By Jeff Prang
Los Angeles County Assessor
It’s that time again, when the Assessor’s Office undertakes its most important function of the fiscal year that lays the ground work for the very property taxes that pay for our vital public services: the Assessment Roll.
The Assessment Roll for 2021 has been closed, and it reflects growth for Santa Claritaand the rest of Los Angeles County. However, the roll has COVID-19 ramifications, and I will explain that in a bit.
First off, let me say this comprehensive tally values more than 2.5 million real estate parcels in Los Angeles County and results in the very tax dollars that goes to pay for vital public services, such as health care, police, fire, schools and librarians, just to name a few. I am constitutionally mandated to close the roll by the end of the fiscal year June 30.
I am pleased to announce that the 2021 Assessment Roll has a total net value of $1.76 trillion, indicating the 11th year of consecutive growth. The 2021 roll also grew by $62.9 billion (or 3.7%) over 2020. That value places $17 billion in the hands of the county to be used for those public services I just mentioned.
Locally,Santa Clarita for 2021 came in at $38.3 billion for taxable values, which is a 3.1% increase over last year’s numbers. That includes 63,652single-family homes, 490 apartment complexes, 4,660commercial-industrial parcels for a grand total of 68,802 taxable properties.
However, these figures have COVID implications and here’s how that works. Assessments are based on the value of property as of the lien date of Jan. 1, 2021, which was well into the pandemic. While the overall value indicates growth, the total also reflects a reduction of $5.5 billion in business personal property, which includes machinery, equipment, boats and aircraft.
Having said that, we recognized the impact specifically on small businesses so we proactively reduced about 73,000 personal property assessments in the hardest-hit areas to offer some property tax relief.
Also, air travel was severely restricted, resulting in reduced aircraft assessments. Additionally, daily commuting and other travel declined due to stay-at-home orders, resulting in reduced fuel demand, which in turn led to reduced fuel prices. Consequently, several major refineries saw a decrease in net cash flow and a commensurate reduction in fixture value.
Moreover, when COVID hit and we were all put under quarantine as required by the Safe at Home protocols, my force of nearly 1,300 employees went into a massive teleworking mode of operations. We had 85 to 95 percent of our workforce teleworking on any given day and the transition proved challenging.
Some basics: The roll, as it is known, contains the assessed value of all real estate and business personal property in the county’s 88 cities along with the unincorporated areas. It also breaks down the number of single-family residential homes, apartments and commercial-industrial parcels.
This year’s roll comprises 2.58 million real estate parcels as well as business assessments countywide. That includes 1,885,579 single-family homes, 250,190 apartment complexes, 248,293 commercial and industrial properties and more than 161,488 business property assessments.
Since the roll is the inventory for all taxable property in the county, it can provide some insight into the health of the real estate market. The roll is also driven in large measure by real property sales, which added $44.9 billion to the roll as compared with 2020; the CPI adjustment mandated by Prop. 13, which this year came in at 1.036%, added an additional $16.4 billion; and new construction added $8.8 billion.
Finally, as we move forward during this critical period, I wish for everybody to stay safe and heathy. This is a tumultuous time in our history. No question about that, but to repeat what has been said so many times before during emergencies that demand the best from us, this could be our finest hour.
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.