If You Don’t Know About These Property-Tax-Saving Programs, You’re Missing Out.
Updated: Oct 13, 2018
We hear tax savings and we think income taxes. But if this is your thinking and you’re a property owner, you’re missing out. And you’re not alone. Each year a multitude of people miss out on property tax savings they qualify for.
“These programs are not automatic. You must file to get them,” Jeff Prang says.
Prang is the head of the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office. Aside from locating and assessing the value of taxable property in the county, a huge part of the job is to service the many property-tax-saving programs available.
I met with Prang in his office in downtown LA to learn more.
“It’s very easy to apply, but about 30% or 40% don’t,” Prang says of the Homeowner’s Exemption program, which is “available to anybody who owns their home, and it’s their primary residence.” The program exempts owners from paying taxes on $7,000 of their assessed value.
There is also a program for people 55 and older. “If you bought your house in 1990 for two hundred thousand and you now want to sell and buy a house in Pasadena, you can take your 1990 tax base to Pasadena,” Prang says. With Proposition 13 limiting increases to 2% per year, this could mean thousands of dollars in savings.
A similar program is available for property transfers between a parent and child or a grandparent and grandchild. As with the previous program, this excludes reassessment, meaning if grandma is paying $2,000 in property taxes because she bought the house in 1990, and she gifts or sells it to you, you would only pay $2,000 instead of the $8,000 a new buyer would have to pay.
These are just a few of the programs available that many may not be aware of, mainly because, historically, the Assessor’s Office has not done a great job of informing the public. But Prang is changing that. “We are putting an extra amount of effort to elevate public awareness,” he says. Prang encourages everyone to visit their newly revamped and user-friendly website for more information on the many tax-saving programs available.
This is a condensed summary. For more information on these and other programs available and to see if you qualify, visit the LA County Assessor’s website, or reach them by phone: 213-974-3211 or 1-888-807-2111.
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Writer: I am Daniel Rangel. A real estate agent in Los Angeles. I'd love to help you. Send me your questions.