Each year, more than $35 million dollars’ worth of property tax savings go unclaimed in Los Angeles County by the estimated 435,000 homeowners who likely qualify for them, according to Jeffrey Prang, the county’s assessor.
He’s now working with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to bring attention to the issue, declaring January as Homeowners’ Exemption Awareness Month.
The exemption — which homeowners need apply for only once in order to reap the annual benefits — can result in a $70 savings on a homeowner’s tax bill every year, according to a news release posted the assessor’s website on Tuesday. Essentially, it cuts $7,000 from the property’s taxable assessed value, leading to the savings.
There’s just one eligibility requirement: the property must be the principal place of residence for the owner as of Jan. 1.
“It is not surprising that the savings program goes unnoticed as homeowners usually only contact the Office when they are buying or selling their property,” Prang said in the release. “Being that they are already inundated with paperwork, our application can easily get lost in the shuffle.”
As many as 1 in 3 @CountyofLA homeowners are overpaying on their property tax because they are not taking advantage of the homeowners exemption. That's $30 million dollars in savings left unclaimed every year! Are you the 1 in 3? #tax #homeowners pic.twitter.com/iyLyk8USOO
— Assessor Jeff Prang (@LACAssessor) January 8, 2019
His office estimates that one out every three families in the county doesn’t take advantage of the savings; on average, people are losing out on nearly $1,000 over the average length of homeownership.
“This savings can potentially go towards investing in easy home improvements such as, purchasing a new water heater or installing new sprinklers. I encourage every homeowner to apply,” Prang said.
The city with the highest percent of unclaimed homeowners’ exemption is Palmdale at 46 percent, which amounts to more than 30,000 single-family residences, according to a chart released by the office.
Lancaster, Lynwood and Pomona have the next highest rates, all above 40 percent.
South Gate, Norwalk, Compton, San Fernando Springs and Paramount round out the top 10 cities in L.A. County with the highest percent of the unclaimed exemption.
“The number of homeowners who do not take advantage of the program is concerning,” Prang said. His office is partnering with local cities to facilitate outreach and further raise awareness.
Anyone who has questions regarding the Homeowners’ Exemption Application form and filing information is encouraged to call 213-974-3415.