Content Updated April 29, 2020 – Given the large losses in market value caused by COVID-19 restrictions in California, reassessment to reflect those losses presents an opportunity for significant relief from property taxation for taxpayers in California. Any property owner whose property was “damaged or destroyed without his or her fault” in a “major misfortune or calamity” that has been declared to be an official disaster by the California governor may apply for reassessment of that property to reflect such damage. The diminution in market value caused by COVID-19 shutdowns may qualify as “damage” from a disaster that allows for reassessment. The word “damage” is specifically defined as including “a diminution in the value of property as a result of restricted access to the property where that restricted access was caused by the major misfortune or calamity.”
Relief is not guaranteed. First, reassessment is contingent upon the taxing authority issuing an ordinance providing for such reassessment. Second, taxpayers must apply for reassessment by the later of 12 months from the “major misfortune or calamity” or within whatever time is specified in the local ordinance. Third, California’s governor has declared a “state of emergency,” not a “state of disaster,” and applicable California caselaw suggests that reassessment may only be triggered by a “state of disaster.”
Ryan is prepared to assist California property owners in seeking reassessment and in pursuing this issue vigorously as its clients face the ongoing COVID-19 disaster. We will closely monitor developments throughout this process and report on any activities or changes. Ryan will consult with our clients on the best strategy, considering each client’s unique circumstances, maximizing relief under all California administrative, litigation, and appeal remedies.
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The material presented in this communication is intended to provide general information only and should solely be seen as broad guidance and not directed to the particular facts or circumstances of any individual who may read this publication. No liability is accepted for acts or omissions taken in reliance upon the content of this piece. Before taking (or not taking) any action, readers should seek professional advice specific to their situation from Ryan, LLC or other tax professionals. For additional information about this topic, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.