Tax advice for LA County

The LA county Property Tax system is comprised of 3 different departments. The first is the Assessor and he is responsible for determining the value of the property, as well as any exemptions allowed by law, which he then places on the “Assessment Roll”. The Audit-Controller then applies any necessary amendments, such as general levy (1%) and debt service rates, to make the Extended Assessment Roll. This roll is then sent to the Treasurer and Tax Collector, who then mail it to property owners.

tax11There are many things to consider when purchasing a property and unfortunately, taxation is one of them. If you have just purchased your property and you are a new home owner there are two main tax systems you need to be aware of. First, there are Annual Property Taxes which are paid each year in two installments  The deadline for the first installment is the 10th of December and for the second April 10th. Those dates are for the postmarks on the mail you send, giving you a few days extra if the postal service is delayed. It is important to make sure no tax bills are due and it is entirely your responsibility to find out. Even if you don’t receive a bill, you are required by law to pay any due taxes. Also, you may be entitled to a $70 exemption on your annual bill if this is your main place of residence. The second tax is known as Supplemental Property Tax and is calculated by splitting the difference between the old and new value of the property purchased. The new value is usually the purchase price and if the difference shows a decrease in property value, there will be a tax refund to the owners. Again it is your responsibility to acquire this information, which can usually be found on the LA tax website. There are some exceptions to this if the property was transferred between family members which your tax office can clarify for you.

For new business owners they will receive something called a Business Property Statement in the mail once a year. If the value of your property and fixtures exceeds $100,000 then you are required by law to fill this form in and return it by April 1st. If they haven’t been received by May 7th a 10% charge will be added to the bill. The types of property that are included in this statement are: computers, telephones, machinery, fax machines, photocopiers and various other business accessories. For businesses that fall below the $100,000 limit, they do not need to fill in the statement. They are usually assessed by either an initial Property Statement or by on-site evaluation, which could vary each year.

Certain types of property such as boats, jet skis and leased equipment are considered to be unsecured taxes because they are not real property (such as land). These assets are assessed on their value and the owner is liable for the tax bill.

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