Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who authorized this assessment on my property tax bill?
Answer: The direct assessment is a special tax that the voters of Los Angeles County approved on November 5, 2002, by a 73% to 27% margin, beginning in fiscal year 2003-2004. It provides funding for the County-wide system of trauma centers, emergency medical services, and bioterrorism response.
What kinds of services are funded by this assessment?
Answer: These funds help maintain and enhance pre-hospital and hospital care services provided in public and private trauma centers, acute care hospitals, other health care facilities, and trauma access through air transport for injuries and conditions such as those related to car accidents, drowning, heart attack, stroke, or exposure to a bioterrorist or chemical attack.
How were the funds allocated?
Answer: For Fiscal Year 2016-2017, a total of $284.2 million in budget expenditures were allocated as follows: County hospitals $208.5 million, Non-County hospitals and physicians $57.7 million, Trauma Access through air transport $4.4 million, Public Health bioterrorism-related activities $11.0 million, Emergency Medical Services Agency $1.8 million, County department administrative costs $0.8 million.
How long will this assessment last?
Answer: The assessment is an ongoing special tax which will continue permanently unless repealed by the voters of Los Angeles County.
How is the assessment calculated?
Answer: For Fiscal Year 2016-2017, it is set at 4.24 cents (or $0.0424) per square foot of structural improvements on the property. For example, for a property with a 1500 square feet house on it, 1500 would be multiplied by $0.0424 resulting in an assessment of $63.60. Improvements used for parking are exempted from the assessment.
Will the amount of the assessment always be the same?
Answer: Not necessarily, future increases or decreases in the square footage or the tax rate could increase or decrease the amount. The County Board of Supervisors may, by majority vote, increase or decrease the tax rate. Increases to the tax rate are limited to the cumulative increases, if any, in the medical component of the Western Urban Consumer Price index (CPI). The Fiscal Year 2016-17 rate of $0.0424 reflects CPI increase only up to June 2012.
How was the square footage of the structures on my property determined?
Answer: It was obtained from the property records of the County Assessor's Office. The Assessor calculates the square footage based on the exterior dimensions, rounded to the nearest foot. The square footage used for the current tax year is available by looking up your property on the Los Angeles County Assessor's web site.
What if I disagree with the square footage used to calculate the assessment?
Answer: Download an Assessment Adjustment Request form. Forms are also available at your Regional Assessor's Office and at the public services counters in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration Building, located at 500 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Nonetheless, the amount reflected on the property tax bill must be paid in full by the dates indicated on the bill to avoid interest and penalties.
If there is an error in the amount of the assessment, will I receive a refund?
Answer: Yes, if correction of the error would result in a refund of at least $1.00. In either case, correction of the error would be reflected in your future property tax bills.
Are the due dates, payment options, and penalties for this assessment the same as for the other portions of my tax bill?
Are senior citizens, disabled persons, or low-income homeowners exempt from the assessment?
Are properties owned by non-profit business, religious, or charitable organizations exempt from the assessment?
Answer: No, only improvements used for parking and government owned properties are exempt.
If construction is started, will it change the amount due on my next property tax bill?
Answer: It depends on whether square footage will be added, the type of construction, and the stage of completion as of the preceding January 1. For further clarification, please contact the Regional Assessor's Office at the address and phone number on your property tax bill.
Do I still owe the tax if some or all of the structures on my property are damaged, destroyed, or demolished?
Answer: Yes, you would still owe the full amount on the current tax bill, unless it results from a calamity or misfortune beyond your control such as a plane crash, earthquake, etc. However, depending on when and if the structures are repaired or replaced, the amount owed for future tax years may be reduced or eliminated.