Utilities and Property Tax Cases in California

A property tax case that is about ten years old, could cost the people of Los Angeles county, the tax payers, forty five million dollars.  Just this past June, LA County which is just north of Orange County, lawyers were preparing for what may be some of the largest payouts regarding the class action law suit regarding that tax of one hundred and seventy two million dollars.  This was a tax on utilities that was an illegal tax, imposed in 1991, without ever having been placed on a voting ballot.

Changes in taxes is required by law, to be up for a vote.  LA County was in the process of cutting budgets and tightening the belt on spending in response to the continued poor state of the economy, and this settlement is now going to cost them millions and millions.  The suit was filed on behalf of those taxpayers, including a new suit filed a couple weeks ago, will result in the amount of payouts will far exceed the total amount paid out in the previous year. 

Taxes had been charged illegally to almost four hundred thousand Los Angeles residents and unincorporated business owners.  These people had been paying these taxes for many years.  And just last week, more talks were in the works regarding another illegal tax, this one that was charged to more than one hundred thousand property and home owners.  The bill for these payouts, or paybacks rather plus interest, will reach up to forty five million dollars. 

Attorneys state that these are to cases that are rare, in that they are extremely large.  Lawyers for the county of Los Angeles take on more than fifteen hundred different cases each year, accident, injury and liability cases. In total they result only forty five million dollars in settlements and most involve just a few people.  This tax case for the illegal utility taxes has been the only one to reach settlement in 2009.

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