November 2, 2020
Property values in Los Angeles County may fall as the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Historically, LA county property tax values drop during and immediately after a financial crisis. During the 2008 Great Recession, California property tax assessors reduced the fair market value on 426,000 properties.
In 2019, LA County assessed the entire roll of real properties in the county. The total value of the LA property tax roll of $1.77 trillion showed a 5.87 percent increase over the previous year. At the time, public leaders lauded the growth of revenues and expected the growth trend to continue. However, Los Angeles County Tax Assessor Jeffrey Prang reversed the optimist course and warned that the total LA county property tax revenues are likely to be significantly lower next year.
Assessor Prang warned that widespread decreases in property values are likely in the next few months because Californians will take advantage of tax savings programs. “Nearly one in three homeowners in Los Angeles County … [leave] $30 million unclaimed each year … an additional 435,000 families can be saving on their tax bills.” When properties are reassessed under the pandemic relief programs, the value of the Assessment Roll will decrease. This decrease, in turn, will reduce the tax revenues needed for government and public services.
One-third of LA County property taxpayers qualify for the Homeowner Exemption. The Homeowner Exemption reduces the assessed value of a qualifying property by $7000. In order to qualify, the property must be an owner’s principal place of residence as of January 1. Property owners must file a Claim for Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption by February 15 to claim the exemption. Additionally, California property tax exemptions may also apply to a supplemental assessment if the prior owner of the property did not claim the exemption.
Tax Assessor Jeffrey Prang expects an increase in requests for Decline-in-Value Reviews. The LA County Tax Assessors office website lists several other programs to help residents find tax relief.