Property Tax FAQs

1.

Can my property taxes change from year to year?

Yes, Proposition 13 allows for an increase up to 2% of the properties assessed value each year. In addition, the tax rate in your area can change as new bonds are added or decrease as bonds are paid off. Direct assessments can also cause an increase or decrease as they are added or removed.

2.

Can my refund be applied to my next tax bill?

No, we have no provisions or system support to do this.

3.

Does the Agency automatically receive Tax Increment (TI) revenue for a redevelopment project area?

The Agency can only receive annual TI revenue by submitting an SOI to the County Auditor- Controller Office by October 1 of each year demonstrating that the project areas is obligated to indebtedness. Debt includes the sale of bonds, the receipt of loans or advances of funds, the financial obligation to pay the cost of a project, or other obligations of the law.

4.

How are the tax rates determined?

A tax rate includes a general 1% tax levy applicable to all bills, voter approved (pre-Proposition 13) special taxes, and voter approved debt issues for your particular area. The general tax levy is based on state law and is limited to 1% of assessed value ($1 per $100 of assessed value). The tax rates for voter-approved debt are computed each year.

5.

How can I contact the Auditor Controller’s Property Tax Division?

You can contact us by any of the following:

Telephone: (213) 974-8368
Facsimile: (213) 617-0592
E-mail at: propertytax@auditor.lacounty.gov

Or in person at:
Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street, Room 153
Los Angeles, California.

The counter is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

6.

How do I obtain property tax information for the annual audit confirmation, property tax revenue data, and/or subscribe to the Auditor Controller’s online services?

To obtain property tax information for the annual audit confirmation, property tax revenue data information, and/or subscribe to the Auditor Controller’s online services, send a written request to:

County of Los Angeles
Auditor-Controller, Tax Division
Distribution Section
500 West Temple Street, Room #524
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2766


(There is a monthly usage fee for online services, and a fee for copies.)

7.

How is my annual property tax bill calculated?

Secured: Net assessed value * tax rate + direct assessment(s)

The net assessed value is the value assessed by the Assessor's Office for land, improvements, personal property, fixtures etc minus any exemptions. The tax rate is (See FAQ - "What information is available for purchase from the Auditor-Controller's Office?") the direct assessments are (See FAQ - "What does a tax rate consist of?"). Questions regarding the computation of property tax should be directed to the Auditor-Controller, Property Tax Division. Please call between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at (213) 974-8368 or email propertytax@auditor.lacounty.gov.

8.

How is the AB1290 reimbursement calculated?

The AB1290 reimbursement is calculated as follows:

Tier one (year 1-Last fiscal year Agency receives tax increment) = 20% of Gross Tax Increment.
Tier two (year 11-Last fiscal year Agency receives tax increment)=: 16.8% of Gross Tax Increment in addition to Tier one. Year 10 is the adjusted base year.
Tier three (year 31-Last fiscal year Agency receives tax increment) = 11.2% of Gross Tax Increment in addition to Tier one and two. Year 30 is the adjusted base year.

9.

How many Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRA) exist in Los Angeles County?

As of FY 2007-2008, there are 73 redevelopment agencies with 312 active redevelopment project areas.

10.

How many non-CRA agencies exist in Los Angeles County?

There are 88 city agencies, 27 water districts, and 13 special districts, and a total of 985 accounts exist in the property tax system.

11.

How often do Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRA) property Tax Increment (TI) revenue distributions occur?

CRA TI revenue distributions occur on the 20th of each month from November through August of each year. If the 20th falls on a weekend or holiday, apportionment occurs on weekday preceding the 20th. There are no CRA distributions during the months of September and October. View the CRA Distribution Schedule.

12.

I am a property owner, what property taxes do I owe?

By using your Assessor’s Identification number, you can check your taxes through the County’s Integrated Voice Response System (IVR) or visit the Treasurer & Tax Collector’s website at http://ttc.lacounty.gov. You may also call (888) 807-2111 to speak to an agent.

13.

I have a question about my property taxes. Who should I call?

There are four telephone numbers available to connect you to the County Property Tax System:

(213) 974-8368
(213) 974-3211
(213) 974-2111
(888) 807-2111

After calling any of the above numbers:

To get access to the Treasurer & Tax Collector’s Office, press 1 then 5.
To get access to the Office of the Assessor, press 1 then 6.
To get access to the Auditor-Controller Tax Division, press 1 then 7.
To get information about Assessment Appeals Board, press 1 then 8.

  • Questions regarding current year payments or prior year delinquencies should be directed to the Treasurer & Tax Collector. You can access their website at http://ttc.lacounty.gov.
  • Questions regarding assessed values should be directed to the Office of the Assessor. You can access their website at http://assessor.lacounty.gov or email assessor@lacounty.gov.
  • Questions regarding the computation of property tax should be directed to the Auditor-Controller, Property Tax Division. Please call between the hours of 9:00 AM. and 4:30 PM or email propertytax@auditor.lacounty.gov.
  • Questions regarding filing an assessment appeal should be directed to the Assessment Appeals Board. You can access their website at the Board of Supervisors' Property Assessments Appeal page.

14.

I have recently purchased property, what are my responsibilities as far as taxes are concerned?

You are responsible for any taxes that were not paid as of the time escrow closed. Even though taxes are pro-rated between the buyer and seller during escrow and proper credit is given to each, the actual taxes may have not been paid to the Treasurer & Tax Collector by that time. You should read your escrow papers and/or title report to determine if portions of the annual taxes were paid by the previous owner before the escrow closed.

15.

Is there a way to know what my direct assessment charges represent?

Yes, the taxing agency that levies the assessment can answer that question. The taxing agency informs the County of the amount to apply to the tax bill. The agency is responsible to notify the County if corrections are needed. The County then collects the taxes and distributes the revenue to the agency. The telephone number for each direct assessment agency is located on the original tax bill next to the assessment. To view the Auditor-Controller Direct Assessment Contact List.

16.

What County Departments are involved in the property tax process?

There are several county departments that are involved in the property tax process. The three major departments are:

  1. The Office of the Assessor determines the property or entity to be assessed, and transmits the assessed values to the County Auditor-Controller. You can access their website at: http://assessor.lacounty.gov
  2. The Auditor-Controller computes/calculates the amount of taxes due. The Auditor-Controller, Tax Division also apportions and distributes to the various entities the property tax monies collected by the Treasurer & Tax Collector.
  3. The Treasurer & Tax Collector mails the tax bill and collects the amount due that was computed by the Auditor-Controller, Tax Division. You can access their website at http://ttc.lacounty.gov

17.

What are Affected Taxing Entities (ATEs)?

ATEs are taxing agencies contributing property tax revenues to the CRAs. These agencies include County taxing entities, school districts, community colleges, water districts and special districts.

18.

What are Direct Assessments?

Direct Assessments are direct charges against the property which are included in the total amount of your tax bill but which are not property taxes in the sense of being based on the Assessor’s valuation. A reclamation district charge is an example of this assessment.

19.

What are the County Taxing Entities (CTEs)?

CTEs are the County, Fire District, Forester & Fire Warden (FFW), Library and Flood.

20.

What are the limitations for AB1290 projects?

The limitations for AB1290 projects are as follows:
 

Post 1994 Projects pursuant to H&S Code Section 33607.5:

  • Incurring Debt - 20 years from Plan adoption.
  • Redevelopment Activities - 30 years from Plan adoption.
  • Time for Receipt of Tax Increment - 45 years from Plan adoption.
  • Amount of Tax Increment - no limit required.
  • Eminent domain - 12 years from Plan adoption (may be extended through Plan amendment).

Pre 1994 Projects pursuant to H&S Code Section 33607.7:

  • Incurring Debt - 20 years from Plan adoption or January 1, 2004, whichever is later (with SB211 Agency may eliminate time limit for incurring debt).
  • Redevelopment Activities - 40 years from Plan adoption or January 1, 2009, whichever is later (may extend for up to 3 additional years with amendment per SB1045 = 1 year and SB1096 = up to 2 years).
  • Time for Receipt of Tax Increment - 10 years from Plan Effectiveness.
  • Must have Tax Increment dollar limit.
  • Eminent domain - 12 years from Plan adoption (may be extended through Plan amendment).

21.

What are the methods used to distribute property tax revenues to recipient agencies and how often?

Payments are processed through direct deposit, manual warrant, journal voucher and trust warrant requisitions. View the CRA Distribution Schedule.

22.

What databases are available for Auditor-Controller online access service?

The following databases are available:

  • Secured Tax Roll (STR)
  • Secured Delinquent Tax Roll (SDTR)
  • Non-Value Database
  • TRA Database

23.

What does a tax rate consist of?

The Tax Rate consists of the 1% general tax levy and the sum of the voter approved (special taxes) bond rates for the tax rate area (TRA).

24.

What does my annual tax bill tell me?

The annual tax bill identifies the following:

  • The owner of record as of January 1.
  • The property location and description.
  • The assessed value of the property.
  • The amount and type of exemption, if applicable.
  • The amount of taxes due on the first and second installments, as well as the total taxes due.
  • A breakdown of the types of taxes being collected, including the general tax levy (the constitution "1%" levy), locally voted special taxes, and city assessments. If your bill carries the legend "Defaulted Taxes" or "Power to Sell," this is an indication that there are prior-year delinquent taxes, which are not included in your bill. See information on delinquent property taxes.

 

25.

What does my property taxes [and direct assessments] consist of and where does it go?

Your property tax bill, a lien on your property, is comprised of taxes and direct assessments. Taxes consist of a 1% rate + voter approved debt + special tax. Direct assessments are benefit assessments that are property specific such as refuse collection, landscape maintenance, etc.

Taxes and assessments are specifically identified on your tax bill and distributed as stated on your bill, with the exception of the 1% general levy (which was established with Proposition 13). The general levy of 1 % is distributed among many agencies within the County on a countywide basis; and its distribution changes each year based on the increases or decreases in assessed value. Generally, the 1% levy is distributed as follows:


 

(1) Park/recreation, cemetery, fire, sanitary, hospitals, insect control, conservation, public utilities/ transit, airport, separation of grade, flood control, community service, irrigation, and water districts.

26.

What if I purchase a piece of property and then sell it again after a few months, what do I do regarding the property tax bill?

If you purchase and then sell property within a short period, the supplemental tax bill you receive should cover only those months during which you owned the property and the new owner should receive a separate supplemental tax bill. Because of the number of properties changing hands each year, there may be delays in placing new assessments on the tax roll. Be sure to check the dates used to prorate the bill to ensure the period covered is the period during which you actually owned the property.

27.

What if my mortgage company and I paid the tax bill, what do I do?

If the property taxes were paid twice, the Treasurer and Tax Collector will refund the second payment.  If you have additional questions, you may contact them during regular business hours at 1(888) 807-2111.

28.

What information is available for purchase from the Auditor-Controller’s Office?

You can purchase the following from the Auditor-Controller’s Office:

  1. Tax Rate Book
  2. Direct Assessment Telephone List
  3. Secured Tax Roll Screen

29.

What is Annual Growth?

Prior to January 1, 1994, taxing agencies may negotiate pass-through revenue with a CRA, before a project is adopted, elect to receive the annual inflationary increases in assessed valuation (up to 2%). Annual inflationary increases in assessed valuation that have been negotiated through a pass- through agreement supersede any election provisions.  In addition, per Santa Ana Unified School District v. Orange County Development Agency (2001) 90 Cal App. 4th 401, all school districts and community colleges affected by redevelopment projects adopted January 1, 1985 through December 31, 1993 are automatically entitled to the annual inflationary growth payment pursuant to H&S Code Section 33676.

30.

What is Assembly Bill (AB)1290?

AB1290 is the Community Redevelopment Law Reform Act of 1993, which became effective on January 1, 1994. Among many of the changes enacted by AB1290 was the elimination of tax sharing agreements and implementation of statutory reimbursement to all taxing entities. Mandatory reimbursement payment is required for projects adopted or amended on or after January 1, 1994.

31.

What is Public Safety Augmentation Fund (PSAF) and who is eligible for the PSAF allocation?

The Public Safety Augmentation Fund (PSAF) is the Proposition 172 fund specified for the receipt of ½ cent State sales tax for local public safety services.

Cities who shifted their property tax revenues to the Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds (ERAF) in 1993-94 fiscal year are eligible for PSAF revenue.

32.

What is Statement of Indebtedness (SOI)?

SOI is a document that indicates the sources of revenue, agency bonded indebtedness, and annual funding requirements filed by the Agency to the County Auditor-Controller’s Office no later than October 1 of each year.

33.

What is a 1915 Bond Act or how does it affect me?

1915 Act Bond is issued by a district to build infrastructure such as sewer trunk line, utility line, roads, etc. The district then annually meets the legal requirements to place a special assessment tax on the secured property benefited by the Infrastructure in order to repay the bond. If the taxes are unpaid when due, the district may meet the legal requirements and take action to foreclose on the property in order to collect the 1915 Act direct assessment amount. The key contact for a 1915 Act assessment is the agency that had the assessment added to a tax bill.

34.

What is a Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRA) Remittance Advice?

The Remittance advice is a monthly detailed statement that contain the distribution of tax increment revenue to redevelopment agencies and other taxing entities. Its amount of distribution includes the following payments: secured & unitary, unsecured, redemption, supplemental and any other taxable assessed values. The statement also provide the monthly gross amount of the tax increment revenue allocated to redevelopment agencies and any payments to other taxing entities that are deducted from the monthly gross amount allocated.

35.

What is a Mello Roos Assessment?

It is a direct assessment or bond for a community facility project approved by 2/3 votes of the electors. Electors are either registered voters (if 12 or more in the district) or landowners who are voter based on acreage. These types of bonds are normally issued for 30 years and will be billed as part of your property taxes.

36.

What is a Project Area?

A project area is the area within which actual redevelopment will take place. The project area must first have a public hearing (giving citizens who will be included in the project area a chance to express their views) after which the redevelopment agency acts on the adoption of the project area and becomes primarily responsible for future projects.

37.

What is a Redevelopment Agency?

In most cities, the city council members are also the governing board for the redevelopment agency, however, the council and the agency are two separate, distinct legal entities. The agency members hire staff to carry out the day-to-day operations and its redevelopment plans. In most counties, the board of supervisors is the governing board.

38.

What is a Redevelopment Plan?

A redevelopment plan represents a process and a basic framework within which specific projects will be undertaken. The plan provides the agency with powers to take certain actions such as to buy and sell land within the area covered by the plan (project area), improving dilapidated facilities and to use tax increment financing.

39.

What is a supplemental tax bill and how is it calculated?

State law requires the Assessor’s Office to reappraise property value upon a change in ownership or completion of new construction. The Assessor’s Office must issue a supplemental assessment that reflects the difference between the new base year value and the previous base year value.

The difference in values is multiplied by the tax rate applicable, and prorated by the number of months remaining in the fiscal year, ending June 30. Supplemental tax bills are mailed throughout the year.

40.

What is ad valorem tax?

The ad valorem tax is the property tax that the County levies at a rate equal to one percent (1%) of the full cash value. In addition, the rate includes an amount equal to the amount needed to make payments for the interest and principal on general obligation bonds or other indebtedness approved by the voters.

41.

What is tax increment (TI) revenue?

When the redevelopment project area is adopted, the current assessed values within the project area are designated as the “base year” includes the assessed value of all land and improvements within the boundaries of the project area.

After plan adoption, all the taxes paid on this “base year” assessment go to the city, county, school districts, and other taxing agencies. Any increase in assessed value above this base year value within a project area and the taxes resulting from this increased in assessed valuation is “tax increment”. This tax increment becomes the main source of revenue for the agency.

42.

What is the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF)?

ERAF is a mechanism, enacted in July of 1992 by the State Legislature to shift local tax revenues from cities, counties, and special districts to a State controlled fund (Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund). The state uses this fund to reduce its obligation to the schools. ERAF funds have been used by the State to help school and community college districts to meet minimum funding requirements.

43.

What is the Low & Moderate (L&M) Housing Fund?

State law requires twenty percent (20%) of gross TI revenue to be set aside to the low moderate housing fund by a CRA to improve the quality and/or quantity of affordable housing for persons of low and moderate income is standard.

44.

What is the Statement of Annual Property Tax Disbursements (SB258)?

The Statement of Annual Property Tax Disbursements summarizes the fiscal year’s tax increment activities provided by the Auditor-Controller Office to the redevelopment agencies by September 15 of each year.

45.

What period of time does a secured property tax bill cover?

A secured property tax bill covers a fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending on June 30 of the following calendar year.

46.

What property tax information can be accessed on the Internet?

Property tax information can be accessed through the following websites:

http://assessor.lacounty.gov (Office of the Assessor)

  • Assessed Value
  • Situs Address
  • Assessor’s Maps

http://ttc.lacounty.gov (Treasurer & Tax Collector)

  • Current Taxes Due
  • Delinquent Taxes due

http://auditor.lacounty.gov (Auditor-Controller)

  • Direct Assessment Contact List
  • Claim for Refund of Property Taxes
  • Transfer Taxes to the Unsecured Roll Request

47.

When I purchase property or complete construction at some point during the fiscal year, will I be taxed on the supplemental value for the entire fiscal year?

No. You are only taxed on the supplemental value for the portion of the current fiscal year remaining after you purchased the property or completed new construction. However, if the event was after to January 1, and before May 31, you will receive an additional supplemental tax bill for the next fiscal year.

48.

When was proposition 13 passed by the voters?

Proposition 13 was passed by voters and approved on June 6, 1978 and took effect as of July 1, 1978.

49.

Who can I contact if I have any questions about a Mello Roos fee?

Please call the taxing agency. The telephone number is located on the tax bill. The taxing agency will be able to answer any questions regarding the debt, payment schedule and calculations.

50.

Why are redevelopment projects established?

Redevelopment projects are established to secure funds that can be used to attract commercial, industrial, and residential development in order to eliminate blight and improve a project area.

51.

Why did I receive two supplemental tax bills?

If the change in ownership occurs or new construction is completed after January 1st (lien date) but before May 31st, then there shall be two supplemental assessments. The first supplemental bill is for the fiscal year in which you purchased the property or completed new construction. The second supplemental bill is for the following fiscal year of the same occurrence.

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