Residents in Fire Area Can Defer Property Taxes

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the Woolsey Fire can file a claim to defer property taxes due Dec. 10 without incurring any penalties, authorities said today.

The county's assessor and tax collector said damage assessment is still in its preliminary phases, but urged homeowners with a minimum of $10,000 in damage to file a Misfortune and Calamity claim for property tax relief. Filing triggers an automatic deferral of taxes due, and Treasurer and Tax Collector Joseph Kelly advised residents to wait until an adjusted bill is sent before paying taxes. Supervisor Janice Hahn recommended doing more to accelerate the claims process and offered a motion asking county workers to proactively file claims on behalf of property owners when damage viewed by ground crews or from the air appears to exceed the $10,000 limit. 

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pass the motion, which also directs staffers to do everything possible to accelerate the claims process and ensure that payments are deferred without any penalties. Despite the widespread property damage, Kelly said the loss of property tax revenue wouldn't have a significant impact on the county's $32.8 billion budget. 

A county hotline to help property owners in the fire zone has been established at (213) 974-8658. Affected taxpayers can also go to to get an electronic copy of the claim form and learn more. Residents whose properties weren't damaged but who have been displaced during evacuations may also request more time.``We understand that residents who have been displaced and/or evacuated, as well as first responders and other employees working for responding agencies, may be unable to pay this first installment by the delinquency date,'' Kelly said last week. 

Those property owners may file for a penalty cancellation at first installment of property taxes was due Nov. 1, with a Dec. 10 deadline to avoid penalties.

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