CSAC Bulletin Article

SB 815 Would Extend Assessment Appeals Deadline

August 27, 2020

A new budget trailer bill, SB 815, would give county assessment appeals boards additional time to work through their backlogs and clarify that they are allowed to hold hearings remotely.

County assessment appeals boards (AABs) are quasi-judicial bodies that decide disputes about the taxable value of real property. With the COVID-19 pandemic limiting in-person proceedings, and the lack of clarity about whether remote hearings were acceptable for these hearings and the due process rights that accompany them, most appeals have been on hold for the past several months.

However, state law, in an effort to ensure counties hold these hearings that have the potential to reduce property tax revenue, automatically grants appeals that are not heard within two years. With the two-year deadline approaching for a number of appeals, the Governor recently extended the deadline by executive order, but only until January 31, 2021. Many counties worried that would not be long enough to resolve the backlog of appeals, especially without clarification that remote hearings are permitted, and, if a further extension was necessary, would not give the Legislature time to approve a bill doing so.

SB 815, as recently amended, both extends the deadline and clarifies that remote hearings are permissible, and CSAC supported the bill during a meeting of the Assembly Budget Committee earlier this week. (We expect minor amendments to the bill in the coming days that have been agreed to by all parties.)

Our coalition support letter included the Urban Counties of California, the Rural County Representatives of California, the California Assessors Association, the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials, and the Counties of Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Ventura.

The bill is pending on the Assembly floor, then will move to the Senate for consideration.

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