Mountain Property Owners: Very Important Fire Tax Information You Need to Read!

scales of justiceJoin Assemblyman Jay Obernolte and State Senator Mike Morrell on Saturday, April 11 to find out more about the latest Calfire fire tax news and how this might affect you or your neighbors and their property.

This event, at the Tudor House in Lake Arrowhead, will begin at 9 a.m. and end an hour later. The Tudor House is located at 800 Arrowhead Villas Road, which is off Hwy. 18.

For information call (760) 244-5277.

This controversial fee was instigated several years ago as a way to help extend funding to CalFire. However, the mountain “firestorm” of unhappy mountain residents affected by the fee are unhappy as they feel the tax is double taxation because they are already paying for fire protection through their property taxes.

This event, sponsored by Assemblyman Obernolte, should be very interesting for several reasons. It is a local gathering and many of the people who feel they are being double taxed live in the mountain communities and already pay taxes toward fire prevention and services through their property taxes. When this fee was approved by CalFire in ?????/ the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association filed a lawsuit against the state for “double taxation” and that lawsuit is still making its way through the courts.

Until (and if) the fee is reversed residents must continue paying. However here is some information from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association you may want to read!

“A new round of fire tax bills are on their way,with counties beginning with the letter “A” receiving the bills first. It is important that you file a protest every time you pay the  fire tax so that you maximize your chances of receiving a refund if the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s class action lawsuit currently underway is successful.

Although the taxpayer’s lawsuit is moving forward slowly, partly as a result of its size and complexity and partly as a result of deliberate stalling by the state’s attorneys, another hearing has been scheduled and the public is invited to attend.

The hearing is on their “Motion to Certify Class” which establishes your right to be represented in this case. If you are interested in attending the hearing it will be held June 12 at 11 a.m. in Department 24 of the Sacramento Superior court. The courthouse is located at 720 9th Street.

To challenge the fee and claim a refund you must pay your bill. Pay close attention to the due date because you (as a property owner) may have fewer than 30 days to pay. If you are late, steep penalties and interest are compounded monthly. Moreover, the fee is a lien on your property and failure to pay can result in foreclosure of your property.

According to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association this fee is really an illegal tax under Proposition 13. The organization will challenge the constitutionality of this tax in court. If they prevail,, the court may order refunds. To qualify for a refund you must have paid your bill and filed a “Petition for Redetermination” with the responsible agencies.

When you pay your fee, the association recommends that everyone write “under protest” on the notation line of their check. Also, they suggest people make a copy of the check so that they can enclose it with their Petition for Redetermination form, as proof of their payment. Although only one address appears at the bottom of the form, state law actually requires that you submit the form to three different addresses. You must submit it within 30 days of the date of your bill to the three addresses below: (1): Fire Prevention Petitions, P.O. Box 2254, Suisun City, California, 94585; (2) Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, Post Office Box 944246, Sacramento, California 94244; and (3); Board of Equalization, Post Office Box 942879, Sacramento, California 94279.

P.S. A big thank you to Laura Dyberg for some of this important information!

 

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