The San Mateo County Assessor's Office asked the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office to send out the following cautionary note regarding unsolicited property tax reduction offers.
In the past week, San Mateo County property owners have been blanketed with solicitations from private companies that are luring people to spend money to reduce their property taxes. These companies cannot guarantee a reduction in property taxes to anyone. The law establishes which properties are eligible for this property tax relief program known as a "Decline in Value."
A "Decline in Value" request is FREE to any homeowner. We need your help to get the word out -- tell your constituents, employees, friends, neighbors and family NOT to get ripped off -- do NOT pay for these services. If anyone should ask, this is how the Decline in Value program works:
First, a property owner requests a Decline in Value review by filling out a simple form and sending to the Assessor's office (online, by fax, mail or in person). It only takes a couple of minutes to complete.
Second, our offices review the request. If a property's assessed value is more than its market value as of Jan. 1, the property owner will be eligible for a temporary reduction in assessed value. We will start the process that will lower their property tax bill or earn them a property tax credit.
Third, if the property is ineligible for relief, we will advise the owner as to why their property did not qualify for a reduction.
Where can someone get a form? Decline in Value request forms are available online and in downloadable paper formats from our web site at www.smcare.org. We will also mail them to a property owner and forms are available in our office if a person stops by.
And lastly, properties that are reduced are reviewed by the office on an annual basis. If the property continues to qualify, it will remain on the program in future years until the property's value is regained.
Please help us spread the word. I've attached the press release that we sent to the media and samples of the solicitations. You will note that is very professional looking and that is why it may snare unsuspecting property owners into this scam.