Laws, Regulations & Annotations
Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2010
Revenue and Taxation Code
Part 9. Corrections, Cancellations, and Refunds
Chapter 2. Corrections
Article 1. Generally
4831. Incorrect entries; transfers to unsecured roll. (a) Any error resulting in incorrect entries on the roll may be corrected under this article. The correction may be made at any time after the roll is delivered to the auditor but, except as provided in subdivision (b), shall be made within four years after the making of the assessment that is being corrected. This section does not apply to either of the following:
(1) Except as provided in subdivision (b), errors involving the exercise of value judgments.
(2) Escape assessments caused by the assessee's failure to report the information required by Article 2 (commencing with Section 441) of Chapter 3 of Part 2.
If any error referred to in this subdivision is discovered as the result of an audit of a taxpayer's books and records, that error may be corrected at any time prior to the expiration of six months after the completion of the audit.
(b) Any error or omission involving the exercise of a value judgment that arises solely from a failure to reflect a decline in the taxable value of real property as required by paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 51 shall be corrected within one year after the making of the assessment that is being corrected.
(c) Taxes that are not a lien or charge on the property assessed may be transferred from the secured roll to the unsecured roll of the corresponding year by the county auditor. These taxes shall be collected in the same manner as other delinquent taxes on the unsecured roll and shall be subject to delinquent penalties in the same manner as taxes transferred to the unsecured roll under Section 5090. The statute of limitations for the collection of those taxes shall commence to run from the date of transfer.
History.—Stats. 1967, p. 1488, in effect November 8, 1967, inserted "or other errors . . . intended by the assessor" after "exercise of", and substituted "prior to the expiration . . . is being corrected" after "clerk of the county board and" in the first sentence and added all the rest. Stats. 1970, p. 355, in effect November 23, 1970, added the fifth paragraph. Stats. 1971, p. 3524, in effect March 4, 1972, substituted "four" for "three" in the first sentence of the first paragraph. Stats. 1973, Ch. 1190, p. 2504, in effect January 1, 1974, added "an inspection of the property, the records of assessee, or from" after "ascertained from", and "or which result in the assessment of nonexistent improvements or personal property" before "may be corrected" in the first paragraph; deleted former second, third and fourth paragraphs relating to a transfer to or encumbrance by a bona fide purchaser for value of property for which a correction increasing assessed value is made; added present second paragraph; and retained present last paragraph unchanged. Stats. 1974, Ch. 284, p. 549, in effect January 1, 1975, added the subdivision letters, and added subdivision (d). Stats. 1978, Ch. 732, in effect January 1, 1979, added the last sentence of subdivision (a). Stats. 1979, Ch. 516, in effect January 1, 1980, restated subdivision (a); deleted former subdivision (b); relettered former subdivision (c) as subdivision (b); substituted "are not" for "do not create, impose or constitute", and "their legal counsel." for "the district attorney" in the first sentence of subdivision (b), and substituted "these taxes" for "and" in the second sentence of subdivision (b); and relettered former subdivision (d) as subdivision (c). Stats. 1980, Ch. 411, in effect July 11, 1980, operative January 1, 1981, substituted "5090" for "4986" after "Section" in the second sentence of subdivision (b). Stats. 1981, Ch. 261, in effect January 1, 1981, substituted "incorrect entries" for "the entry of incorrect values" before "on the roll" in the first sentence of subdivision (a). Stats. 1983, Ch. 1224, in effect January 1, 1984, deleted "of the assessor" after "error" in the first sentence, added "either of" after "apply to" in the third sentence, and deleted "or" after "judgments" in subsection (1) of the first paragraph, and substituted "error referred to in this subdivision" for "such error" after "any" and substituted "that" for "such" after "records," in the second paragraph of subdivision (a); and substituted "those" for "such" after "collection of" in the third sentence of subdivision (b). Stats. 1988, Ch. 830, in effect January 1, 1989, deleted "(c) Any liens created pursuant to this section prior to the effective date of Chapter 1190 of the Statutes of 1973 (January 1, 1974), shall have the force, effect and priority of a judgment lien, and shall continue for 10 years from the time of recording of the certificate authorized under this section unless sooner released or otherwise discharged." Stats. 1991, Ch. 532, in effect January 1, 1992, deleted "on order of the board of supervisors with the written consent of their legal counsel" after "county auditor" in the first sentence of subdivision (b). Stats. 1995, Ch. 164, in effect July 24, 1995, added ", except as provided in subdivision (b)," after "auditor but" in the second sentence of subdivision (a), and substituted "Except as provided in subdivision (b), errors" for "Errors" in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a); added subdivision (b); and relettered former subdivision (b) as (c). Stats. 1995, Ch. 527, in effect January 1, 1996, added ", including an assessor's . . . value of property" after "this article" in the first sentence, and substituted "that" for ‘'which" after "the assessment" and added ", except that an . . . the affected roll" after "being corrected" in the second sentence in subdivision (a). Stats. 1996, Ch. 1087, in effect January 1, 1997, deleted ", including an assessor's failure to apply subdivision (b) of Section 51, in any case in which that subdivision applies, to determine the taxable value of property" after "under this article" in the first sentence and deleted ", except that an assessor's failure, as described in the preceding sentence, to apply subdivision (b) of Section 51 shall be corrected within one year of the delivery of the affected roll" after "that is being corrected" in the second sentence of subdivision (a); substituted "paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 51 shall be" for "subdivision (b) of Section 51, may be" after "as required by" in subdivision (b); and substituted "that" for "which" before "are not a lien" in the first sentence of subdivision (c).
Construction.—Former subdivision (a) (Stats. 1974, Ch. 284) was intended to provide the assessor with a simple and efficient mechanism for correcting clerical defects or errors discovered after the assessment roll had been delivered to the auditor, provided it could be ascertained from an inspection of certain designated sources that such an error had in fact occurred. An increased assessment pursuant thereto was not authorized where no discrepancy between the original assessment and the assessor's intent could be ascertained from such sources, in that the evidence indicated only that the original assessment was based upon capital depreciation figures submitted by plaintiff rather than the assessor's initial figures and that all such figures were accurate in every respect. United States Borax & Chemical Corp. v. Mitchell, 27 Cal.3d 84.
Time for correction.—Notwithstanding subdivision (b), delay in establishing a Section 51 decline in value reduction extends the time period for correcting an error in assessment until after the property has been reappraised and the taxable value established. El Dorado Palm Springs, Ltd. v. Board of Supervisors, 104 Cal.App.4th 1262.
Improper exemption.—The erroneous entry of an exemption on the assessment roll may be corrected under this section. Pasadena University v. Los Angeles County, 190 Cal. 786.
Mandamus.—Action under this article by the county board and the district attorney may be compelled by a writ of mandate when property which is exempt from taxation has been erroneously assessed. State Land Settlement Board v. Henderson, 197 Cal. 470.