A Proposal to Address the Improper and Unreasonable Fees Imposed by California Counties on Taxpayers When Exercising Their Rights to Appeal Assessed Property Taxes1
By Christina K. Harper2 & Colin W. Fraser3 4
California taxpayers face an ever-increasing array of fees in order to assert their rights to appeal property tax assessments. The fees vary from county to county, but the most widespread, expensive, and unreasonable fees currently imposed are fees for filing assessment appeal applications ("filing fees"), fees to receive a hearing before the local assessment appeal board ("hearing fees"), and fees to obtain written findings of fact explaining the board’s decision in a case ("findings of fact fees"). These fees are imposed without authority, against clear legislative intent, and contrary to protections enshrined within the California Constitution. It is time for the Legislature or the State Board of Equalization to address this as an issue of fundamental fairness and establish uniform statutes and rules governing these fees.