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Challenge the Fire Tax

The Union had a fine article on October 15th about the new Cal fire tax, costing most rural homeowners $115 annually. Forever. This is in addition to local property tax assessments for rural fire protection, and is in fact a double tax. A law suit, filed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), charges that this is a tax, not a fee, and therefore needed a two-thirds vote for its adoption in 2011, not the simple majority it received. HJTA also maintains that the tax is invalid under a section of the Public Resources Code. The state website does not clearly indicate how to file a challenge to your fire tax bill, but a website by the HJTA provides clear instructions. Go to http://firetaxprotest.org and click on “Complete Petition.” It is important to pay your tax by the due date to avoid heavy penalties and interest, but if the lawsuit is successful, the “Petition for Redetermination” you file, using the clear guidance from this website, may help assure a refund to you. This petition can be filed even if you have already paid the tax, as long as you file before November 2.

Bob Hren

Nevada City


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