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Property Tax Appeals, Litigation and Consultation

Property Tax Litigation and Consultation

The Law Offices of Wade E. Norwood offers extensive experience and a track record of success in property tax appeals. For more than 13 years, I have been helping a wide variety of California property owners — including Fortune 500 companies, golf course owners, the Trump Organization, Kindred Healthcare, childcare providers, Pacific Life Insurance, office building owners and numerous others — reduce their property taxes. Success in property tax appeals requires specialized legal and appraisal knowledge and positive working relationships with County Assessors and the State Board of Equalization.

Valuation Cases

Most property tax appeals involve challenging the value placed on property by the local Assessor’s office. Valuation cases, which are presented to Assessment Appeals Boards, require strong appraisals that will stand up to cross-examination. Our office works with top independent appraisers to provide Boards with the kind of persuasive, sound evidence that they need to determine the fair market value of any kind of real property. In order to succeed, it is also necessary to concisely cross-examine the Assessor’s case to highlight where the Assessor’s valuation work is weak. Many legal issues arise during property tax hearings that are best handled by a lawyer who specializes in property tax law.

Change-In-Ownership Cases

Changes in ownership result in reassessments. In many cases, however, the Assessor’s office reassesses property when no actual change in ownership has occurred, or when the transfer can be excluded from reassessment. There are exclusions that may avoid a reassessment for transfers — between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, spouses, and registered domestic partners. There are also exclusions for buying a replacement home after a disaster, or if you are over 55 or disabled and buy a replacement home of equal or lesser value. Transfers in which the ultimate ownership of the property remained the same are also excluded from reassessment. For example, a husband and wife transfer a property to a family limited partnership in which they are each 50 percent owners. From corporate concerns with mergers and acquisitions to individual concerns about family transfers and estate planning, we are able to assist you.