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Call Kurtis: Homeowners Shocked by Years of Back Taxes

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FOLSOM (CBS13) — Slammed with thousands of dollars in back tax bills, a group of Folsom homeowners called Kurtis Ming after learning their homes weren’t taxed properly for the past three years.

They paid their property tax bills every year.  But now, they’re on the hook for $4,000 or $5,000.  Sacramento County admits it undertaxed them for years.

“Anger,  just because we were completely blindsided by it,” said Preston Daniels.

He says he was blindsided by supplemental property tax bills he and a group of neighbors received that go back three years.

Sacramento County is telling them they were only taxed on the value of the land, and not the improvements, their homes, which were built in 2010.

“Did you think I was camping here? Did you think it was out of the trees? What did you think I was doing for the last three years, because I’m not much of a camper,” said homeowner, Linda Lavin.

Jokes aside, they’re all facing some pretty serious bills from the county.  From Lavin’s $5,400, to Preston and Amanda Daniels’ $5,500, and Kacy Fagan’s $4,000.  And she’s planning a wedding.

“We had put a deposits down on the things, the venues and everything that goes on for a wedding, here comes this bill,” said Fagan.

We asked them why they didn’t they notice their assessed values were low on the bill.

“I did look at it and as a first time homebuyer, went, ‘Wow, I’m really under water,'” said Lavin.

Some of them had mortgage companies paying their tax bills out of escrow accounts.

“These people did nothing wrong,” said Sacramento County Assessor Kathleen Kelleher.

Kelleher blames a computer glitch.  “We had completed the appraisals and in the transfer of the data to the billing process, they didn’t make it into the billing process.”

Despite the glitch on their end, Kelleher says 28 property owners still must pay the back taxes.

“I think that these people have a right to be upset,” said Kelleher.

“It was a three-year mistake for the Assessor’s office.  I believe that they should allow us to have three years to pay it back,” said Daniels.

After we got involved, the County’s Tax Collector’s Office said it will now allow a four-year payment plan; 20% down and 20% every year for four more years.

The homeowners we spoke with are now realizing they can’t trust the property tax bill they receive is accurate.

“Even if it says your mortgage company is making this payment for you, read it line by line,” said Daniels.

The Assessor’s office says whether you pay your tax bill or your mortgage company pays it for you, take a look at your bill.  Check out the total assessed value.  It should look like a number somewhere around your purchase price, plus two percent a year.  With the slumping housing costs a few years ago, those costs would have been adjusted to reflect the market.

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