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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I had a letter hand-delivered two days ago and left in my door

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I had a letter hand-delivered two days ago and left in my door from the Riverside County Treasurer. Inside I found that I owe property tax on my mobile home for the last 7 years. The total comes to almost 15,000 dollars. Half of which is fines. I was never sent a letter before and thought the taxes were paid by my rooom mate who owned our home. He died two years ago and left it to me. I can't afford to pay such a large amount, and the letter said if I don't pay it by next Thursday, I will be fined an additonal 890.00. So, out of the blue I get this letter find out I now owe a big tax bill, and they want payment within a week or they will levy more fines. What do I do? Is there a way to reduce the overall amount, so I can just pay it in one payment? I an borrow money from my mother, but I was hoping I could reduce the amount to maybe half. You see, half of the bill is fines and fees for being late. Again, I want to stress that I never recieved a bill until 2 days ago. If I had I would have taken care of this each year.
Thank you for using our service. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I would like to assist you today.

I am sorry to learn of this situation, and I hope that I can be of some assistance. The tax code here is somewhat complex, but there are several websites that explain your rights and procedures to get some relief from the tax liability against your property. Several of the sites are from counties other than Riverside, but the authority is California statutes and codes so the difference will be the Riverside procedural process (meaning you will have to contact them directly - they will at a minimum give you directions to get the procedural information you need.

The short answer is: (1) you can apply for a reduction in the late fees and penalties, the County has no duty to give you such a reduction, it is done on a discretionary basis, but it is possible; and, (2) you have a right to institute a 5 year payment plan. The plan has very specific requirements, but you can spread out payments for this liability.

Here is information regarding the statutory authority allowing the County to reduce or eliminate late fees following an appeal by the property owner:
http://www.kcttc.co.kern.ca.us/index.cfm?fuseaction=kcttcinternet.showPenaltyWaiverPolicy

Here are two websites which give detailed information on the requirements to set up a payment plan in California (the second one in particular has greater detail on how to set up an account):
https://www.countytreasurer.org/TaxCollector/PropertyTaxFrequentlyAskedQuestions/DelinquentPropertyTaxesFAQ.aspx
https://www.countytreasurer.org/TaxCollector/PropertyTaxFrequentlyAskedQuestions/InstallmentPaymentPlanFAQ.aspx

I hope the above is helpful, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to let me know and I will follow up quickly.

Thank you for using our service, please do not forget to rate my answer when you are satisfied. I do wish you the best of luck in this matter.
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