LA Live Properties, LLC v. County of Los AngelesAnnotate this Case
After paying the taxes due under escape assessments, LA Live brought a tax refund action against the County seeking a refund of those taxes. LA Live claimed that the Assessor failed to comply with the procedural requirements of Revenue and Taxation Code section 531.8. The trial court entered judgment for the County, finding that the Assessor's failure to wait 10 days before enrolling the escape assessments did not render them void, and LA Live had failed to exhaust its administrative remedies before pursuing the present action.
The Court of Appeal affirmed and concluded that the trial court correctly concluded that LA Live's claim is not reviewable on the merits because LA Live did not exhaust its administrative remedies. The court explained that, by statute, a taxpayer is required to file administrative requests for reassessment and refund before filing a refund action in court. Furthermore, the administrative exhaustion requirement is jurisdictional unless the assessment is a nullity as a matter of law. In this case, the assessment was not legally null: Even if the Assessor failed to follow the statutory procedure set out in section 531.8, that failure did not render the assessment a nullity because the real property at issue was not tax exempt, nonexistent, or outside the County's jurisdiction.