Understanding Assessments

Richard N. Benson, Assessor - Recorder - County Clerk
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Understanding Assessments in a Changing Market

A Property Owner’s Introduction

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to see the answer, or Open All Questions.

  • What is a temporary decline in value (Proposition 8)?

    A temporary reduction in value occurs when the current market value of real property is less than the current assessed (taxable) factored base year value as of the lien date (January 1st of each year). In 1978, California voters passed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to Article XIIIA that allows a temporary reduction in assessed value when real property experiences a decline in value.

    Real property may increase or decline in market value from one lien date to the next lien date; however, a property will not benefit from a lower assessment unless its market value falls below the current factored base year value.

    Example #1

    If you purchased your property in 2010 for $500,000, but on January 1, 2016, its market value was $425,000, it may be subject to a temporary reduction in value for the lien date January 1, 2016, affecting the property tax value for the regular tax bill due in fiscal year 2016/17.

    Example #2

    If you purchased your property in 1998 for $275,000, and your factored base year value for 2016/17 is $364,171 because of the annual inflationary increases prescribed by Proposition 13, and the market value as of January 1, 2016, is $525,000, then you would not be eligible for a temporary reduction in value for the tax year 2016/17. In this example, even if market values in your neighborhood declined since 2015, the assessable value of $364,171 is less than the fair market value and therefore it is not eligible for a temporary reduction.

  • When will I be notified of my assessed value for the 2016/2017 tax year?

    Our office mails a notice of assessed value in late June 2016 if your assessed value is different from the factored base year value from one year to the next as prescribed by Proposition 13.

  • How did the Assessor arrive at the value for the 2016/2017 property tax year?

    Our office reviews market indicators including neighborhood sales, sales comparison, cost and income analysis, paired sales, and value patterns.

  • My taxable value increased by 12% since last year. Doesn’t Proposition 13 limit the annual increase in assessments to 2%?

    Yes, under Proposition 13, base year values may not be increased more than two percent per year. However, this two percent limitation applies only to increases in the base year value. Proposition 8 values are not considered base year values, but are temporary reductions in value; thus a property assessed under Proposition 8 is not restricted to the maximum two percent increase. Once the market value increases and is equal to or greater than the factored base year value (adjusted annually for inflation), then the factored base year value is restored and the annual increase will again be limited to two percent.

  • What if I disagree with the value that’s shown on my notice of assessed value and have information to support a different value?

    In Marin County’s changing real estate market, neighborhood values may be going up or down. If you believe that the market value of your property as of January 1, 2016 is less than the value shown on the 2016/17 Assessment Value Notice, you have several options. You may simply contact us to discuss your questions and/or request an informal assessment review and/or file a formal Assessment Appeal Application with the Assessment Appeals Board.

  • How do I request an informal assessment review for the January 1, 2016 lien date?

    You may obtain a Request for Informal Assessment Review form online at www.marincounty.org/ar or by calling 415 473 7215. The form is also available in our office (Marin County Civic Center, Suite 208). The form requests your opinion of the value of the property as of January 1, 2016, and allows you to supply comparable sales to support your opinion of value. The deadline for submitting the form is October 31, 2016.

  • How can I formally appeal the assessed value of my property?

    You may file a formal Assessment Appeal Application for the January 1, 2016 lien date value if you don’t agree with the assessed value of your property. For more information, contact the Assessment Appeals Board at 415 473 7345 or obtain information at www.marincounty.org. Please note the deadline for filing an Application is November 30, 2016 and the filing fee is $50.00. Late Applications are not accepted.

Examples of Proposition 8 Decline in Value

The examples below illustrate scenarios in a changing real estate market. Although a decline in value reduction (Proposition 8) may be appropriate in the top example, it is not applicable in the bottom example.

The graph below illustrates the assessable value being lowered to correspond to lower market value in years 3, 4, and returning to the factored value at year 5.

This graph illustrates the assessable value being lowered to correspond to lower market value in years 3, 4, and returning to the factored value in year 5.

The graph below illustrates the market value did not drop below the assessed value; therefore, a reduction is not warranted.

This graph illustrates the market value did not drop below the assessed value; therefore, a reduction is not warranted.

Requests for informal value reviews are free!

The Marin County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk’s office does not charge a fee for an informal assessment review.

Please contact us by telephone (415) 473-7215 or by email.

Important Dates

July 1, 2016 - October 31, 2016

Dates to submit a Request for Informal Assessment Review with the Assessor’s office.

July 2, 2016 - November 30, 2016

Dates to file a formal Assessment Appeal Application with the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board for the 2015 lien date regular assessment.