Using a Real Estate Lawyer to File a Tax Appeal
I am a homeowner in the county of Los Angeles, California and am concerned that I am not paying the correct amount of property taxes on my owner-occupied residence. Here is my reason for concern.
Back in November 2004, I was approved for a partial reassessment exclusion benefit of 50% due to Proposition 58 (I have the signed document in hand). However since that time, I have done a refinance and a loan modification and I am curious to know if I am currently being charged the correct amount of property taxes especially over the past 6 years with my 50% reduction rate.
Also, the reason why I only was granted 50% was due to the fact that my aunt had to co-sign my initial purchase of the residence from my
parents, however upon the refinance, I became sole individual on the
deed/note. Does that grant me 100% of the exclusion benefit under Prop
58? I never refiled another claim for Prop 58. What do you think of this
situation and what's your recommendation?
After speaking with a lawyer, this is what I was told:
"There are several obstacles we will have to address in your case. First, can we establish that your aunt was not really on title as to an equitable interest in the property? Secondly, there is a four-year statute of limitations that could limit any refund to 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Third, is the second transfer, (January 2006), a reappraisable event?
Refunds could amount to approximately $3,000 per year if we win all of our arguments. My fee would be 40% of all refunds, less the original $500 retainer. I invoice after you have received your refunds. If I am not able to get the reappraisal reversed, the only fee would be the $500 retainer which is non-refundable."
Does anyone here have any suggestions or recommendations I should take into account? Does this advice seem accurate or is he overcharging? 40% seems a bit excessive in my opinion, however I have never had to work lawyer before.
Thank you in advance for your time and help with this issue.