by Bruce Wagg
on Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 at 5:00pm.
I have received two different, very official looking letters wanting to "help me" with adjusting my county property taxes on my home. One is from the Homeowners Tax Review (HTR) and another from Property Tax Reassessment Co. Both letters try to resemble an official document from the county or state and come in envelopes that mislead.
Because of falling home prices in the last few years, Alameda county and others counties are willing to reassess the assessed value of your home. This can result is a significant savings on the property taxes you pay on your home.
The problem arises when these letters start appearing in my mailbox with headlines like ESTIMATED SAVINGS $438.74 or $1812.50!! That seems great, but the fine print says that they are going to charge me $95 or $179 to help me reassess my house. One of the letters even includes a fine if I don't respond by a certain date. The county doesn't have to lower your home's assessed value but Alameda county has been automatically reassessing many homes and neighborhoods in the East Bay and has been very proactive in lowering assessed value. Your home will probably receive a tax break without doing anything!
While I am sure that these companies will provide a service for a fee, filing the paperwork is something that anyone can do on their own. There is no need to pay someone $179 to fill out a one page form and send it in to the county. If you wish for a free form that you can fill out and send in, just e-mail me and I will send you one.