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.
What's it to Us?
Then why does 1.50% sales tax increase this even concern us?
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 get into 2021:
- 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 first of the year, 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.
- 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 in 2021.
* 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.