Adjusting Values For Calamities

WE ARE NAPA COUNTY

Assessor

John Tuteur Assessor

Adjusting property taxes for calamities

California's property tax laws provide a mechanism for the Assessor to adjust assessed values to recognize destruction caused by a calamity or misfortune that damages real or personal property.

Criteria

To qualify for a calamity adjustment, the property must have suffered more than $10,000 worth of damage and the owner must file a claim form with the Assessor within 12 months of the date of the calamity. Calamities do NOT include damage that occurs over time, such as termite damage, gradual earth movements or vineyard diseases such as phylloxera. There are slightly different rules that apply, depending on whether the damage is caused by a widespread event that results in a Governor's proclamation of disaster or by a specific misfortune such as fire or landslide.

Process

Once the Assessor discovers or is notified of the misfortune by either the property owner, the media or local authorities, a claim form is sent to the owner of the property. The claim form asks for the type of disaster, date of occurrence and an estimate of what the repair cost will be. When the claim form is returned, the real property field appraiser will visit the property to document the extent of  the damage and to discuss the repair schedule with the owner. The  Proposition 13 factored base-year value of the property will then be reduced as of the date of damage or destruction to reflect the percentage of damage that the property suffered. If a structure was completely destroyed, the value will be removed. A roll correction will be sent to the County Auditor, which will result in either a lower tax bill, if still due, or a refund, if already paid.

Reinstating value after replacement

The value is reduced or removed during the time the property is in a state of disrepair and then is reinstated when the property is repaired. If the structure is restored to its original condition, the original Proposition 13 base-year value is enrolled plus the appropriate time factor. If a better quality or larger structure is built as a replacement, credit is given for the base-year value of the original improvement and then additional value is added for the current market value of the upgraded or larger structure. In the case of a destroyed manufactured home that was installed before 1980 and was paying a registration fee to Sacramento, the replacement home will go on the property tax rolls but the value will be enrolled so that the property taxes do not exceed the amount of the prior registration fee. 

Should you have any questions please contact Napa County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk John Tuteur at 707.253.4459 or by e-mail john.tuteur@countyofnapa.org  More articles can be found at http://www.countyofnapa.org/Assessor/