Property taxes are on the minds of many Southwest Riverside County property owners as the first installment of taxes are currently due and will be considered late after Dec. 10.
In some areas of Southwest Riverside County, property values have seen an increase, including Canyon Lake, Hemet and Temecula.
Other areas have seen a decrease, such as Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta, Perris, San Jacinto and Wildomar. Overall, 12 of the 28 cities in Riverside County saw some increase in their assessed value.
“This year there was an overall decrease by about a half percent, so it was pretty stagnant considering we had increases over the last few years,” said Michele Martinez, principal auditor/appraiser with the Riverside County assessor’s office said of property values in Riverside County. “We attribute that to a stabilization of the market overall for the county as of Jan. 1.”
Last year’s property values in Riverside County were more stable than they have been in more than four years, which may mean the county is at the beginning of a slow rebound toward a normalized real estate market.
Some cities and unincorporated areas saw a greater decrease or increase, but when viewing the average from the county, the numbers are pretty stable, Martinez said.
The numbers posted on the county assessor’s office reflect last year’s rates. Home value assessments for 2012 will begin in January and the new report will be release in July, 2013.
Questions on property taxes should go to the correct county office. Often, property owners may see special assessments levied by other government entities, such as a school district, water companies or code enforcement, which may lead to questions. Questions about bills, assessed values that may seem too high or two low or the tax rate will go to different offices.
The Riverside County Assessor office is charged with valuing the properties. When that task is completed, the Riverside County Auditor-Controller office sets the tax rate, which is typically approximately 1.25 percent of the assessed property value. The Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office issues the bills and accepts payments.
So, questions on assessed values should go to the Riverside County Assessor. Questions about the tax rate levied on the assessed value should go to the Riverside County Auditor-Controller office. Questions about a property tax bill, ways to pay or issues with payment should be addressed by the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office.
“The Riverside County Property Tax Portal has a lot of information on all three county offices,” Martinez said.
The website includes general information, property tax payment information and a section on frequently asked questions, which may answer a lot of basic questions property owners may have.
Jennifer Dean is a local writer and regular contributor to SWRNN.