Property Tax FAQs

1.

Do my property taxes change from year to year?

Yes, Proposition 13 allows for an increase of up to 2% of the property's assessed value each year. In addition, the tax rate in your area changes as new bonds are added or 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.

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

You can contact us by any of the following:

Telephone: (213) 974-8368 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
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 public counter is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

4.

I have a question about my property taxes. Whom should I contact?

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 2.
To get access to the Office of the Assessor, press 1 then 3.
To get access to the Auditor-Controller Property Tax Services Division, press 1 then 4.
To get access to the Assessment Appeals Board, press 1 then 5.

  • 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 Services Division. Please call between the hours of 8:00 AM. and 5:00 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 https://lacaab.lacounty.gov/Home.aspx.

 

5.

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 and fixtures, minus any exemptions.  For more information regarding tax rates see (FAQ - "What does a tax rate consist of?”).  For more information regarding direct assessments see (FAQ - "What are Direct Assessments?”).  Questions regarding the computation of property taxes should be directed to the Auditor-Controller, Property Tax Services Division.  Please call between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at (213) 974-8368 or email propertytax@auditor.lacounty.gov.

6.

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.

 

7.

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.

8.

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 year.

9.

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) at (888) 807-2111 – press 1 then 1.  You can call the same number to speak to an agent, but press 1 then 2.  Or visit the Treasurer & Tax Collector’s website at http://ttc.lacounty.gov.

10.

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 when 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 at 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.

11.

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 landscaping and/or lighting district is an example of a direct assessment.

12.

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. The telephone numbers can also be viewed on the Auditor-Controller Direct Assessment Contact List.

13.

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.

14.

What is a Mello Roos Assessment?

It is a bond for a community facility project approved by 2/3 votes of the electors that is billed as a direct assessment.  Electors are either registered voters (if 12 or more in the district) or landowners who are voters based on acreage.  These types of bonds are normally issued for 30 years.  The key contact for a Mello Roos assessment is the agency that had the assessment added to the tax bill.

15.

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 (purchase price) and the previous base year value.

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

16.

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 between January 1st and May 31st, you will receive an additional supplemental tax bill for the next fiscal year.

17.

Why did I receive two supplemental tax bills?

If the change in ownership occurs or new construction is completed between January 1st and 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.

18.

What if I purchase a piece of property 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.

19.

What do I do if the dates used to calculate my supplemental bill are incorrect?

If the period covered by the supplemental bill you received does not cover the period during which you actually owned the property, you may submit a Transfer Taxes to the Unsecured Roll Request. If approved, the supplemental will be prorated between you and the other owner or fully billed to the other owner as appropriate.

20.

If my mortgage company and I both paid a 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 - press 1 then 2.

21.

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

22.

What is Proposition 13?

Proposition 13 was passed by the voters on Jun 6, 1978 which limits the amount of property taxes to 1% of assessed property value, exclusive of bonded indebtedness.  Proposition 13 also limits the annual increases of assessed property value to an inflation factor, not to exceed 2% per year.

23.

How are the property tax rates determined?

A tax rate includes a general 1% tax levy applicable to all bills 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.

24.

What does a property 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).

25.

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

Your property tax bill, is comprised of taxes and direct assessments. Taxes consist of a 1% rate + voter approved debt. 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:



 

*Graph is based on FY 15/16 data

26.

What are the County Taxing Entities (CTEs)?

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

27.

What is the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF)?

ERAF is a mechanism, enacted in July of 1992 by the State Legislature to shift local property tax revenues from cities, counties, and special districts to an Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund. These funds are allocated by the State to schools to help meet minimum funding requirements.

28.

What is a Successor Agency (SA)?

ABx1 26 dissolved Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs) and created Successor Agencies as a part of winding down redevelopment financial affairs.  Oversight Boards were also created to review successor agency actions. To obtain additional information on Successor Agencies go to Auditor-Controller website link: Redevelopment Agency Dissolution.

29.

What is a Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRA)?

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.

30.

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.

31.

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.

32.

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.

33.

What are Affected Taxing Entities (ATEs)?

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

34.

How many SAs exist in Los Angeles County?

As of FY 2016-2017, there are 71 Successor Agencies for the former redevelopment agencies with 317 active redevelopment project areas in Los Angeles County.

35.

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

There are 88 city agencies, 25 water districts, and 19 special districts, and a total of 595 1% general levy agency accounts exist in the property tax system.

36.

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” and 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.

37.

How often do Property Tax increment revenue distributions to Successor Agencies occur?

Tax increment is deposited into the Redevelopment Property Tax trust Fund (RPTTF) almost monthly.  The deposited RPTTF funds are distributed on January 2nd and June 1st of each year or the next business day when those dates fall on a weekend or a holiday. View the CRA Distribution Schedule.

38.

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

No.  Tax Increment revenue is deposited into the Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund (RPTTF) throughout the year. Successor agencies must request RPTTF funds on an itemized Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS). The California Department of Finance (DOF) will review and authorize RPTTF amounts to pay for individual items.  RPTTF funds will be distributed twice a year to SAs based on the amount available in the RPTTF and authorized by the DOF.

39.

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.

40.

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.

41.

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.  Since the implementation of the ABX1 26, the Successor Agency can no longer incur debt.
  • 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).  Since the implementation of the ABX1 26, the Successor Agency can no longer incur 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).

Note:  Due to ABX1 26 which dissolved Redevelopment Agencies (RDA) throughout the State of California as of February 1, 2012, these limits no longer apply.

42.

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.

Note:  Per ABX1 26 and SB107, Debt Service (DS) TI is no longer subject to AB1290 pass-through(PT).  The gross TI used in computing the AB1290PT cannot include DS, only 1% and Aircraft revenues is used.

43.

What is Annual Growth?

Prior to January 1, 1994, taxing agencies may negotiate pass-through revenue with a CRA, before a project is adopted, and 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.

44.

What is a RPTTF Remittance Advice?

The Remittance Advice is a statement of tax increment revenue deposited into the Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund (RPTTF) and how the RPTTF funds are distributed to SAs and other ATEs. Estimated RPTTF Distribution Remittance Advice is published in October and April and Actual RPTTF Distribution Remittance Advice is published in January and June. Key parts of the Remittance Advice include: gross RPTTF deposit, County administrative charges, negotiated and statutory pass-though, approved RPTTF distributions to the SAs, actual RPTTF distributions to the SAs, and residual RPTTF amounts distributed to the ATEs. Remittance Advice can be accessed through the following page: Redevelopment Agency Documentation.

45.

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, Property Tax Apportionment 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.)

46.

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 and Non-CRA Distribution Schedules..

47.

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

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