As a resident of Los Angeles County it would be reasonable for you to expect to pay the highest property tax rates in places like Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach, and Malibu.
However, that’s just not the case.
Los Angeles County’s highest property tax rates are paid in the poorest cities.
Property tax rates in Los Angeles County are a combination of assessments per $1,000 of assessed value that include levies from the county and the city you live in.
Because the rate for Los Angeles County property taxes is around 1%, anything above that is caused by the rates charged by the city in which you live.
So what’s causing residents in the poorest cities in Los Angeles County to pay the highest property tax rates?
For starters some of the problem is caused by government waste at the city and municipal level.
Bell property tax rates are the highest of all but one of Los Angeles County’s 88 cities. The city of Bell recently made national news when it was reported that it was paying its top administrator almost $800,000 per year at the same time it was cutting spending on police and community services.
The property tax rate in Bell is 1.55% which means that if you live there in a $400,000 home your annual property tax bill is $6,200. Compare that to the owner of the same house in Malibu who pays $4,400 in taxes due to the lower rate of just 1.10%.
What’s wrong with this picture?
The problem of higher property taxes in poorer cities is also due to three other factors:
Smaller cities are more dependent on property taxes than their larger more affluent counterparts because there aren’t as many businesses located there to throw off sales tax revenue.
In addition, these smaller cities don’t enjoy the higher property values that some beach communities in Los Angeles County have.
Finally, the less affluent cities don’t have the space available to build new homes or businesses which severely limits the size of the property tax base.
While you might not like the fact that you could be paying a higher Los Angeles County property tax rate in one of its smaller, less affluent cities, don’t forget those homes in Malibu are worth a lot more.
As a result there is still a good chance that a Malibu homeowner is paying a much higher annual property tax bill than you are.