Monday, August 18, 2008

California tries to squeeze homeowners.

Today, my stomach is all tied in knots. You see last week I got a notice from the county. They wanted to charge me more taxes on the crapshack. Apparently those pesky permits I pulled got them salivating about being able to raise the tax assessment on the property. Despite a market still in decline.

A few things were especially troubling. The first was how heavy handed the notice was. "You must return this notice - and if you lie - it's a misdemeanor".

The second thing was - the notice was completely geared towards getting me to tell them I had done new construction when I hadn't. I.e. There was no area on on the form to explain any work done outside of "new construction". Namely repair or replacement. It was all "we know you've done new construction - you must tell us what you've done".

When I talked to one of my friends about it - he said that sometimes they audit the permits. Which might completely be true. But, I've pulled tons of permits for all the same things I did at the crapshack, and have never once gotten a notice like this. I can only assume it's because the state is in a severe budget crisis and they are trying find more capital. Whatever it is - it made me more nervous than dealing with the IRS. I've dealt with the IRS two years in a row. They have been easy to work with.

I found the notice from the county much more anxiety inducing. The IRS at least has rules plainly laid out. The county is basically saying "tell me everything you've done, and we will tell you if it's taxable".

At any rate... I wouldn't fill anything out on the form they sent, and opted to enclose a letter. I doubt it will be the last I'll hear from them. And that sucks.


  1. Based on my experience, I wouldn't sweat it. We conducted a fairly major remodel, adding decks and a stairway, moving interior walls, updating two bathrooms, etc. I enclosed a letter describing what we'd done as "mostly cosmetic," and haven't heard another word in the 2+ years since.

    Given the decline in the market and your recent purchase of the crapshack, your renovation probably won't increase your assessment.

  2. That was actually very comforting. Thank you.

    I just get super freaked out dealing with the gub'er'ment. Especially when they want more of my money.

    They are constantly mashing on you.