There are several things that property owners can do in minimizing the property taxes which they pay in Los Angeles County and the South Bay.
MAINTAINING YOUR EXISTING PROPERTY TAX BASIS IF YOU ARE 55 OR OLDER AND SELL YOUR PROPERTY
Proposition 60, passed in 1986, and modified by Proposition 90, passed in 1988, allows "qualified" individuals over the age of 55 to transfer the base year assessed valuation from a former residence ("original property") to a replacement residence, of equal or lesser value and that meet other certain conditions. Link: http://www.smcare.org/library/pdfs/Broch-Props_60-90-110_v_BG-PK.pdf which discusses this issue in detail. Effective January 1, 2007, claims must no longer be filed within 3 years, however if the claim is filed after 3 years, relief will be granted beginning with the calendar year in which the claim was filed. In addition, any upgrades paid by the buyer outside of escrow and not reflected in the sales price must now be reported on the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report so as to be included in the determination of the "equal or lesser value" test.
HOMEOWNER'S EXEMPTION ON PROPERTY TAXES
If you own a home and occupy it as your principal place of residence on January 1, you may apply for an exemption of $7000 off of your assessed value. This will save you over $70 a year on your property taxes. It is amazing to me how many property owners do not take advantage of this very simple item. All you need to do is file a simple one page form with the county tax assessors office. For information click on this link at the L.A. county assessors office: http://www.lacountyassessor.com/extranet/guides/exemptions.aspx . For a copy of the form to be filed you must call the L.A. County Tax Assessors office at (213) 974-3211 and request that a form be mailed to you. The form is not available on the internet. If you do not know if you have a homeowners exemption on file, go to the assessormap link http://assessormap.co.la.ca.us/mapping/viewer.asp, and review the property tax information for your property.
DECLINE IN VALUE
If the current market value is less than the actual assessment, the Assessor's Office may reduce the assessed value of any real property. With the recent decrease in home prices, anyone buying a property within the last 2 years should contact their realtor to obtrain support to appeal their current property assessed value.
For more information about Palos Verdes and South Bay Real Estate and buying and selling a home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, visit my website at http://www.maureenmegowan.com . I try to make this the best real estate web blog in the South Bay Los Angeles and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I would love to hear your comments or suggestions.