(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) today joined County Assessors from northern California counties to warn homeowners about misleading and official-looking property tax reduction solicitations and to highlight a new law, Assembly Bill 992 (Lieu), which officially outlaws these fraudulent letters beginning January 1, 2010.
“With property values dropping across the state, scammers are preying on unsuspecting homeowners by offering to help lower their property tax bill,” said Assemblymember Lieu. “These unscrupulous companies offer to file property tax reduction requests with the county assessor’s office, in return for an unnecessary fee of several hundred dollars from the homeowner. The fact is, this same service is provided for free from the local assessor’s office, and there is no need for anyone to pay a fee to facilitate a property tax reduction.”
AB 992, a new law authored by Assemblymember Lieu, puts an end to this scam by preventing these miscreants to send solicitations that look like official government letters that attempt to collect a fee, and in some cases, even threaten a late fee if not acted upon immediately.
County assessors from across California are being inundated with questions and concerns from property owners who have received misleading mailers. They are urging homeowners to be on the lookout for these mailers and to contact their local assessor’s office directly to properly file for lower assessments.
“Assessors routinely value property reductions to ensure taxpayers are assessed at fair and equitable values,” said Dan Goodwin, President of the California Assessors’ Association and the County Assessor from Ventura. “Unfortunately, there are people who are offering fraudulent services that not only cause confusion but charge homeowners unnecessary fees for a service that assessors routinely do for free.”
AB 992 is sponsored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney and supported by the California Assessors’ Association and the California Association of Clerks & Election Officials.
- Assemblymember Ted Lieu says county assessors insure fair treatment for taxpayers.(1:46)
- Assemblymember Ted Lieu says scam artists are working overtime before Assembly Bill 992 goes into effect.
- Assemblymember Ted Lieu says the penalties for trying this scam after January 1st will quickly add up.
- Assemblymember Ted Lieu says the scam artists have made their letter look like it came from a government agency.
- Assemblymember Ted Lieu says the poor economic conditions have added to the problem.
- Sacramento County Assessor Ken Stieger says he has lowered the property taxes for tens of thousands of property owners just in the last year.