San Francisco Tax Preparation / CPA: CA – Remand to reduce assessed value did not warrant award of attorney fees

Filed in CCH NEWS FEED by on February 27, 2021

A California trial court’s postjudgment order awarding attorney fees to a taxpayer who successfully contested the property tax valuation of his property was reversed because the trial court had remanded the matter to reduce the assessed value and not to make new findings concerning the property’s value. In this matter, the trial court remanded the matter to the County Assessment Appeals Board (Board) to reduce the assessed value of the taxpayer’s property and to correct the tax roll. Later, the trial court awarded attorney fees under Revenue and Taxation Code section 1611.6 to the taxpayer. The County argued the taxpayer was not entitled to the attorney fees. The Court of Appeals noted that a property owner may recover attorney fees if the Board fails to make requested findings, or the lower court concludes that the Board’s findings are deficient and remands the matter with directions for the Board to make findings that fairly disclose its determination on the point at issue. However, the Court of Appeals found that neither of the circumstances existed in this case because the Board only needed to make a simple mathematical deduction from the property’s assessment and make necessary corrections to the tax roll. Therefore, the trial court erred in awarding attorney fees to the taxpayer. Chinese Theatres, LLC v. County of Los Angeles, Court of Appeal of California, Second District, No. B302708, January 4, 2021

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