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Published on: 2/2/2012 12:00 AM

Why did my property tax bill go up this year?

Under California law, Property 13, the base-year value can only increase the maximum of two percent per year. However, if the property has temporary value reductions, then it is not restricted by the two percent maximum value. In addition, new base-year values are established if the property was newly purchased, new construction occurred, or if the property changed ownership.

What do I do if I think that my property is assessed at a value that is above the market value as of January 1st?

You may qualify for a temporary value reduction for the following year. You can call our office to request that we review your case.

I have questions about my property tax bill, who should I call?

The Assessor's Office and the Tax Collector's Office are two separate departments. The Assessor's Office determines the value of your property, while the Tax Collector's Office establishes the amount of your tax bill. If you have questions about your assessment value, please give us a call. But we cannot answer tax dollar amounts because we cannot see your tax amounts in our department. If you have questions regarding your bill's amount please contact the Treasurer & Tax Collector's Office at (530) 265-1285.

I have questions about my supplemental notice, who should I call?

Call our office to get the answers to your questions regarding your supplemental notice.

My property tax bill says "Improvements" but I did not make any changes to my property, why is that?

The term refers to anything that is on the land, not necessarily improvements that may have occurred in the last year.


How do I find my APN?

Check out our Find My APN! service. If you know your street address, then it is easy to find your APN by clicking on "Look Up Property Information" under the "General Information" tab. If you need any more assistance it determining an APN, please give us a call at (530) 265-1232.

Why has a name change occurred on title?

Changes are usually initiated though deeds and other recorded documents in the Recorder's Office.

I'm recording a document to transfer property, are there any tips to ensure that the process isn't delayed?

In order to change title, a legal document must be recorded in the Nevada County Recorder's Office. Once the document is recorded, the change will automatically be made on our records. We urge you to contact legal counsel or a title company to assist you in this matter to assure that the document is properly completed. Title to the property will remain unchanged until the necessary document has been recorded.

Where does the Assessor's Office get mailing address changes?

Our office will make mailing address changes when we receive recorded documents, such as deeds, that indicate an address different from what we have.

How can I change my mailing address?

You can change your mailing address by mailing or faxing us a piece of paper labeled "Request for Change of Mailing Address" with your APN, the correct mailing address and your signature.  It is important to include your signature because we cannot make the changes without at least one owner's signature.  We also have a Change of Address Request form that you can fill out and mail to us.

Are the Assessor Parcel Maps online?

Yes, the Assessor Parcel Maps are now available online, along with basic parcel data and current assessed values.  Just click on  "Parcel Data & Maps".  You will be able to search by street address or Assessor's Parcel Number (APN).

Is an Assessor's parcel the same as a legal, buildable lot?

Not necessarily.  The Assessor creates parcels for the purpose of valuation and taxation.  There are instances in which the Assessor must divide a parcel into multiple parcels with separate Assessor Parcel Numbers.  These parcel splits DO NOT SPLIT a property legally and DO NOT determine whether it is a buildable site.  Typically, Assessor's parcels match the legal lot boundaries but you should never assume so without checking with the county or city planning departments.

I have questions about my Business Property Statement (571-L form), what should I do?

If you are unsure of how to fill out the form, please give us a call so that we can explain it and walk you through the form.  It is much better to call us rather than not filling it out because you may be penalized for not filing.

I received a questionnaire regarding my business, do I have to report equipment that I use for the business even if I owned the equipment before I started the business?

Yes, all equipment you use for your business is subject to assessment, regardless of its age or value.

Why is my boat assessed and why do I have to pay property taxes on it?

The California Constitution states that all tangible property is taxable. Property taxes for boats are not collected through a registration fee with DMV, as they are with automobiles. Therefore, you pay for property taxes on your boat through the county.

Why do I need to fill out a Vessel Property Statement?

We need to know the boat's condition, if it was sold and who purchased the boat.  If the statement is not returned, anestimated assessment will be made using the best information available, and a 10% penalty on the assessed value will be added for failure to file per Revenue & Taxation Code 463.

What is a supplemental assessment?

State law requires the Assessor to reappraise property upon change in ownership or completion of new construction. The supplemental assessment reflects the difference between the new value and the old value. The Auditor-Controller calculates the supplemental property tax, and prorates it, based upon the number of months remaining in the fiscal year in which the event occurred. The fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.

A change in ownership or new construction completion which occurs between January 1 and May 31 results in two supplemental assessments and two supplemental tax bills. The first supplemental bill is for the remainder of the fiscal year in which the event occurred. The second supplemental bill is for the subsequent fiscal year.

Notices of Assessed Value Change are mailed to property owners before supplemental tax bills are issued. Remember that supplemental tax bills are in addition to the regular annual tax bills. Supplemental bills go directly to the property owner, and not to an impound account - where one might exist.

What is the zoning for my property?

This is a question for the Planning Department, the Assessor's Office does not deal with zoning.

I want to preserve my land for agricultural or open space use.  Can I get any tax relief for doing that?

The California Legislature passed the California Land Conservation Act - commonly referred to as the Williamson Act - in 1965 to preserve agricultural and open space lands by discouraging premature and unnecessary conversion to urban uses. The Act creates an arrangement whereby private landowners contract with counties and cities to voluntarily restrict land to agricultural and open-space uses.  Click here to go to the California Department of Conservation for more details and information on how to apply.

What is an escape assessment?

An escape is the bill for an increase to a prior annual roll. Change in ownership or the completion of construction can increase the assessed property value. If the increase in value is not added to the annual tax roll on a timely basis, then the increase will be billed at a later time. The reason for an escape can be construction built without a permit, an unrecorded change in ownership, (such as a death or unrecorded contract of sale, etc.) or other notification to the Assessor's Office.

How do I find out who owns property in Nevada County or if a certain person owns real property?

We have computer terminals on the front counter of our office on which you can search by name, site address, or Assessor's parcel number.  Or, if you know the location of the property you're interested in, you can view our Assessor Parcel maps to determine the parcel number and then use the terminals to find the owner's name and mailing address.

My property changed ownership between parents and children, why did I get reassessed?

Your property was reassessed because you did not file a Claim for Reassessment Exclusion for Transfer Between Parent and Child, or you had already exceeded the limits of the exclusion.  If you indicate on the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report that it is a parent/child transfer, we mail you the claim form.  If you do not file the claim form, the transfer is reassessed like any other change in ownership.  You should contact the Assessor's Office to see if you can still qualify for the exclusion.

Sue Horne

950 Maidu Avenue Suite 290
Nevada City, Ca 95959
Hours: 8am-5pm M-F
Phone: 530.265.1232
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