The Santa Clara County Assessor’s Office is offering temporary property tax relief to companies suffering from the pandemic.
“This recession is very different from the Great Recession of 2008, when we reduced the property valuation of 136,000 homes. The 2008 recession was caused by subprime mortgage fraud and excessive risk taking by large financial institutions, ”said assessor Larry Stone. “This time around, companies like hotels, restaurants and retail are the hardest hit. … The Assessor’s Office intends to provide proactivereductions when justified. “
The Assessor’s Office can provide two types of relief to property owners: one for owners of buildings and land and the other for owners of business equipment and machinery.
To help business operators, business owners such as restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, and fitness facilities can submit information about their business equipment. The Assessor’s Office is required by law to evaluate a company’s personal property – such as machine equipment – to a value greater than $ 10,000 as of January 1st.
“Obviously, many companies have suffered from the COVID on-site arrangement and other health restrictions,” he said. “We intend to test possible impairments if the market value of devices and machines has declined.”
To remedy this, the Assessor’s Office must have qualitative evidence to support a reduction. It urges companies to provide information on how long they were closed in 2020 or how long hours of operation were reduced, what may have impacted business income, and the extent to which the use of business equipment has been affected.
Companies are asked to complete the information request using the Assessor’s Office’s online filing system at efile.sccassessor.org. Businesses must file their personal business ownership declarations by April 1st. May 7th is the deadline for submitting submissions without penalty.
Upon entering the system, companies will have the option to complete a questionnaire about the impact of COVID-19 / Shelter-in-Place orders on business operations at each location where a Business Ownership Declaration (571-L) has been submitted. Upon completion, a business will move on to the regular e-filing site.
In January, the Assessor’s Office asked commercial property owners to notify the office if the market value of their property fell below its estimated value as of January 1.
“Hundreds of property owners requested discounts, and our reviewers evaluate every request,” said Stone. “We plan to look into as many inquiries as possible by June, when owners receive the annual estimated value notification.”
While commercial property owners – land and buildings – have been asked to provide data by February 26th, the assessor’s office continues to accept data through August 1st.
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