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From the Assessor’s Office-Tax Relief is Available for Natural Disasters

February 12, 2024

By Jeff Prang, Los Angeles County Assessor

This has been a challenging few months when it comes to our weather because we’ve been ravaged by severe storms not experienced in decades. The damage has been extensive throughout California and our region has suffered significantly. The rain totals have been historic with meteorologists indicating the most recent storm was the third wettest over a two-day period since 1877.

My entire Office extends our sincerest regard to all those suffering from these storms and we do have a program that offers property tax relief for qualified property owners.

It’s understandable that those affected by these storms would not be thinking about their property taxes at this difficult time. However, I did want to remind them there is property tax relief available in the event of damage to their property resulting from these types of natural disasters.

By filing a claim for Misfortune & Calamity relief within one year of the incident, properties that have sustained a minimum of $10,000 in damage or destroyed may be eligible for a refund of taxes already paid and lower annual tax bills until the property is repaired or rebuilt.

This property tax relief is available to owners of homes, business equipment and fixtures, orchards or other agricultural groves, and to owners of aircraft, boats, and certain manufactured homes. It is not available to property that is not assessable, such as state licensed manufactured homes or household furnishings.

As stated, the claim has to be filed with my office within 12 months of the event, whether it be caused by fire, earthquake, flooding or any other natural disaster, for that matter. The savings can be for a total loss of the property or a percentage of the damage as long as it’s $10,000 or more. The percentage is calculated by the appraiser using a standard formula, oftentimes in conjunction with other factors such as existing insurance.

If granted, the assessed value of your property will be reduced, effective the date the damage occurred, until the damaged structures are rebuilt or repaired, the property undergoes a change in ownership, or a base year value transfer is affected. 

Furthermore, we are going to be proactively identifying eligible properties so the process can be moved forward expeditiously. These types of reassessments led to millions of dollars in property tax relief a few years back during a significant event known as the Woolsey Fire as well as victims of the Rolling Hills Estates landslides where homes were red-tagged as uninhabitable when the ground collapsed underneath their foundations, reducing homes to rubble.

The M&C claim forms – known as the Application for Reassessment: Property Damaged or Destroyed by Misfortune or Calamity – can be obtained online at https://assessor.lacounty.gov/tax-relief/disaster-relief or by phone at (213) 974-8658.

Los Angeles County Assessor Jeff Prang leads the largest local public property assessment agency in the nation. His office of about 1,400 appraisers and support staff are dedicated to creating an accurate and timely property Assessment Roll. This year, the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office conducted more than 2.5 million real estate and business assessments valued at nearly $2 trillion.