By Jeff Prang
Los Angeles County Assessor
I want to visit with you this month about a deadline that oftentimes is overlooked but is significant nevertheless — the Business Property Statements. And the deadline is here.
Each year Business Property Statements, which provide a basis for determining property assessments for fixtures and equipment, are mailed by my office to most commercial, industrial and professional firms.
Businesses with personal property and fixtures that cost $100,000 or more must file a Business Property Statement each year by April 1. This is required by state law. However, you have until May 7 to file. After that a 10% penalty will be applied. Business inventory is exempt from taxation.
Generally, businesses with personal property and fixtures that cost less than $100,000 are not required to file a Business Property Statement annually. Instead, a value is established based on an initial Business Property Statement filing or by an on-site appraisal. That value may be adjusted by subsequent annual on-site appraisals. My office is legally mandated to assess the value of business personal property in excess of $10,000 as of January 1.
In general, Business Personal Property is all property owned or leased by a business except Real Property and Inventory items.
Business Personal Property includes, but is not limited to:
- Equipment (e.g. FAX machines, photocopiers)
- Furniture (e.g. desks, chairs, bookcases)
Tangible property owned, claimed, possessed or controlled in the conduct of a profession, trade or business may be subject to property taxes.
It’s important to remember that Business Personal Property is valued annually as of January 1. If you were in business on that day and have the required amount of property, you are required to file. Business Property Statements are private documents and are held confidential by my office.
Having said that, I understand this has been a very difficult year for many businesses and I am inviting you to provide me with information about your business equipment for the possibility of some relief. The Covid-19 restrictions imposed over the past year has had a negative impact on some businesses, such as gyms, hotels and movie theaters, while others not so much. Businesses that were operating on Jan. 1 but then regrettably had to shutter are going to be considered. Make no mistake about this, I intend to be proactive about these reductions. For more information on this relief go to https://assessor.lacounty.gov/decline-in-value/.
I also think it’s important to note that the very reason for our property taxes are to support vital public services provided to all of us, including law enforcement, fire protection, education, parks and recreation, as well as roads.
Property taxes are based on the assessed value of your property. Property tax bills show land and improvement values. Improvements include all assessable buildings and structures on the land. In general, properties that are owned and used by educational, charitable, religious or government organizations may be exempt from certain property taxes. You may also qualify for certain exemptions.
We had a successful webinar about Business Personal Property just last week that takes you through the process step-by-step of filling out the 571-L form, which is the bureaucratic name for the Business Personal Property form that must be filed no later than May 7 to avoid a penalty. You can access the webinar in English and in Spanish here at assessor.lacounty.gov/webinars-and-presentations/.
To file the form online or just to learn more about this go to assessor.lacounty.gov/personal-property-assessments-2/. Finally, if you want to contact us by phone, please call (213) 974-3211 or (888) 807-2111 toll-free.
For more information on Prop. 19 or other tax savings programs, visit assessor.lacounty.gov or call (213) 974-3211. Los Angeles County Assessor Jeff Prang has been in office since 2014. Upon taking office, Prang implemented sweeping reforms to ensure that the strictest ethical guidelines rooted in fairness, accuracy and integrity would be adhered to in his office, which is the largest office of its kind in the nation with 1,400 employees and provides the foundation for a property tax system that generates $17 billion annually.