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California Tax Agent Registration

by Scott Donald, Irvine, July 2013

 

The California Legislature is considering a new law that would require the registration of all property tax agents in the state.

 

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County is implementing its own agent registration program starting this month.

 

Statewide Registration

 

Assembly Bill 1151 was introduced by former San Francisco Assessor, now Assemblyman Phil Ting. The bill requires any agent who represents a property owner to be registered with the Secretary of State.

 

AB 1151 was last amended on May 7 and remains in committee. If approved, it would become effective July 1, 2014. However at this point, it appears this legislation will not make it to the floor for a vote. We are being advised that it will have to be revisited either as an attachment to another bill or start over as a new bill in a new legislative year.

 

L.A. County

 

On April 30th, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted County Code 2.165, which implements a registration program for all property tax agents within L.A. County.

 

Agents are required to register with the Executive Office of the Board of Supervisors within 30 days after July 1, 2013 (or within the first 30 days of first becoming a tax agent) and pay a $250 fee.

 

Centralization is Key

 

States such as Arizona and Texas have statewide tax agent registration programs that work well for all parties involved. They allow authorities to identify agents in good standing and provide owners peace of mind.

 

Officials acknowledge that handling registration at the county level burdens local officials with additional work and obligations. It also makes it difficult for tax agents if counties develop conflicting independent programs.

 

If AB 1151 or some other version of the statewide registration legislation is approved, Los Angeles County will revoke its program and adhere to a statewide plan.