(PLACERVILLE) – The El Dorado County Assessor's Office has completed approximately 96% of the reductions to assessed values of improved properties damaged in the Caldor Fire. The remaining improved properties are being reviewed and will be completed soon.
According to County Assessor Karl Weiland, over 600 properties were included in the first round of refunds. "We set a goal of getting these refunds out before the December 10th deadline to pay the first installment, and we met that goal" Weiland stated. The first batch of refund checks were mailed on December 1st and since that time, the Assessor's office has processed over 200 additional value reductions. In the case of destroyed residential property, the assessed land values were reduced by half, and the improvement values were reduced by 95%, leaving a 5% residual improvement value to capture the underlying value of credits for impact and other permit fees. Properties that sustained damage but were not destroyed were processed based on a comprehensive review of the actual damage sustained.
In addition, Assistant Assessor Danielle Yandow explained that reductions in assessed value that were completed after the December 10th first installment property tax due date came in the form of a refund or a corrected tax bill, depending on the circumstances and status of each parcel. "Of the reductions completed so far, 60% are in the Grizzly Flat region, with the other 40% mostly located along Highway 50. The total assessed value reduction to date is $106 million, which is just over $1 million in property taxes", said Yandow.
As soon as the improved property reductions are completed, the Assessor's office will review properties which sustained damage to land only and smoke damage claims. Yandow urged property owners who have not yet received a notice of reduced assessed value or who have not yet applied for reassessment for Caldor fire damage to do so immediately. Due to the large perimeter and varied terrain within the area of the fire, their office has discovered the destruction of a group of residences through filed applications. However, no damage was indicated by the prior physical damage assessments. Furthermore, applications must be submitted within one year of the date of the calamity in order to qualify for retroactive relief. The assessor's office is only allowed to grant tax relief on applications received after the 1-year deadline on the tax roll being prepared at that point in time.
"In future years, all reduced values will be carried forward until the property owners begin to rebuild their residence or the property is sold. As well, any further reductions in value that may occur in the heavily damaged neighborhoods will also be considered annually, if indicated by the market", Yandow says.
Fire victims and property owners who have questions are encouraged to call the Assessor's Office. The main office is located at 360 Fair Lane in Placerville, CA. Office hours are 8am – 5pm and the phone number is 530.621.5719. The South Lake Tahoe Office is located at 3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd, Suite 103, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. Office Hours are also 8-5 and the phone number is 530.573.3422. The Assessor's web site, www.edcgov.us/assessor has on-line property information, additional information on a variety of property tax issues as well as an online application for a calamity reduction.