Before Filing An Appeal
Property owners are to contact the Assessment District Administrator, Willdan Financial Services (“Willdan”), at the toll-free number 1-866-807-6864, if they have concerns regarding assessments. Willdan can answer questions regarding the assessment, and particularly the calculation of the assessment for individual parcels. Willdan can also explain the appeals process if a property owner wishes to appeal.
How to Appeal
Any property owner who, after contacting Willdan, believes his or her property should be reclassified and the assessment adjusted may file a written appeal at the following address: Attn: Executive Director, 22 E. Weber Avenue, Room 301, Stockton CA 95202, or email address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following information must be provided to process the appeal:
1. The name, phone number, mailing address, and email address, if available, of the property owner;
2. The Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) of the property in question;
3. Written documentation explaining the reason for the appeal.
Additional information a property owner provides to support his or her appeal will be reviewed and considered as documentary evidence.
Once the appeal is received, staff will contact the property owner, in writing, to confirm receipt of the appeal and to notify the property owner if additional documentation is required or insufficient documentation was submitted. Acknowledgement of the receipt of the appeal shall be within five (5) business days.
Once determined that sufficient documentation has been submitted, research of the appeal will ensue. The Executive Director (or his or her designee) will receive and review all evidence provided by the appealing property owner and all information compiled by staff, including findings compiled by the Assessment District Administrator. Based upon information received, the Executive Director will make a decision on the appeal. The property owner will be notified, in writing, within 20 business days from the time sufficient documentation was submitted as to whether or not an adjustment to the assessment is warranted. Notification to the property owner of the outcome of appeal will provide a statement explaining the decision.
Corrections to Assessments
SJAFCA Resolution No. 13-13, Section 12, states, in part, “The assessment, as it applies to any parcel, may be corrected, cancelled or a refund granted as appropriate, by order of the Board or by order of the Executive Director of the Agency. Any such corrections, cancellations or refunds shall be limited to current or future fiscal years and shall not be granted retroactively.”
The assessment roll for the District is submitted annually to the San Joaquin County Auditor/Tax Collector in early August, and fiscal year 2014/15 is the initial year for the collection of the assessment. The assessment will be included on the County tax bills mailed to property owners in late October. Payment of the tax bill is due in two installments with the first installment due November 1 and the second installment due February 1. Payment of the tax bill will be delinquent after December 10th and April 10th, respectively.
Property owners are required to pay their tax bill on time despite having filed an appeal. Failure to do so will expose property owners to penalties and interest charges regardless of the outcome of the appeal. An appeal decision will not remove penalties and interest due to late payment of the property tax bill.
If the resolution to the appeal involves a decision to change the assessment amount, then the new assessment will be documented by the Assessment District Administrator and the assessment roll will be updated with the revised assessment. Furthermore, if the timing of the appeal and related decision does not permit inclusion in the ensuing fiscal year's property tax roll, a reimbursement, if appropriate, will be provided to the property owner. If it is found the assessment should be greater, and the timing of the appeal and related decision does not permit inclusion in the ensuing fiscal year’s property tax roll, the assessment amount will be revised and included in the subsequent tax roll.
Deadline to Appeal
With exception to the initial collection of assessments for FY 2014/15, any appeal received after November 1 will be considered for the following fiscal year tax roll.
Property owners wishing to appeal the assessment for FY 2014/15 will have until December 1, 2014, to file an appeal. Appeals received after December 1, 2014, will be considered for, and any resulting changes to the assessment reflected in, the tax roll for the following fiscal year.
Further Appeal Rights
If the property owner is not satisfied with the result of his or her appeal to the Executive Director, the property owner can appeal the decision to the SJAFCA Board directly. Such appeal must be made in writing and received no later than four (4) weeks from the date of the mailing of the initial review decision. The Board will consider all documentation and data provided and shall render a decision in writing. The decision of the Board shall be final. The Board will notify the property owner in writing within four (4) weeks from the date of receipt of the appeal as to the outcome of the appeal.
Appeals made to the Board shall be addressed to: Board of Directors, 22 E. Weber Avenue, Room 301, Stockton, CA 95202.
The Assessment District is designed to fairly determine the benefits received by each property. The variety of appeals the District anticipates receiving may include corrections to structure square footage, property size, land use designation, or the existence or absence of structures. It should be noted that the rendering of a decision for an appeal will be based on factual evidence.
The Executive Director and the Board of Directors cannot:
• reduce the property owner’s assessment because the assessment is more than a neighbor’s
• reduce or remove penalties or interest due to late payment of the property tax bill
• reduce the assessment due to an inability to pay
• change the methodology of the calculation of the property owner’s assessment
• grant an exemption from the assessment
A log of the appeals filed by property owners, including the outcome of the appeal, will be maintained by staff and kept on file at the Agency.
A property owner that presents his or her appeal to the Board of Directors either in-person (i.e., at a public hearing or board meeting, etc.), or by telephone, or by email, will be informed of the due process and requirements established in this document. The process is established to provide guidance and fair consideration to the appealing property owner. The Assessment District Administrator, Executive Director, SJAFCA staff, and Board of Directors will follow the process set forth above to resolve the appeal.