Taxes can be hard to understand, but accessing the right information can make them seem less daunting. Los Angeles County has numerous websites at the curious’ disposal, to make sure they have the adequate information they need, and make the right payments on time.
The Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office can be accessed via http://assessor.lacounty.gov/extranet/default.aspx. This office determines the value of property being taxed. They have up-to-date information on the latest legislation, tax forms, and savings programs. Anyone seeking to do new construction, change an address or appeal an assessed property value should do so through the Assessor’s Office. Throughout March of 2013 they will be offering free seminars to business owners on how to properly file the Business Property Statement Form (571-L). Tax payers should make sure to check with the Assessor’s Office to see if their property has decreased in value. If it has, it can mean a lower property tax bill.
Property tax bill payments are made through the Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector. Their website is accessible via http://ttc.lacounty.gov/. Their website allows users to make their tax payments by electronic check, credit or debit cards. Fees are levied for all online payments except electronic check. Even those in defaulted tax status can make their payments online.
All property in Los Angeles is assessed a general 1% tax levy. This 1% tax is used to pay for voter-approved debt. The remaining percentage of the property tax is determined by the tax area within Los Angeles county. The amount will vary depending on the status of bond liabilities for the locality. Each year, Proposition 13 allows for up to a 2% increase in property tax per year. The total tax bill is determined by the net assessed value of the property multiplied by the current tax rate, plus any additional direct assessments. To find out the locality tax rate, contact the Los Angeles County Auditor.
For those who recently purchased or sold property, and did not own it for a full fiscal year, are only liable for taxes during the month that they owned the property. The tax bills should be prorated for the period of ownership. If they are not, be sure to contact Los Angeles County Auditor for help. Typically, in a purchase, sale, or new construction scenario, a supplemental tax bill will be issued. They are issued based on the dates of sale or completion, and up to two supplemental assessments may be made.
Most homeowners with a mortgage do not have to fret much about their property taxes. Their lien-holders typically require payment to cover property taxes as part of the mortgage, and then pay the local authorities. It is the homeowners responsibility to verify these payments were made to by their mortgage company to pay their tax bill, and pay any difference. If a property bill was accidentally paid twice, once by the mortgage company and once by the property owner, a refund can be requested by calling 1-888-807-2111.
The property tax hurdles may seem difficult to understand, but it’s necessary to deal with. Find out the total bill amount based on the local tax area, and make arrangements to submit payment. Don’t forget with the current decline in property values to see if your property has lost value, too, and thus requires a lower tax bill.