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Larry Ellison pockets $3 million in tax reassessment


How can you profit from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's amazing eccentricity? Hint: the answer is not buying Oracle stock. Nope. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Ellison recently successfully gained a reassessment in the property taxes for his enormous Japanese-style home in Woodside, California. And you can too!

Ok, so you probably didn't spend so outrageously much on your home (for Larry, $12 million for the land and another $200 million to build his Japanese-style seven-bedroom palace complete with separate tea house, bath house, and waterfalls; Luxist had details on all Larry's real estate ventures). And you probably won't register a $3 million refund. But you might be able to get back a few hundred dollars, if you feel your home's worth has been set at the market's peak, while your income is slightly more down-market. And remember, as Tracy Coenen posted, you have rights as a taxpayer!

So, how was Ellison able to justify the reassessment?

His attorneys argued that the home suffered from "significant functional obsolescence" -- a nice (ish) way of saying that Ellison's taste is highly eccentric and that no one else would pay even half as much to take the odd, expensive estate off his hands. While it's unlikely you've built a waterfall on your own property, you might argue that your unusual taste in paint color, or 12' chain link fence, or even your choice to turn the lawns into vegetable gardens (a move I'm making in my own home but isn't exactly conventional) will make the home hard to resell. Another option would be to simply argue that the market value in your neighborhood is artificially high after a few sales at the top of the real estate bubble.

Have you had a successful reassessment? How much did you save? Let us know!

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