Everyone knows that values have decreased for real estate in the state of California. But not everyone knows that you can challenge and possibly reduce your property tax bill.

San Luis Obispo county’s website offers clear instructions regarding how to go about the process of completing a “decline-in-value form” through the San Luis Obispo County Assessors Office. They even provide a “decline in value estimator tool” to help you determine if you are eligible.

I found Santa Barbara County’s website not as clear, but the process exists, none the less.  In Santa Barbara County, you are required to complete a  “Request for Informal Review” , a form that is hidden somewhere near the bottom of this page of their website.

According to the “Decline-in-Value” Application Form,”Section 51 of the California Revenue and Taxation Code authorizes the assessor to lower the value of any real property where the assessed value is greater than the current market value as of January 1 lien date.”…Application filed before September 15 are also eligible for an assessment appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board.”

If you purchased your home after 2005, chances are good that you may be paying more than your share of property taxes, so it is definitely worth checking into.

-Eddie Stanfield