This is in response to a scam that many property owners have reported. The Humboldt County Assessor's Office has issued this release:
No Need to Pay for Review of property Assessment
Property owners in Humboldt County have recently been receiving notices from a private company saying that the company will file an application for assessment review on their behalf. The company requires a payment of $179. There is a time limit given for this or a late fee ($30) will be added. These notices look official and appear to be from a government entity.
Humboldt County Assessor Linda Hill wants to make it clear that these notices are not from her office. The assessor will provide this service free of charge to anyone who thinks that the current market value of their property is less than the assessed value. An application for review can be obtained by calling the Assessor’s Office at 707-445-7663 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. (County offices will be closed Monday, Feb. 16.)
The downturn in the economy and the reduction in home values have resulted in a situation where many recently purchased homes are now worth less than their assessed value. California law requires that property be assessed at the lower of Prop 13 value or market value. For property purchased prior to 2004, the assessed value is probably less than current market value and no review is needed. However, property purchased in 2004 or later could see a reduction in taxes if a review is undertaken.
Once a decline-in-value reduction is granted the property will be reviewed each year by the assessor until the market value exceeds the Prop 13 value. At that time, the Prop 13 value will again be enrolled and annual increases to the assessed value will be limited to no more than 2%.
Any questions or requests for application should be directed to the number given above.