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Tax info; confidential?

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Flygirl 152

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Senior Member
Joined
May 3, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Hope everyones New Year is off to a great start.

When I called the planning department to verify zoning on the assignment I am working on, I also asked if they could verify the tax amount since that number appeared to be incorrect on the country records. They then transferred me to the assessors office.

I explained to the assessor that it appeared that there is a mistake on the county records since the tax amount given is reflecting the value of the land as if vacant, and that I had just been out to the property and know that there is a structure on the land.

The assessor verified that since the subdivision was less than two years old, they had not in-put the data yet for the entire neighborhood, and supplied me with the correct taxes for my report. However, when he did that he told me that the value included the penalty for the delinquent taxes, and that the owners have not yet paid their last tax bill despite notices/warnings that have been sent to them.

Since the appraisal is for asset valuation, and the bank is contemplating possible foreclosure on the owner, this would make sense. So my question is, would you disclose what the assessor told you in the report, or is that considered confidential information that shouldn't have been disclosed to me in the first place?

Thanks for your time in reading this, and your responses.
 

hastalavista

Elite Member
Joined
May 16, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Hope everyones New Year is off to a great start.

When I called the planning department to verify zoning on the assignment I am working on, I also asked if they could verify the tax amount since that number appeared to be incorrect on the country records. They then transferred me to the assessors office.

I explained to the assessor that it appeared that there is a mistake on the county records since the tax amount given is reflecting the value of the land as if vacant, and that I had just been out to the property and know that there is a structure on the land.

The assessor verified that since the subdivision was less than two years old, they had not in-put the data yet for the entire neighborhood, and supplied me with the correct taxes for my report. However, when he did that he told me that the value included the penalty for the delinquent taxes, and that the owners have not yet paid their last tax bill despite notices/warnings that have been sent to them.

Since the appraisal is for asset valuation, and the bank is contemplating possible foreclosure on the owner, this would make sense. So my question is, would you disclose what the assessor told you in the report, or is that considered confidential information that shouldn't have been disclosed to me in the first place?

Thanks for your time in reading this, and your responses.

Hey, Deb, Happy New Year!

I think that since you verified this information with a public official/employee, and since he or she didn't tell you it was privileged or confidential, that you can consider it publicly available information and use whatever part of it you want in the report.

Good luck!
 

Flygirl 152

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
May 3, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Thanks Denis for your reply and advise. I think the client will appreciate knowing that information, and feel it is relevant to the purpose of the appraisal.
 

David Wimpelberg

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Joined
Mar 30, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New York
Ditto Denis. There's nothing confidential about a public employee revealing public information.

BTW, I'm surprised the tax are delinquent. Most lenders will pay the taxes on the property to avoid the situation of the property being seized for nonpayment of taxes.
 

tjcou812

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Connecticut
I wonder if the town put a tax lien on the property. I would check the clerks office to see if one was filed. If there is one then you can consider it public information.
 

Chris Colston

Elite Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2003
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Ditto Denis. There's nothing confidential about a public employee revealing public information.

BTW, I'm surprised the tax are delinquent. Most lenders will pay the taxes on the property to avoid the situation of the property being seized for nonpayment of taxes.

In the recent past, the sub-prime lenders were NOT including the property taxes or the insurance. That is another reason so many are now in trouble and headed for foreclosure...unpaid property taxes. The borrower gets lulled in by the low monthly payment only to get hit smack between the eyes by the tax assessor. m2: I found out on my own house when I received the notice of a sale of the tax certificate. That's how I learned the sub-prime lenders did not have to offer an escrow account. Scary stuff if you don't have the money to pay the taxes all at once.
 

David Wimpelberg

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 30, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New York
In the recent past, the sub-prime lenders were NOT including the property taxes or the insurance.

I knew some lenders didn't pay things like RE taxes in the past (decades ago), but supposedly the lenders kept an eye on it. If the homeowner didn't pay, then the lender would call the homeowner and notify them that taxes had to be paid to the tax receiver.

If subprime lenders really did that, they're crazy. If the mortgagee loses the home, the lender risks taking a loss.
 

Brad Ellis

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Deb,

Since the appraisal is for asset valuation, and the bank is contemplating possible foreclosure on the owner, this would make sense. So my question is, would you disclose what the assessor told you in the report, or is that considered confidential information that shouldn't have been disclosed to me in the first place?

Information available from another source precludes it from being confidential.

Brad
 

Mike Boyd

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
California
Ditto Denis. There's nothing confidential about a public employee revealing public information.

BTW, I'm surprised the tax are delinquent. Most lenders will pay the taxes on the property to avoid the situation of the property being seized for nonpayment of taxes.

In CA you have years before this happens.

Undoubtedly, the lender will have ordered a title report which would disclose the unpaid taxes. So, they would likely already know this. If you choose to include the information in the report, make sure you give credit for the information to the assessor's office. Those delinquent taxes might have been paid 5 minutes ago and that specific individual may not know it.
 

lizhorvath

Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2003
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
In Michigan, that information is public record and delinquent tax info is available for most municipalities (the ones that stepped into the 80's anyhow) online.
Nothing secret about a property being over due on taxes!
 
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