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Latest news and updates from Southern Marin Fire Protection District.

Questions about your tax bill?

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Questions about your tax bill?

A number of people have been calling us with questions about the parcel/unit tax on their tax bill.

There is a new charge for $45 or $90 on my tax bill

In 1996 and 1997 residents of the former Alto-Richardson Bay and Tamalpais Fire Protection Districts voted to implement a parcel/unit tax to make up for local property taxes that were shifted to the State to augment education. With the consolidation of those two Districts, these taxes are now charged by the Southern Marin Fire Protection District. That tax provides for the District to charge up $90.00 per unit on an improved parcel, $45.00 per unimproved parcel and up to $.012 per square foot on commercial buildings.

After a number of school districts were found to be charging floating homes and mobile homes inappropriately, the County Assessor’s Office asked that all districts review their taxes with their legal counsel to make certain that they were charging appropriately.

Through an audit of our tax rolls and advice of our legal counsel (Marin County Counsel’s Office), we determined that we were actually undercharging a number of home or land owners. These generally fell into the four categories below.

Senior Exemption

A number of taxpayers were receiving a senior exemption based on a benefit assessment fee that had a senior exemption clause that one of the predecessor districts had charged from roughly 1987 to 1996. Neither of the tax measures passed in 1996 or 1997 had a senior exemption clause. The Marin County Counsel’s Office concluded that we must charge senior property owners the same as other property owners.

Undeveloped parcel adjacent to a home

The District had allowed homeowners who had a smaller undeveloped parcel as part of their primary property to pay only the primary property tax assessment. Our legal counsel determined that there is no authority for the District to grant any exemptions for any unimproved parcels. However, homeowners may legally combine their parcels through the County Assessor’s Office to avoid paying for the second parcel.

Undeveloped parcel(s) owned by a home owners or condominium association

The District had allowed exemptions for common land around condominiums or land owned by homeowner’s associations.  Again, our legal counsel determined that there is no authority for the District to grant any exemptions for any unimproved parcels.

Newly Developed Parcels

There were a small number of newly developed parcels paying the unimproved parcel rate.   

If you have any further questions, you may contact Susan Kim, Administrative Services Manager or Jim Irving, Fire Chief at 388-8182.