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California Bill Proposes More Red Tape

by Scott Donald, Irvine, September 2012

An Assembly Bill making its way through the California Legislature seeks to add more administrative regulations to the property tax consultant industry.


Analysts say if approved, the measure will prove costly for counties, tax consultant firms, and ultimately property owners who use the services of tax agents.


Redundant Regulation


AB 404 requires property tax agents to register annually and file quarterly reports with counties that regulate lobbying before the Board of Supervisors. At this time, counties with lobbyist laws that are subjected to this proposed legislation are:


  • Los Angeles

  • Orange

  • San Diego

  • San Francisco

  • Santa Clara

  • Santa Cruz


The author of AB 404 argues that the measure is necessary to ensure that officials know who represents a particular taxpayer before the County Assessor and the County Assessment Appeals Board.


However, Board of Equalization Property Tax Rule 305 already provides for this disclosure. It requires the agent's authorization to represent the taxpayer be filed in writing with all appeal applications.


A Costly Proposal


The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials (CACEO) predicts that AB 404 will cost the County of Los Angeles $612,000 in implementation costs. Other large counties can expect similar outlays.


Also, since AB 404 requires agents to pay a fee in each major county where they are registered, the added costs could be passed on to property owners who employ them.


The Good News


There are some good points to AB 404. It outlaws political contributions to assessing officials, which all ethical tax consultant companies support. And it upholds contingency fees for property tax services, which serve as a benefit to taxpayers.


Share Your Opinion


If you would like to make your opinions known about AB 404, see the box for a list of contacts in the California Legislature.



Capitol Phone and Fax Numbers

Ron Calderon (D-Montebello)

Phone: (916) 651-4030

Fax: (916) 327-8755

Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)

Phone: (916) 651-4028

Fax: (916) 323-6056

Juan Vargas (D-San Diego)

Phone: (916) 651-4040

Fax: (916) 327-3522

Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino)

Phone: (916) 651-4032

Fax: (916) 445-0128

Rod Wright (D-LA)

Phone: (916) 651-4025

Fax: (916) 445-3712

Alex Padilla (D-LA)

Phone: (916) 651-4020

Fax: (916) 324-6645

Leland Yee (D-SF)

Phone: (916) 651-4008

Fax: (916) 327-2186

Curren Price (D-LA)

Phone: (916) 651-4026

Fax: (916) 445-8899

Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana)

Phone: (916) 651-4034

Fax: (916) 323-2323

Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield)

Phone: (916) 651-4016

Fax: (916) 327-5989

Ed Hernandez (D-La Puente)

Phone: (916) 651-4024

Fax: (916) 445-0485