Property Tax Season: What you need to know
As you may or may not know, first installment property taxes are due beginning November 1st. Keep in mind that your taxes are due before December 10th at 5 P.M Pacific Time and after that you will be subject to an added 10% penalty if they are delinquent. Read on to see how property taxes are determined, what to do in preparation for your property, and all relevant due dates.
How Property Taxes Are Determined
Property taxes are governed by California State law and collected by the county. The county Assessor must first assess the value of your property to determine the amount of property tax. Generally, the assessed value is the cash or market value at the time of purchase. This value increases not more than 2% per year until the property is sold or new construction is completed. The auditor-controller applies the appropriate tax rates, which include the general tax levy, locally voted special taxes, and city or district direct assessments. The Tax Collector prepares property tax bills based on the Auditor- Controller calculations, distributes the bills, and collects the taxes.
Property tax in LA County is comprised of multiple factors. First, the general property tax levy is applied across the state of California. Next, voter-approved debt may apply, depending on where the property is located. If the property is in a school district or special district, an additional property tax will be applied. In compliance with Proposition 13, the general tax levy of 1%, or $1 per $100, is applied as property tax by the state. Cities and local municipalities can levy additional tax on property. For example, the city of Los Angeles in LA County usually applies a property tax rate of .021297 to .029754 on top of the 1% general levy. School districts taxes comprise the majority of a property tax, second only to the general tax levy. These rates can range depending on the school district and the given year. You can look up your real estate parcel on the LA County tax website to see what the actual property tax rate will be for the current year.
What To Do To Prepare
1. Pay online at propertytax.lacounty.gov.
eChecks are FREE and you can pay up until 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time on the delinquency date. See "Payment Options" on the enclosed insert.
2. Utilize self-service options at propertytax.lacounty.gov:
Locate the amount due
Review your payment history
Learn to avoid penalties by understanding postmarks
3. Enroll in Property Tax Management System
Visit propertytax.lacounty.gov for more information on how to manage payments for properties you own.
4. Call your lender - not the Tax Collector - with questions on impound/escrow accounts.
Lenders may debit accounts up to several months prior to submitting the payment to the Tax Collector.
5. Understand that the Tax Collector has limited authority under the law to cancel penalties.
Review the Penalty Cancellation Policy on propertytax.lacounty.gov under "Self-Service Options".