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The primary reason the Lake County Assessor is promoting the e-filing of the Property Statement is the storage of historical filing details by the taxpayer. When you e-file your Property Statement, the system will save the information filed and have it available for the subsequent year. As a result, the time it takes for you to e-file your Property Statement is minimized. Also, in an effort to maximize efficiency for the Assessor's office, the one-page Request to File Letter replaces multiple sheets of paper that have historically been sent for the Property Statement. The one-page letter saves postage for the Assessor as well as e-filing saves postage for the taxpayer.
Per the California Revenue and Taxation Code (Section 441), every person who owns, claims, possesses, or controls tangible personal property not specifically exempted, shall file a Property Statement upon request of the Assessor. Generally, personal property that is assessable consists of business property used in the conduct of a business (i.e., machinery and equipment, office furniture and equipment, tools, computer equipment, and leasehold improvements), boats, aircraft, and mobile equipment. Since you have received a Request to File Letter, you are required to e-file a Property Statement with the Assessor.
The e-filed Property Statement indicates that the Statement is to be filed by April 1. However, according to The California Revenue and Taxation Code (Section 441 and 463), the taxpayer has until May 7 (or the next business day if May 7 is on a weekend) to e-file the Statement. If not e-filed by May 7, our office must add a 10% late filing penalty. Note that the online portal for e-filing is open until 11:59 pm on May 31, however, the statement must be submitted by 11:59 on May 7 to be considered filed timely.
If you received a Request to File Letter, electronic filing is the preferred method of filing. Important information that you will need for e-filing is included in the Request to File Letter including your Assessment Number, Business Identification Number (BIN), and Property Statement Code (Form ID). To proceed with e-filing visit our e-File website.
If we received an e-filed Property Statement that is not completed properly, our office may return the Statement for proper completion. We will include a Send Back Letter with the returned Statement identifying the reason(s) it was returned. Also included will be a new Business Identification Number (BIN) that will be needed to access the online portal. Many of the remaining frequently asked questions will shed some insight on many of the common problems we find with Business Property Statements. After reviewing the Send Back Letter and these frequently asked questions, please contact our office if you still do not understand why it was sent back.
While completing the e-filed Property Statement, all items on the Statement must be addressed properly, including each of the following. Per Revenue and Taxation Code Section 441(g), the Assessor will not accept a statement determined to be in error. The following are typical problem areas on the Business Property Statement:
Per the instructions provided, it asks for you to make the necessary corrections to the name, mailing address, and location of the business property. Do this by re-keying the information. If the location of the property is incorrect, but you are still located in Lake County, please be sure to document the correct date in Part 1 (d). If you closed your business or moved out of Lake County, please complete, sign and date the "Business Closed, Sold, or Moved Form," and attached it as part of the return.
There are several companies that have software that generates a statement similar to the requested Property Statement. Per Revenue and Taxation Code Section 441.5, the Assessor has taken the position to not accept software-generated statements in lieu of the original. Software-generated statements may be used as an attachment to the original e-filed statement if all items are addressed properly. If not valid, your statement may be returned for correction and/or considered to be an invalid filing.