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The assessment appeals process utilizes terms and phrases specific to the area of property tax. Understanding the meanings of the following terms will assist you in filing an Assessment Appeal Application, any consultation with the Assessor’s Office, and prepare you for your Assessment Appeal Hearing.


Affidavit
A person’s written statement on a form or other document that the person certifies to be true and correct.

Allocation
Allocation of value is the division of the total assessed value to the numerous assessment categories, such as land and improvements. The total of which constitutes the assessment of the subject property as a whole.

APN or Parcel Number
APN is an acronym for "Assessor’s Parcel Number" and is assigned to identify every parcel of real property in the County of Ventura. The APN will appear on all correspondence received from the Assessor’s Office relating to that particular property parcel.

Appeal or Application
A completed "Assessment Appeal Application" form filed with the Clerk of the Board.

Appeal Number or Application Number
The number assigned to an "Assessment Appeal Application" form once it has been filed with the Assessment Appeals Clerk. This reference number will appear on all correspondence from the Assessment Appeals Clerk relating to that appeal.

Applicant
A taxpayer who has filed an "Assessment Appeal Application" form with the Assessment Appeal Clerk

Assessed Value
Property value established by the County Assessor’s Office using various appraisal techniques and/or methods. The taxable value of a property against which the tax rate is applied.

Assessee
The person to whom property or a tax is assessed.

Assessment Appeal
The formal process whereby a taxpayer or authorized agent can file an appeal with the Assessment Appeals Clerk to contest the assessed value by requesting a hearing before the Assessment Appeals Board or Hearing Officer.

Assessor
The elected County Official who has the constitutional duty to assess all property in the County of Ventura subject to taxation.

Assessor’s Parcel Number
See “APN”.

Base Year Value
The full cash value (market value) of property on the date it changed ownership, or the full cash value of newly constructed property on the date construction was completed. This is sometimes referred to as Proposition 13 value. See Proposition 13 below, for more information.

Board of Equalization (BOE)
The California State Board of Equalization is sometimes referred to as BOE, SBE, or SBOE. The BOE, as it is more commonly referred to in Ventura County, is an oversight board which ensures uniformity in matters involving taxation throughout the entire State of California. The BOE prescribes the rules and guidelines for the Assessment Appeals Board, the Clerk of the Board with respect to Assessment Appeals, the Assessor, and the taxpayers wishing to dispute matters related to taxation.

Business Personal Property
Property used in the operation of a business, which usually is not permanently affixed to the land or improvements. Businesses are required by law to report ownership of such property to the Assessor on an Annual Basis. Personal Property Assessments are made as of January 1 of each year.

Calamity Assessment
When a taxable property is damaged or destroyed due to no fault of the assessee, such as by fire, flood, earthquake, or other natural disaster, and the Assessor has issued a re-assessment due to these conditions, it is referred to as a Calamity Assessment. Such assessment may reduce the property's taxable value to reflect the damaged condition.  

Change in Ownership
The transfer of a full or partial interest in real property, including the beneficial use thereof.  

Classification
The determination of the type of property to be assessed: land, improvements, personal property, fixtures, etc.

Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board or Clerk of the Board
The intermediary body in the Assessment Appeal Process. Receives and processes Assessment Appeal Applications (assessment appeals) schedules hearings, maintains minutes and official records, provides administrative support to the Assessment Appeals Board and Hearing Officer and provides assistance to the general public on the assessment appeal process.

Commercial/Industrial Property
Property used for commercial purposes, i.e., the buying or selling of goods or services, and not for dwelling purposes. Typically, such property houses a business, which does not have to be related to the owner of the land and improvements.

Comparable Sales or Sales Comps
Comparable Sales "Comps" are the most common type of evidence used in residential property valuation. Comparable sales consist of basic data related to the sale of a property, such as sales price, date of sale, location, square footage, condition, and well as various other data. They represent actual sales of similar types of properties. Averaging of Comparable sales data will not constitute a proper valuation, and will not suffice before the Assessment Appeals Board. (See Preparing for Your Hearing for more information.)

Decline in Market Value
Refer to “Proposition 8” below.

Economic Unit
A parcel which is not saleable, in and of itself, because it is part of a larger unit and contiguously-owned parcels e.g., shopping centers, apartment complexes, etc.

E-File an Assessment Appeal Application 
An electronic record created, stored and filed by electronic (completely paperless) means through a website to the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board. (Electronic submission is unavailable at this time.)

E- Submit an Assessment Appeal Application 
An electronic record created and stored by electronic means that will allow users to create, view, modify, submit and print a paper copy of the Assessment Appeal Application that subsequently must be signed and formally submittal to the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board, via mail or in person. (Electronic submission is unavailable at this time.)

Escape Assessment
An assessment made outside the "regular" assessment period to correct property that was undervalued, overvalued, or not valued at all, during the regular assessment period. (See "Regular Assessment" definition below).

Exemption
A portion of the total Assessed value amount of that is not able to be taxed. An exemption is assessed based on pre-determined facts. All Assessments are made without consideration of the Exemption Value. The Assessment Appeals process does not have jurisdiction to address issues related to exemptions.

Fair Market Value, Market Value or Full Cash Value
The amount of cash or its equivalent that a property would bring if exposed for sale in the open market for a reasonable amount of time.

Fixtures
A "fixture" is an item of personal property classified as realty for property tax purposes because it is physically or constructively annexed to land or improvements with the intent that it remain annexed indefinitely (i.e., counters, clothing racks, printing press, etc.).

Homeowner’s Exemption
An exemption that is typically granted on the primary residence of a homeowner in California. The Homeowner’s Exemption can only be applied to one residence per owner in California. In the Assessment Appeal proceedings, existence of a Homeowner’s Exemption may be used to determine which party in the proceedings has the burden of proof.

Improvements
All buildings, structures, wells, fixtures and fences on or affixed to the land. 

Institutional Exemption
A category of exemptions including church, religious, welfare, and college exemptions.

Land Value
The value allocated to the land on which a property sits. This does not include the value of the structure, but may include improvements to the land such as landscaping, concrete paving, roads and sidewalks.

Lien Date
12:01 a.m. on January 1 preceding the fiscal year for which taxes are collected. The Lien Date is also the date when taxes for any fiscal year become a lien against any real property assessed on the secured assessment roll.

Market Value, Taxable Market Value or Full Cash Value
The amount of cash a property would bring if exposed for sale in the open market or the taxable value of your property at time of purchase or completion of new construction. It may also be your purchase price. However, if your property was obtained as the result of a foreclosure, auction, probate, non-open market transaction etc., your purchase price may not be the value enrolled by the Assessor (Property Tax Rule 2).

New Construction
Any addition to real property, whether land or improvements (including fixtures) since the last lien date; or any alteration of land or improvements (including fixtures) since the last lien date that constitutes a major rehabilitation that is substantially equivalent to new construction or that converts the property to a different use. Demolition of property is also considered as new construction, for assessment purposes.

Parcel
A piece of land, of any size, in own ownership.

Parcel Number
See “APN”.

Person Affected
One who owns an interest in property that is the subject of an assessment appeal proceeding. An example of a person affected would be one who has paid taxes on property which they do not possess title to.

Personal Property
All tangible property except real property (real estate).

Postponement
A change of a hearing date by the Clerk prior to the commencement of the scheduled hearing. A request for postponement can be made by the Applicant or the Assessor. The "postponement" of a hearing is sometimes referred to as a "continuation" of a hearing.  Refer to Property Tax Rule 323 for additional information.

Proposition 8 or Prop 8 – Decline In Market Value
Proposition 8 requires the County Assessor’s Office to annually enroll either a property’s adjusted base year value (Proposition 13 value) or its current market value, whichever is less. When the current market value replaces the higher Proposition 13 value on the Assessor’s roll, that lower value is commonly referred to as a "Prop 8" value.

Although the annual increase for a Proposition 13  (Prop 13) value is limited to no more than two percent, the same restriction does not apply to values adjusted under Prop 8. The market value of a Prop 8 property is reviewed annually as of January 1; the current market value must be enrolled as long as the Prop 8 value still falls below the Prop 13 value. Thus, any subsequent increase or decrease in market value is enrolled regardless of any percentage increase or decrease. When the current market value of a Prop 8 property exceeds its Prop 13 value (adjusted for inflation), the Assessor’s Office reinstates the Prop 13 value, as described below.

Proposition 13 or Prop 13 – Base Year Value
Proposition 13 was passed in 1978 and established the Base Year Value concept for property tax assessments. Under Proposition 13, the 1975-1976 fiscal year serves as the original base year used in determining the assessment for real property. Thereafter, annual increases to the base year value are limited to the inflation rate, as measured by the California Consumer Price Index, or two percent, whichever is less. However, a new Base Year Value is established whenever a property, or portion thereof, has had a change in ownership or has been newly constructed.

Under Proposition 13, the property tax rate is fixed at one percent of assessed value plus amounts required to repay any assessment bonds approved by the voters.

Real Property
The possession of, claim to, ownership of, or right to the possession of land; all mines, minerals and quarries in the land; and improvements to land. In California property tax law, the term is synonymous with "real estate". For the typical home owner, real property would consist of the land that is owned and any buildings that sit on said land.

Regular Assessment
The value of the subject property as of January 1 of the applicable year. This is either a Factored Base Year Value, assessed under Proposition 13, or Current Market Value under Proposition 8. (See Proposition 8 and Proposition 13)

Residential Property
Property in which persons live or dwell and which is not used for commercial purposes.

SBE or SBOE
See “Board of Equalization”, above.

Secured Property
Property for which property taxes are adequately secured by a lien on real property.

Secured Roll
Part of the assessment roll containing state assessed property and property the taxes on which are a lien on real property sufficient to secure payment of taxes.

Situs
In real estate, the physical location of a property, commonly referred to as its address. For assessment purposes there is only one situs displayed per APN.

Stipulation
A document, which is a mutual agreement to specified terms, such as a value reduction or a rescheduling of a hearing date. A stipulation agreement only becomes valid after all required parties have signed it and the document is received into the possession of the County of Ventura. Stipulations related to an Appeal Application must be received and acknowledged by the County of Ventura Clerk of the Board, or County of Ventura Assessor, prior to a scheduled hearing date. Stipulations received on the date of a scheduled Appeal Hearing, or after the Assessment Appeals Board has taken action on an Appeal Application, are deemed invalid.

Supplemental Assessment
Assessments for events, such as, a change in ownership or completion of new construction, which occur on or after the January 1 lien date resulting in a supplement to the Regular Assessment. These types of events create a new base value. A supplemental assessment has its own tax bill issued outside the regular billing period and becomes a lien on real property as of the date of the reassessable event.

Supplemental Notice
A document used to inform and notify the assessee of a supplemental assessment resulting from either a change in ownership or completed new construction.

Supplemental Roll
The roll prepared or amended in accordance with Proposition 13 containing properties that have had ownership changes or had completed new construction.

Taxable Value
For real property subject to Article XIII A of the California Constitution, the "taxable value" is generally the lesser of (a) the base year value plus the annual inflation factor; or (b) the full cash value as of the current year's lien date. For personal property, the "taxable value" is generally the full cash value for the lien date each year.  

Trade Fixtures
Refer to “Fixtures” above.

Unsecured Account Number
This number is used for Business Personal Property assessments and other unsecured assessments. The APN is followed by a three digit account number making the identification both the Assessor Parcel Number and the account number.

Unsecured Property
Property for which the taxes are not secured by a lien against real property. Consists largely of boats, aircraft, and business property. Unsecured business property is typically owned or leased by someone other than the owner of the Real Property.

Value Notice
The Assessor’s Office will notify property owners of any change in value. The Annual Value Notice is mailed by August 1 for all real property and reflects the value as of January 1 of that year.  It is at the discretion of the Assessor’s Office to determine if they will send value notices in any given year. If the Assessor’s Office notifies the Clerk of the Board that they will be issuing value notices in a given year, then this restricts the Assessment Appeal filing period.  Providing the Annual Value Notice allows the property owner the opportunity to review the value and contact the Assessor’s Office if they have questions and concerns. In addition, this starts the time frame for formal appeals which is from July 2 through September 15 each year.

Value on Roll
The assessed value as it appears on the official County Assessment Roll, as well as the Annual Value notice issued by the Assessor's Office, and the value that the County of Ventura Tax Collector uses in calculating the tax bill.

Waiver to Extend Time for Hearing
A signed waiver is required from the applicant when the applicant, Assessor’s Office, or the Assessment Appeals Board believe it is necessary to extend the time for review of an Assessment Appeal Application by the Assessment Appeals Board beyond the two-year limit from the date the application was originally filed. Section 1604 C (1) provides that the applicant and the Assessment Appeals Board may mutually agree to an extension of time for hearing and determination past the two-year limit.

Withdrawal
A signed document that indicates the applicant will no longer pursue an assessment appeal. This should be executed when an applicant no longer wishes to pursue an appeal or believes that the Assessor’s Valuation is accurate. If the Assessor’s Office has notified the Assessment Appeals Board that they wish to raise the value of a property, and subsequent submissions of a withdrawal will be denied and the assessment appeal will be required to be heard before the Assessment Appeals Board. In Ventura County, if the Assessor’s Office has not issued a notice of intent to raise value, withdrawal submissions will be considered final and cannot be reversed.

Written Findings of Facts
A written document setting forth the Assessment Appeals Board's decision of an assessment appeal. Written Findings of Fact must be requested prior to the commencement of the hearing (such a request may be made by checking the appropriate box on the Assessment Appeal Application) and a fee for such findings must be paid to the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board prior to the conclusion of the hearings. See Services\Fees or contact the Clerk of the Board for current fee rates and payment instructions.

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