Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2010

Revenue and Taxation Code

Property Taxation

Part 9. Corrections, Cancellations, and Refunds

Chapter 4. Cancellations

Article 1. Generally

Section 4985.2

4985.2. Delinquent penalties; cancellation. Any penalty, costs, or other charges resulting from tax delinquency may be canceled by the auditor or the tax collector upon a finding of any of the following:

(a) Failure to make a timely payment is due to reasonable cause and circumstances beyond the taxpayer's control, and occurred notwithstanding the exercise of ordinary care in the absence of willful neglect, provided the principal payment for the proper amount of the tax due is made no later than June 30 of the fourth fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the tax became delinquent.

(b) There was an inadvertent error in the amount of payment made by the taxpayer, provided the principal payment for the proper amount of the tax due is made within 10 days after the notice of shortage is mailed by the tax collector.

(c) The cancellation was ordered by a local, state, or federal court.

History.—Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 808, in effect January 1, 1979. This section amended old section 2617.5 and was renumbered to section 4985.2. The "(1)" was added between the words "that" and "the"; also the phrase "for the proper amount of the tax due" was added after the word "payment". In addition, the phrase beginning with "(2) there was" was added and replaced the phrase "within 30 days after the second delinquency date." Stats. 1979, Ch. 242, in effect July 10, 1979, substituted "penalty or costs" for "delinquent penalty on property", added "2621," after "2618,", added "2706," after "2705,", deleted "assessee's" after "(1) the", and substituted "taxpayer" for "assessee" in subdivision (a); substituted "taxpayer" for "assessee" in the first sentence, and deleted "or within 60 days following the effective date of this Act, whichever is later" after "paid" in the second sentence of subdivision (b); and deleted "or redemption officer" after "tax collector" in subdivision (c). Stats. 1983, Ch. 1224, in effect January 1, 1984, substituted "Any penalty . . . tax delinquency" for "(a) Any uncollected penalty or costs provided for in Sections 2617, 2618, 2621, 2704, 2705, 2706, or 2922" before "may be", substituted "auditor or the tax collector" for "tax collector or the auditor" after "by the", substituted "no later than . . . became delinquent" for "within 90 days after the first delinquency date or within 30 days after the second delinquency date" before "or, (2)", and deleted former subdivisions (b) and (c). Stats. 1990, Ch. 992, in effect January 1, 1991, substituted "of any of the following:" for "that" after "finding", substituted new subdivision (a) for "(1)", substituted "Failure" for "the failure", after "(a)", substituted "in" for "and" after "ordinary care", and substituted a period for ", or," after "became delinquent" in subdivision (a), substituted new subdivision (b) for "(2)", substituted "There" for "there" after "(b)" in subdivision (b), and added subdivision (c). Stats. 1991, Ch. 532, in effect January 1, 1992, deleted "with the approval of the board of supervisors" in the first paragraph. Stats. 1996, Ch. 800, in effect January 1, 1997, added "fourth" after "June 30 of the" in subdivision (a).

Construction.—Subdivision (c), which allows tax collector to cancel property tax delinquency charges when cancellation is ordered by a court, applies only when a court issues such cancellation pursuant to other statutory provisions and does not independently authorize trial courts to make orders requiring counties to cancel delinquency penalties. People ex rel. Strumpfer v. Westoaks Inv. #27, 139 Cal.App.4th 1038. The auditor or tax collector does not have discretion whether to cancel delinquency penalties or to ignore a court order. If a taxpayer presents conclusive proof that it has established the factual predicates set out in subdivisions (a) and (b), but the official refuses to make the corresponding subdivision (a) or (b) finding, or if the corresponding finding is made but the official then refuses to exercise the authority to cancel the penalties, such refusal would be grounds for a Code of Civil Procedure Section 1085 petition for traditional mandamus. Id.