred by means other than a recorded deed and no one notified us. Personal property (including boats, aircraft, manufactured homes, and business property) is not transferred by a deed, so it is imperative that you notify us as soon as possible after selling it. The same is true for real property transactions in which a deed is not recorded until the buyer has paid the seller in full and/or satisfied any other conditions of the sale.

     

    Transfer of Title

    • How do I transfer title?

       

      Legal Advice Limitation 

       

      The Assessor’s Office is prohibited from giving legal advice.  It may be advisable to consult an attorney because of the legal aspects involved in holding title to property or transferring title. 

       

      How To Transfer Title

       

      Name changed to the tax records on real property cannot be made by request, only by documents recorded in the Office of the San Bernardino County Recorder.

       

      To change the name(s) on real property, the present owner(s) may execute a new deed conveying the property from the name(s) as they presently appear, to the name(s) that will be used to hold title.  Full names of all parties must be used.  The new deed should state how title will be held, i.e., joint tenants, tenant in common, etc.  The new deed must be acknowledged by a Notary Public. 

       

      Deed forms may be obtained from stationery stores that carry legal forms.  They are not available in this office.

       

      The deed must be recorded in the county where the property is located.  There is a fee for the recordation. 

       

      A Preliminary Change of Ownership Report should be completed, signed, and returned with the document.  If it is not completed and submitted, an additional fee of $20.00 will be required for recording.  If you need assistance in completing this form, call (909) 387-8307. 

       

      For property in San Bernardino County, please contact the Recorder's Office for information regarding procedures. 

       

      San Bernardino County Recorder
      Hall of Records
      222 W. Hospitality Lane
      San Bernardino, CA 92415-0022
      Telephone: (909) 387-8306