Beginning Thursday, Alameda County will offer a new online application process for assessment appeals applications.
Susan S. Muranishi, county administrator, said the online service is aimed at providing a new measure of convenience for property owners who believe the market value of their property differs from the assessed value upon which property taxes are based.
The new online application option is being offered in response to a sharp growth in the number of assessment appeals applications Alameda County has received in recent years.
The Alameda County Assessment Appeals Board normally receives between 2,000 and 3,000 assessment appeals applications, but received more than 11,500 applications in each of the past two years. A higher-than-normal number of applications is expected to be received by the board again this year.
The county assessor has proactively reviewed more than 150,000 residential properties that were purchased from 2001 through 2009 to ascertain if reductions in this year's assessed value could be provided. More than 100,000 properties will receive reduced assessed values as of Jan. 1, 2010 for the 2010-2011 fiscal year due to market value declines.
Formal appeals may be filed between July 2 and Sept. 15, 2010. The assessor, however, recommends that property owners review their "Notification of Assessed Value" that will be mailed in late July prior to requesting an informal review or formal appeal.
More assessment information may be found on the Assessor's Office website at: www.acgov.org/assessor
New materials for the 2010 filing, including access to the new online application, will be available starting Thursday on the county's website. Information and materials related to assessment appeals can be found at: www.acgov.org/clerk/assessment.htm.
It is important to note that property owners who file their assessment appeals online will be required to follow-up with a signed hard-copy submission mailed or provided directly to the Assessment Appeals Board to finalize their applications. Although the application cannot be fully completed online, the online option should allow faster processing of applications and enable the county to notify applicants of the status of their applications more expeditiously.
Also, starting with the 2010 filing period, Alameda County will charge a non-refundable $50 per parcel processing fee for an assessment appeals application. Before adopting the fee, the Board of Supervisors conducted a public hearing and two readings to allow public input.
The fee is intended to partially cover Alameda County's increased cost of processing applications due to the marked rise in the number of applications received. The fee will partially offset the cost of hiring temporary staff and implementing technological upgrades to assist with processing applications. Also, the Board approved a waiver of the processing fee for individuals who qualify for a hardship waiver. This processing fee waiver form will also be available on the county website.
"Alameda County is only the second county in California to offer online applications for assessment appeals," Muranishi said. "This effort is consistent with the Board of Supervisors commitment to increase operational efficiencies and better serve the public."
"It should make the process easier and more convenient for applicants, while enhancing our county's ability to more efficiently process the large number of applications we receive," she added.
"The rapid growth in the number of applications our county processes each year means similarly steep growth in costs we incur in processing these applications," Muranishi explained. "This fee is consistent with many other jurisdictions, including those in the Bay Area. Further, it is important to note that these fees go directly to the assessment appeals unit to partially cover operational costs and to continue to improve and expedite services."