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Personal Property Taxes and Unsecured Property Taxes

These taxes are based on the value of business assets which are not registered vehicles, inventory, or real estate. The county mails a valuation form each Summer which shows the value of property reported in prior years.

New equipment is added and retired equipment is subtracted from the forms The results are run through the giant billing machine in the County at the current real estate base tax rate and the bill follows several months later.

The property [physical assets] live on their trending schedule which holds the taxable value remarkably high until extinction after a long life of twenty years.

Property that is fully depreciated cannot be deleted from the list unless it is disposed of. Pizza ovens which live very long and obsolete or broken equipment lying in the back of the shop are included.

Best to sell or scrap unusable equipment ASAP to get them off the list. Yes, they do visit. I was once the Division Controller of a manufacturing plant in Duarte when we got a call from the conglomerate headquarters in Cleveland that the County auditors were there to look at the books on the equipment [which was working in Duarte].

There was a time [for business historical interests] when inventory was taxable and businesses used to ship everything out of state for the lien date. Some businesses stayed out of state afterward, which resulted in the ultimate change in the taxation efforts.

There is now a section for electronic equipment with a shorter life. Supplies are listed and taxed as well. At least there are no Mello Roose taxes in these bills.

* Phillip B Chute is an Enrolled Agent, tested, licensed and appointed by the IRS directly. He has prepared or supervised over 25,000 tax returns over 30 years.

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