In another sign that the economy is taking a long time to rebound, a staggering 6,462 residential property owners in San Francisco applied for temporary property tax breaks this year, The San Francisco “City Insider” reported this month.

If granted, the reductions will kick in next year.

In all, 11,700 San Francisco homeowners have received temporary property tax reductions in the current fiscal years that ends June 30; some at the request of the property owners, others at the initiation of the assessor’s office. The cumulative total in reduced assessed value added up to $1.4 billion.

Last year, San Francisco reported 4,421 informal reviews were requested. The year before 1,673 were filed. Go back three years and the number was a mere 248.

These property owners in San Fran have the right idea. They can get a temporary reduction in their property taxes if the current market value is found to be lower than the assessed value.

However, while that can be good news for homeowners, it can be bad news for the city, which relies on property tax revenue to help fund Muni, police patrols, street repair, park upkeep, health clinics and other city services.

Those who received a temporary reduction last year will automatically have the assessed value of their homes reviewed again this year. Property owners will be notified by early August whether their request has been approved.

The “City Insider” attributed part of the reason for the bump to a simplified application process in the city of San Francisco. The lousy economy, however, is the driving force. The ongoing trend of increased informal reviews represents the obvious downturn in the real estate market.

San Francisco is not the only city this could be done. InvestorCompsOnline suggest you check out your local assessor and request a BREAK!

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