Q: Is it necessary to file an Assessment Appeals Form if you have submitted a claim for Refund of Taxes?

A: We don't know for certain, yet.  The safest thing to do until the court determines whether it is necessary, is for a taxpayer to file an application with the AAB every year between July 2 and September 15.  We recommend that the taxpayer simply agree to extend the time within which the AAB must act on a given application (2 years from date of filing), and not try to fight the case themselves.
If, in any year between 1996 and 2002 the taxpayer did not file an application in the AAB, then the only remaining option is to file a claim for refund with the County Board of Supervisors for those years.

Q: Who is eligible for a refund?

A: Anybody who has had an assessment increase of their property of more than 2% per year in the last four years if not due to a change of ownership or new construction on the property.

*Change of Ownership: when there is a transfer of a property, including the transfer of the right to beneficial use thereof. This includes transfers that are voluntary, involuntary, by operation of law, by grant, gift, devise, inheritance, trust, contract of sale, addition or deletion of an owner, or property settlement.

*New Construction: (1) any substantial addition to land or buildings so as to add horizontally or vertically to its square footage. (2) any substantial physical alteration of land which constitutes a major rehabilitation of the land or results in a change in the way the property is used.

**Exclusion: "New construction" will not pertain to any reconstruction of the property due to damage or destruction by misfortune or calamity, where the property after reconstruction is substantially equivalent to the property prior to the damage or destruction.

Q: Will anybody be contacting me to inform me that I am eligible to receive a refund?

A: Unlikely.


Q: Am I eligible for a refund even if I have sold the property?

A: Yes, for years prior to the change in ownership where the property was assessed

greater than the allowed 2% increase.


Q: Do I have to file a claim to get a refund?

A: Yes.


Q: How long do I have to file my claim for refund?

A: Four years from the payment of contested tax.


Q: Do I need to file just one claim?

A: You should file a claim for each contested tax year.


Q: Is there a fee for filing a claim for refund?

A: No.


Q: I filed a claim. What do I have to do now?

A: Be patient. This is a long process with no definite time frame. Please visit our

website periodically for any new developments or more information. We will also be

contacting you with more information.


Q: Will interest be paid on the refund?

A: Yes.


Q: What if the person who originally paid the tax is now deceased?

A: The estate or inherited party will be responsible for filing a claim and will be entitled

to any refund.


Q: What is a class action lawsuit?

A: A case brought by one or more persons on behalf of a much larger group of

individuals, all of whom have the same issue.


Q: Do I have to participate in the class action lawsuit to get a refund?

A: No, however the filing of an individual claim may not be processed in a timely

manner, and the claim may be denied by the county, which will force you to file a suit

on the denial within a statutorily-defined period.


Q: How do I become a part of the class action lawsuit?

A: File a claim for refund to your respective county, and send a copy of your claim to our office. We will contact you to determine if you are interested in participating in

the lawsuit and if you agree to retain Gangloff, Gangloff, and Pool as your

representative attorneys in this case.


Q: Is there a charge to me for participating in the class action lawsuit?

A: There is only a charge to you if a refund is received or tax is credited. Gangloff,

Gangloff, and Pool will charge 20% of your refund or credit for their fees.

Q: Since the claim for refund can apply for the prior four years, will I owe you anything for any future years’ savings?

A: No, our fee will be only apply to the current year’s refund in which the suit is settled and refunds for prior years..

Q: If a person is to file claims to recover the excess taxes in the past. How does one go about getting the assessed value back to what it should be? Or is it part of the refund process?

A: Although it has not been ordered by the court yet, in the on-going lawsuit against the County of Orange we hope to compel the County to lower the assessment of all affected property owners whose assessments were illegally increased more than 2 percent in one or more years. So, to answer your question directly, file your claim for refund of taxes (be sure to file one claim for each tax year that is affected), and when the litigation is concluded (assuming we win), your assessment should be rolled back automatically to where it should have been.