Laws, Regulations & Annotations
Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2011
Revenue and Taxation Code
Part 2. Assessment
Chapter 3. Assessment Generally
Article 1. General Requirements
408.2. Public records open to public inspection. (a) Except as otherwise provided in Sections 63.1, 69.5, 451, and 481 of this code and in Section 6254 of the Government Code, any information and records in the assessor's office which are required by law to be kept or prepared by the assessor, other than homeowners' exemption claims, are public records and shall be open to public inspection. Property receiving the homeowners' exemption shall be clearly identified on the assessment roll. The assessor shall maintain records which shall be open to public inspection to identify those claimants who have been granted the homeowners' exemption.
(b) The assessor may provide any appraisal data in his or her possession to the assessor of any county and shall provide any market data in his or her possession to an assessee of property or his or her designated representative upon request. The assessor shall permit an assessee of property or his or her designated representative to inspect at the assessor's office any information and records, whether or not required to be kept or prepared by the assessor, relating to the appraisal and the assessment of his or her property. Except as provided in Section 408.1, an assessee or his or her designated representative, however, shall not be provided or permitted to inspect information and records, other than market data, which also relate to the property or business affairs of another person, unless that disclosure is ordered by a competent court in a proceeding initiated by a taxpayer seeking to challenge the legality of his or her assessment.
(c) The assessor shall disclose information, furnish abstracts, or permit access to all records in his or her office to law enforcement agencies, the county grand jury, the board of supervisors or their duly authorized agents, employees or representatives when conducting an investigation of the
assessor's office pursuant to Section 25303 of the Government Code, the Controller, probate referees, employees of the Franchise Tax Board for tax administration purposes only, the State Board of Equalization, and other duly authorized legislative or administrative bodies of the state pursuant to their authorization to examine the records.
(d) For purposes of this section, "market data" means any information in the assessor's possession, whether or not required to be prepared or kept by him or her, relating to the sale of any property comparable to the property of the assessee, if the assessor bases his or her assessment of the assessee's property, in whole or in part, on that comparable sale or sales. The assessor shall provide the names of the seller and buyer of each property on which the comparison is based, the location of that property, the date of the sale, and the consideration paid for the property, whether paid in money or otherwise, but for purposes of providing market data, the assessor shall not display any document relating to the business affairs or property of another.
(e) This section applies only to a county with a population that exceeds 4,000,000.
History.—Added by Stats. 1981, Ch. 523, in effect January 1, 1982. Stats. 1984, Ch. 678, in effect January 1, 1985, substituted "probate" for "inheritance tax" before "referees" in subdivision (c); and deleted former subdivision (f) which would have repealed this section of the code on January 1, 1985. Stats. 1985, Ch. 200, effective January 1, 1986, added "or her" after each "his" and substituted "that" for "such" after "unless" in the third sentence of subdivision (b); added a comma after "abstracts", added "employees of the Franchise Tax Board for tax administration purposes only," after "referees,", and substituted "the" for "such" after "examine" in subdivision (c); and added "or her" after each "him" and "his", substituted "that" for "such" after "on" in first sentence, and substituted "that" for "such" after "location of" and deleted "such" after "providing" in second sentence of subdivision (d). Stats. 2005, Ch. 264 (SB 555), in effect January 1, 2006, added "63.1, 69.5," after "in Sections" and added a comma after "451" in the first sentence of subdivision (a) and substituted "applies" for "shall apply" after "This section" and substituted "that" for "which" after "with a population" in the first sentence of subdivision (e).
Note.—Section 3 of Stats. 1981, Ch. 523, which added Sections 408.2 and 409, provided that the Legislature finds and declares that a special law is necessary and that a general law cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because of unique circumstances in Los Angeles County which are not common to other counties. The assessor's office in Los Angeles County has expended considerable time and funds developing a data base from which details concerning properties within the county can be generated. The assessor's office receives numerous requests for specified information available from the data base, but because current law only permits the assessor to charge any party making such a request the cost of duplicating information, the assessor's office must absorb considerable costs in filing such request. This act is necessary to permit the assessor of Los Angeles County to recover the cost of providing information which he is not by law required to prepare or keep.
Note.—Section 6 of Stats. 1985, Ch. 200, provided reimbursement to local governments for costs mandated by the State pursuant to this act.