Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

Property Tax Relief Available for Those Impacted by Fires

On November 6 Board of Equalization Member Jerome Horton announces property tax relief for Los Angeles homeowners impacted by earthquakes, fires, floods, and other calamities.

More than forty people have died and thousands of lives have been terribly disrupted by the recent California fires. Member Horton visited a fire site to inform residents that they may be entitled to several tax breaks and deductions due to the loss of their homes and property in the fire. He observed first-hand how that fire skipped one home entirely only to engulf another, totally destroying it.

Although this year’s outbreak of wildfires throughout the state is the deadliest series of simultaneous fires in the state’s recorded history, according to Cal Fire, in 2016 there were 13,071 fire incidents in Los Angeles County and more in 2017.

In many cases, the damaged property can be reappraised in its current condition, with some taxes refunded to the property owner. Once rebuilt, the property’s pre-damaged value will be restored.

“People who suffer fire damage in Los Angeles and throughout California should not have to pay property taxes on property that no longer exists,” said Member Horton. “I encourage impacted homeowners to document the damage as much as possible so they may take a deduction on their tax returns for their loss.”

To qualify for property tax relief, you must file a claim with your county assessors’ office within the time specified in your county ordinance, or 12 months from the date of damage or destruction, whichever is later. The loss estimate must be at least $10,000 of current market value to qualify.

Owners of eligible property may also apply for deferral of the next property tax installment on the regular secured roll or tax payments on the supplemental roll, without penalties or interest. The disaster must be the result of a Governor-proclaimed state of emergency. When a timely claim for deferral is filed, the next property tax installment payment is deferred without penalty or interest until the county assessor has reassessed the property and a corrected tax bill has been sent to the property owner.

In addition, taxpayers who have sustained losses attributable to the recent wildfires in President-declared or Governor-declared disaster areas may claim the loss in either the year in which the event occurred or the prior year. Affected taxpayers that have an estimated federal income tax payment originally due on or after October 8, 2017, and before January 31, 2018, will not be subject to penalties for failure to pay estimated tax installments as long as such payments are paid on or before January 31, 2018.  The Franchise Tax Board will abate interest if requested in writing.

For further information on property tax disaster relief, please see the Frequently Asked Questions on the Board of Equalization’s website (boe.ca.gov).

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