Our Rossmoor - A Great Place To Live Since 1957

One More Reason to Reside In “Rossmoor”

Updated: October 1, 2022

As many of you know, the City of Los Alamitos narrowly passed (by 114 votes) Measure Y  in our recent November elections.

Measure Y allows the city to raise the sales tax by 1.50% from 7.75% to 9.25% tying Santa Ana for the highest sales tax rate in the county.  

Los Al becomes the 10 Orange County city to raise their sales tax rates joining Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, La Habra, La Palma, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, and Westminster.

As Rossmoor residents, we did not get to vote on Measure Y. And that is how it should be. We don’t live in Los Alamitos, so we should not vote on city issues.

City Of Los Alamitos
In 2021, Los Alamitos Will Equal The Highest Sales Tax Rate In The County At 9.25%

What's it to Us?

Then why does 1.50% sales tax increase this even concern us?

Good question.

And it may not other than when we buy taxable goods in Los Alamitos. And still, it could matter. 


Why It May Matter

Since we currently* share the 90720 Zip Code with the city of Los Alamitos, most online retailers like Amazon determine the sales tax rate based on the delivery Zip Code. 

When the 2021 tax rates are updated to reflect the 1.50% increase, there is a fairly high probability that you will be charged 9.25% in sales tax on some of your online orders. This is because the merchant based the tax rate on your Zip Code rather than your street address.

Sure, it’s only fifteen cents on every ten-dollar purchase. But that’s $1.50 on every hundred dollars you spend at Amazon and other online retailers that drop items off at your door. I’ll let you do the math on how much you spent with Amazon and other online retailers in 2020.

There has been a history of Rossmoor being charged fees that we should not be paying. For example, several years ago, the Los Alamitos utility tax appeared on at least some Rossmoor resident’s Edison bills. In time, the issue was satisfactorily resolved, but only because Rossmoor residents called Edison out on the error.

The Sales Tax Rate for Rossmoor is 7.75%

What Can You Do?

We are not sure this will be a real issue and we won’t know for sure until after the first of the year.

Here are some things to keep in mind as we work to be taxed correctly

  • First and foremost, use Rossmoor as your billing and shipping address. This at least denotes that you live in Rossmoor and not in Los Alamitos. Rossmoor is your legal address.
  • Second, watch the tax amounts you are charged. The tax rate should be 7.75%. After the sales tax increase, if you find you are being charged 9.25% or any other rate above 7.75%, then you should notify the seller of their incorrect sales tax rates and request a refund or correction.  See update below for more information.
  • Third, contact the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration at 800.400.7115 and let them know about the incorrect taxes being charged and by whom.

Everyone should pay their taxes and sales taxes are no exception. However, unless you want to donate your money to the city of Los Alamitos, you may want to keep an eye on the online purchases you make after the increased Los Alamitos sales tax rate goes into place in April of 2021.

Requesting a Seller to Change the Tax Rate

Some sellers use correct tax tables to base their shipped taxes on, while the systems other sellers use are out of date or do not take into account that Rossmoor does not have the same sales tax rate as our neighboring cities (Los Al: 9.29%, Seal Beach: 8.75%).

When contacting a seller who has charged you an incorrect sales tax amount, you may be asked to “prove” that the tax rate you were charged is incorrect. The first time you have to do this may take some time to figure out. But, you may be able to use these shortcuts to support your case.

  1.  The State of California has a neat little lookup tool for sales tax rates. Sending the Vendor this site and or a screenshot of this site with your address in the box showing the correct tax rate goes a long way to making your case. Here’s the link: https://gis.cdtfa.ca.gov/default.aspx
  2. Stick to your guns and document everything. Ture for less than a dollar, it’s not always worth it, but if is a larger amount (almost $20 on a new iPhone) or it’s a principle thing (I don’t want to pay more than I have to or give/donate extra money to the City of Los Alamitos), then make sure you you keep the correspondence and images you send to the seller. Then when you submit your complaint to the State (see item 3 above), you are using their sales tax look up to support your case. It can take some time but it also feels good to not get ripped off by sellers just because they can.

* Once upon a time, Rossmoor did have its own Zip Code: 90721.

The Zip Code was “lost” when the Los Alamitos Post Office expanded into its current facility on Reagan Street. It was at that time the USPS  decided the 90721 Zip Code would be better used as  the Post Office Box Zip Code rather than representing Rossmoor. 

10 Responses

  1. The math is wrong, by a factor of 10. In other words, for every 10 dollar purchase, it is actually 15 cents more (not $1.50), and for every 100 dollar Amazon purchase, it is $1.50 (not $15) more.

  2. Thank you for the info.
    Please note the correction below: the new tax increase is 1.5%, so its a buck and a half for each $100 purchase, (not $15 / $100 as mentioned above). This is still significant for big purchases, however. (This would mean an additional $450 tax on a $30,000 car for example)

  3. I am a bit confused on your math.
    a delta of 1.5% would mean $1.50 extra tax on 100 dollars spent.
    please check your article, as the math does not appear to be correctly stated.

    1. That is a good question Susan.

      The Sales Tax needs to be calculated by address, not Zip Code. I believe that once the issue is surfaced, the services most major online retailers use will update their tax tables. It would be ideal to have our own Zip Code again, but that is a difficult process to navigate with the Postal Service.

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