Greenspan v. County of Los Angeles

Facts: A property owner demolishes the improvements on the property and constructs replacement improvements. The county assessor reassesses the property. The county assessor transfers the existing assessed value of the now demolished improvement to the assessed value of the land thus allocating all the existing assessed value to the land. The new improvements are assessed at their current value. The assessor relies on a county policy which reassesses the property’s total assessed value to land value when the property is demolished within two years of the purchase date. The property owner pays taxes on the assessor’s property value and makes a demand on the county to refund for overpayment of property taxes.

Claim: The owner claims the county assessor failed to accurately calculate the assessed value of their property since the assessor is required to set a new base-year assessed value for their additional property improvements rather than reassess the property’s existing assessed value of both land and improvements.

Counterclaim: The county assessor claims the property owner is not entitled to a refund as they accurately assessed the value of the property since the property owner substantially renovated their property within two years of purchase.

Holding: A California appeals court holds the property owner is entitled to a refund of the excess property taxes paid and the county assessor is to correct their assessment limited to a new base year for only the improvements  since they over-assessed the value of the improvement by transferring the original assessed value of the demolished improvements to land value when they set a new base-year value for the improvements. [Greenspan v. County of Los Angeles (2023) 98 CA5th 135]

Greenspan v. County of Los Angeles

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