Rouda Joins OC Congressional Caucus to Ask County for Property Tax Delay

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Rep. Harley Rouda speaks at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Wake Up Newport meeting in October 2019. Photo by Sara Hall

Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) joined members of the Orange County congressional caucus Friday to ask the Orange County Board of Supervisors to push the deadline for property taxes to July 1 to address financial fallout from the coronavirus.

Orange County property owners are currently required to remit their property tax by April 10. If the Board of Supervisors agrees to the representatives’ proposal, delinquent taxes would accrue penalties of 1.5% each month after the July deadline, the congressional representatives’ letter states.

“Orange County small businesses are shuttering, workers about being laid off, and families are wondering how they will put food on the table,” Rouda said in a prepared statement. “The Orange County Board of Supervisors should consider doing everything in their power to help struggling Orange County families, including delaying April’s property tax and delinquency tax deadlines.”

The March 20 letter to the Board of Supervisors was also signed by Reps. Gil Cisneros, Luis Correa, Alan Lowenthal, Linda Sanchez, Mike Levin, and Katie Porter.

The U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS announced that Americans owning up to $1 million in federal income taxes and businesses owing up to $10 million federal income tax would have until July 15 to make payments without penalty or interest, the letter states.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that authorizes local governments to halt evictions for renters, landlords, and homeowners. That directive also slows foreclosures and protects against utility shutoffs for California residents impacted by the coronavirus.

The letter inked by Rouda and his fellow representatives also chastised the County for the lack of clarity in its March 17 order banning public and private gatherings outside of households, except for “essential activities.”

“[O]ur offices received questions from many constituents stating that the County’s guidance created more confusion and forced them to go home one day under shelter in place orders but be forced to report the next day as if nothing had happened,” the letter states. “This sudden change in guidance was not only confusing but was also dangerous as it did not promote the safety precautions prescribed by public health experts.”

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, whose district includes Laguna Beach, was not immediately available for comment Friday morning.

“After consulting with County CEO and County Counsel, the County does not have the power to extend a deadline on property taxes, that responsibility lies solely with the State,” said Megan Dutra, a spokesperson for Bartlett’s office.

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