San Diego County Shopping Center Owner Saves over $124,000!!!
This is a good property tax reduction story. The subject property is a 33,000+ square foot shopping center in La Mesa (San Diego County). The owner came on board with CAPTA back in 2008 and had an assessment of just under $8,900,000. Unfortunately, given the restraints of thousands of appeals filed in the County, San Diego was not ready to discuss this property until early 2010. At that time, given the case we set forth to the County we were able to work out a reduction for the 2008 and 2009 years to $7,300,000. This resulted in refunds to our client of over $36,000!
Thinking that we had done all we could do, our client cancelled our services for the upcoming years. This is unfortunate because it can easily delay the already lengthy process. However, after seeing that the 2010 year was set at the trended base year value of now over $9,000,000 they realized it was a safer, smarter move to have representation from CAPTA. We filed the 2010 application for changed assessment with the County last year, and now, were able to work out some far greater reductions!
For the 2010 year, we were able to prove the assessment was too high by $3,580,000 (a 40% reduction)! This will result in a refund to our client of over $42,000.
Wait – there’s more!
For the 2011 year (yes, the year we haven’t even hit yet), we were able to prove a further reduction to $5,000,000! And, we still have the right to appeal that value and try to reduce it further. In 2011 alone, our client will save well over $46,500!
So for four years, our client will have saved over $124,000! Why is this a great story? First off, it goes to show that if you don’t have CAPTA behind you, you won’t get near the result (if any!). And of course, its great that this client will have improved his cash flow by over $30,000/yr.
Kern County Vacant Residential Development Land
We represent a property in Kern County, a collection of over 11,000 acres of undeveloped desert land. In 2008 CAPTA appealed the $25,000,000 assessed value, and we were met with huge resistance from the Assessor. As we approached our hearing date nearly two years after our appeal was filed, the Assessor came to us with an offer to reduce the assessed value approximately $2,000,000. (Very, very important note here: while CAPTA was convinced that we had a case for a larger reduction, a reduction of $2,000,000 would represent a savings to our client of $20,000, or a fee to us of $10,000. A point we stress throughout our website is that other property tax agents would have seen the $10,000 as an easy payday and a way to not have to put more work into the case, but simply accept the offer, collect $10,000 and walk away. Read on and see that CAPTA is not like the other property tax agents!). We felt that we could pursue this case and save our client even more money for 2008, and as such we told the Assessor's office "We'll see you at the hearing!"
We then put together a case on this property for our opinion of $8,000,000. Our opinion was simple to understand really: Vacant Residential Development Land in the middle of the Kern County Desert, while popular just a year prior, was not worth the value ascribed to it by the Assessor. Vacant Residential land in general was not something that investors wanted to get involved with as of January, 2008. Considering the housing market was just beginning its drastic decline and the subsequent over supply of new homes, no developer in their right mind would want this land. Further, while the Assessor thought they found the smoking gun in the possibility that this land could be used as a solar site, we set forth that there was no market for it at this time. There was far more to this case, but the point we want to make is that, as we state on this site - We Think Outside the Box! We did not look for a couple comparable sales to prove the value was lower. We looked at the market for development land in general, the solar industry, the Kern County market for housing, then we took all that with our comparable sales and made adjustments across the board to show the appeals board that this property was worth substantially less than the Assessor's office believes.
We took our case all the way to the board hearing. When we arrived, the Assessor's office had actually retracted their offer and attempted to prove the property was worth more than assessed value. Yes, MORE THAN THE ASSESSED VALUE! (That means the Assessor's office actually believed that land had appreciated in 2008!) During the hearing we presented our case thoroughly, answering questions from the Board and the Assessor throughout our presentation. And when the Assessor presented their case, CAPTA was aggressive in the cross-examination and scrutiny of evidence, such that the Board was convinced that our case was sound. The Board granted our opinion of value, a complete win, and our client received nearly $250,000 in refunds for that year alone!
We are now (yes, in May of 2011) preparing our 2009 case, again protesting the value of over $25,000,000. Now mind you, we just took a case before the board last year and achieved a reduction from $25,000,000 to $8,000,000 and the Assessor's office to this day is not even acknowledging a decline as of January 2009! To date, we have received requests for information that any individual company or individual would have received and thought "there's no way I can see this appeal through." We had to attend a pre-hearing conference, requested by the Assessor's office. While there, it was clear that CAPTA performed to the standard the Appeals Board expects as they actually wondered why the Assessor's office requested such a hearing. We have responded to even more requests since last month. We now have another hearing in June and fully expect that we will again win our opinion.