Penngrove family may face hundreds of thousands in income taxes; property tax doubles

Last year, the Pope family got an "Extreme Makeover" of their aging Penngrove house worth an estimated $1.5 million.

Now they are facing an extreme tax bill.

Their property tax doubled to $6,500 a year, and private tax experts say the family also might face six-figure income tax bills.

For the Popes, who live on a modest income, it's a frightening possibility.

"This is very scary for us," Caroline Pope said. "What if this house gets taken away?"

They are dipping into their small savings to pay the higher property taxes, she said.

As for income taxes, federal and state tax officials say they've made no determination about what tax liability "Extreme Makeover" families may face.

However, several private tax experts said there is a significant chance the families will have to pay federal and state income tax on what they received from ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

The show, which premiered in December 2003, remodeled the homes of 31 families, 21 of them from California, during its first two seasons.

In July, while the Popes enjoyed a vacation in Washington, D.C., Endemol Productions, the show's producers, demolished most of their 100-year-old farmhouse and rebuilt it as an elegant country mansion, aided by about 70 local companies and 1,500 volunteers.

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