Cal Fire fee bills are due to be mailed to El Dorado County property owners starting the first week of September. Below is useful information to help you understand and deal with the new fee:
• Check your Cal Fire Fee bill for accuracy.
• If you were not the owner of the property on July 1, 2011, file a protest and submit copies of the closing statement or grant deed as documentation. If your property is located in the city of Placerville, or the city of South Lake Tahoe and you receive a bill, file a protest and attach a copy of your Property Tax bill as documentation. Highlight the TRA field on your bill (property in the city of Placerville TRAs start with 001, South Lake Tahoe with 002). If your property is located in a Federal Responsibility Area (FRA) and you receive a bill, file a protest and attach a copy of your lease.
• If the number of habitable structures is wrong, file a protest and explain why the number is wrong. You may need to contact the assessor if your property records are incorrect. To see the assessor’s online property information, go to edcgov.us/Assessor. Click the “On Line Property Information” link on the left. Enter your APN and check the total units shown in the “Property Characteristics” section. If the total units are correct, file a protest and attach the assessor’s property information as documentation.
• If your property is located within the boundary of a local agency that provides fire protection and you do not get the $35 discount, go to edcgov.us/Assessor. Click the “On Line Property Information” link on the left. Enter you APN and highlight the fire protection district. File a protest and submit the assessor’s property information as documentation. If no fire protection district is listed, contact the fire district you believe provides protection and obtain the documentation to submit with your protest.
• Do not mail your protest and your payment together. Make sure you follow the directions for each item. If you protest, you will receive a notice with the decision within 60 days. If your protest is denied and you have not paid the bill, penalties may be applied.
• If your bill is accurate, it must be paid within 30 days from the notice date or a 20 percent penalty and interest will accrue.
• Make copies for your own records.
• Write “Paid in Protest” on the bill and the check. This may be important if the courts order refunds.
• The official Cal Fire Website for obtaining a protest form and other information is: firepreventionfee.org.
• The protest Website sponsored by State Board of Equalization member George Runner is: calfirefee.com.
• If you do not have access to the Internet, contact the El Dorado County Assessor for assistance. The main office is located at 360 Fair lane in Placerville and office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and the phone is 530-621-5719. In South Lake Tahoe the office is at 3368 Lake Tahoe Blvd, Suite 103, and the phone number is 530-573-3422.
The above information is provided by Karl Weiland, El Dorado County Assessor.