Property tax bills in mail, reflect improved housing market

Many Sacramento County homeowners will see increases in assessed value – and their property tax bills – according to county officials.

The county this month has mailed about 450,000 secured property tax bills, which are payable Nov. 1.

These tax bills are mailed only once a year, but property owners may pay their bills in two installments. The first payment must be received or postmarked no later than 5 p.m. Dec. 10. The second installment payment must be received or postmarked no later than 5 p.m. April 10, 2014.

As a result of the improved residential real estate market, many parcels will see increases in their 2013-14 assessed value, according to a county Department of Finance news release. By law, the assessed values on the 2013-14 annual secured property tax bills are based either on their factored Proposition 13 value or market value as of Jan. 1, 2013.

Some property owners may be surprised to find their tax bills will be more than 2 percent higher than last year’s. During the housing downturn, the county adjusted assessed values downward, with some homeowners seeing their property tax bills cut in half as they lost equity. But as the market rebounded in the past year, the county increased those assessed values to represent the higher market value.

Such adjustments in assessed value are provided for in California tax law and often referred to as Proposition 8 Decline in Value adjustments.

Sacramento County increased the value this year on nearly all of its 200,000-plus properties that received Proposition 8 reductions in the past, according to Sacramento County Assessor Kathleen Kelleher.

Property owners can find out their assessed value via the “Assessed Value Lookup” feature on the Assessor’s Office website www.assessor.saccounty.net. It displays last year’s value, this year’s value, and includes the Proposition 13 factored value for comparison.

The Assessor’s Office will continue tracking market trends and review assessed values as of Jan. 1, 2014, in preparation for the 2014-15 tax roll, officials said. Taxpayers who have evidence that their property value as of Jan. 1, 2013, is less than that shown on their 2013-14 tax bill are advised to visit the Assessor’s website, call the Assessor’s Office at (916) 875-0700, or visit the office in person at 3701 Power Inn Road, Suite 3000.

Taxpayers may obtain current year tax bill information, direct levy information and delinquent prior year tax information and amounts due through the Internet at www.eproptax.saccounty.net, using their 14-digit parcel number. A QR Code on the tax bill payment stub for use with smart phones will connect taxpayers with the website.

The county also has a round-the-clock Automated Property Tax Information Line that offers callers information on a variety of tax subjects, and access to detailed billing information. Tax specialists are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The automated system and tax specialists can be reached by calling (916) 874-6622.