The Office of Finance may give notice of assessment pursuant to LAMC (Los Angeles Municipal Code) Section 21.16 to a taxpayer whenever it determines that a tax is due or may be due to the City of Los Angeles. The notice shall state the principal tax due, as determined or estimated by the Office of Finance, plus applicable interest and penalty through the date of the assessment.
The taxpayer has an administrative right to appeal the assessment. Effective January 1, 2002, LAMC Section 21.16 provides the taxpayer with two levels of appeal. The first level is a hearing before an Assessment Review Officer and the second level is a hearing before the Board of Review. A taxpayer cannot proceed to the second level unless heard on the first level. The taxpayer need not go to both levels and a hearing before an Assessment Review Officer, if not appealed to the Board of Review, is deemed an exhaustion of the full administrative remedies available to the taxpayer.
The primary objective of this appeal procedure is to provide an administrative opportunity to the taxpayer and the City to resolve the tax disputes fairly and without litigation while the secondary objective is to streamline the entire hearing process.
The Assessment Review Officer is a Senior Tax Auditor in the Office of Finance, who is not involved in the audit or collection process of the case being appealed. The Assessment Review Officer has a strong background in taxes administered by the City of Los Angeles.
To accord the Assessment Review Officer with a fair degree of independence, this position reports directly to the Director of Finance. He/She is expected to apply the body of tax law reasonably and impartially while striving for uniformity and consistency with respect to taxpayers in similar circumstances. His/Her decision shall be based on the merits of the case and the evidence presented by the assessed party and the representative of the Office of Finance.
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