Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2011
 

Property Tax Rules

Title 18, Public Revenues California Code of Regulations

DIVISION 1. STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION

CHAPTER 1. STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION—PROPERTY TAX

Subchapter 4. Equalization by State Board (370–500)

Article 4. Change in Ownership and New Construction (460–500)

Rule 462.160

Rule 462.160. Change in Ownership—Trusts.

Reference: Section 60, 61, 62, 63, 63.1 note, and 64, Revenue and Taxation Code. Section 15606, Government Code.

(a) CREATION. General Rule. The transfer by the trustor, or any other person, of real property into a trust is a change in ownership of such property at the time of the transfer.

(b) EXCEPTIONS. The following transfers do not constitute changes in ownership:

(1) Irrevocable Trusts.

(A) Trustor-Transferor Beneficiary Trusts. The transfer of real property by the trustor to a trust in which the trustor-transferor is the sole present beneficiary of the trust. However, a change in ownership of trust property does occur to the extent that persons other than the trustor-transferor are or become present beneficiaries of the trust unless otherwise excluded from change in ownership.

Example 1: M transfers income-producing real property to revocable living Trust A, in which M is the sole present beneficiary. Trust A provides that upon M's death, Trust A becomes irrevocable, M's brother B becomes a present beneficiary, and income from the trust property is to be distributed to B for his lifetime. Upon M's death, 100%of the property in Trust A, representing B's present beneficial interest, undergoes a change in ownership.

Where a trustee of an irrevocable trust has total discretion ("sprinkle power") to distribute trust income or property to a number of potential beneficiaries, the property is subject to change in ownership, because the trustee could potentially distribute it to a non-excludable beneficiary, unless all of the potential beneficiaries have an available exclusion from change in ownership.

Example 2: H and W transfer real property interests to the HW Revocable Trust. No change in ownership. HW Trust provides that upon the death of the first spouse the assets of the deceased spouse shall be distributed to "A Trust", and the assets of the surviving spouse shall be distributed to "B Trust", of which surviving spouse is the sole present beneficiary. H dies and under the terms of A Trust, W has a "sprinkle" power for the benefit of herself, her two children and her nephew. When H dies, A Trust becomes irrevocable. There is a change in ownership with respect to the interests transferred to the A Trust because the sprinkle power may be exercised so as to omit the spouse and children as present beneficiaries for whom exclusions from change in ownership may apply, and there are no exclusions applicable to the nephew. However, if the sprinkle power could be exercised only for the benefit of W and her children for whom exclusions are available, the interspousal exclusion and the parent/child exclusion would exclude the interests transferred from change in ownership, provided that all qualifying requirements for those exclusions are met.

Example 3: Same as Example 2 above, except that "A Trust" is without any sprinkle power. When H dies, A Trust becomes irrevocable. Since A Trust holds the assets for the benefit of W, the two children, and the nephew in equal shares, with any of W's share remaining at her death to be distributed to the two children and the nephew in equal shares, there is a change in ownership only to the extent of the interests transferred to the nephew, providing that the parent/child exclusion of Section 63.1 and the interspousal exclusion of Section 63 apply to the interests transferred to the two children and to W respectively. Upon the death of W, there is a change in ownership to the extent of the interests transferred to the nephew, although the parent/child exclusion of Section 63.1 may exclude from change in ownership the interests transferred to the two children. If A Trust had included a sprinkle power, instead of specifying the beneficiaries of the trust income and principal, then as in Example 2, none of the exclusions would apply.

(B) 12 Year Trustor Reversion Trusts. The transfer of real property or ownership interests in a legal entity holding interests in real property by the trustor to a trust in which the trustor-transferor retains the reversion, and the beneficial interest of any person other than the trustor-transferor does not exceed 12 years in duration.

(C) Irrevocable Trusts Holding Interests in Legal Entities. The transfer of an ownership interest in a legal entity holding an interest in real property by the trustor into a trust in which the trustor-transferor is the sole present beneficiary or to a trust in which the trustor-transferor retains the reversion as defined in subdivision (b)(1)(B) of this rule. However, a change in ownership of the real property held by the legal entity does occur if Revenue and Taxation Code section 61(i), 64(c) or 64(d) applies because the change in ownership laws governing interests in legal entities are applicable regardless of whether such interests are held by a trust.

Example 4: Husband and Wife, partners in HW Partnership who are not original coowners, transfer 70 percent of their partnership interests to HW Irrevocable Trust and name their four children as the present beneficiaries of the trust with equal shares. Husband and Wife do not retain the reversion. Under Revenue and Taxation Code section 64(a) the transfer of the partnership interests to HW Irrevocable Trust is excluded from change in ownership because no person or entity obtains a majority ownership interest in the HW Partnership.

(2) Revocable Trusts. The transfer of real property or an ownership interest in a legal entity holding an interest in real property by the trustor to a trust which is revocable by the trustor. However, a change in ownership does occur at the time that a revocable trust becomes irrevocable unless the trustor-transferor remains or becomes the sole present beneficiary or unless otherwise excluded from change in ownership.

(3) Interspousal Trusts. The transfer is one to which the interspousal exclusion applies. However, a change in ownership of trust property does occur to the extent that persons other than the trustor-transferor's spouse are or become present beneficiaries of the trust unless otherwise excluded from change in ownership.

(4) Parent-Child or Grandparent-Grandchild Trusts. The transfer is one to which the parent-child or grandparent-grandchild exclusion applies, and for which a timely claim has been made as required by law. However, a change in ownership of trust property does occur to the extent that persons for whom the parent-child or grandparent-grandchild exclusion is not applicable are or become present beneficiaries of the trust unless otherwise excluded from change in ownership.

(5) Proportional Interests. The transfer is to a trust which results in the proportional interests of the beneficiaries in the property remaining the same before and after the transfer.

(6) Other Trusts. The transfer is from one trust to another and meets the requirements of (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5).

(c) TERMINATION. General Rule. The termination of a trust, or portion thereof, constitutes a change in ownership at the time of the termination of the trust.

(d) EXCEPTIONS. The following transfers do not constitute changes in ownership:

(1) Prior Change in Ownership. Termination results in the distribution of trust property according to the terms of the trust to a person or entity who received a present interest (either use of or income from the property) when the trust was created, when it became irrevocable, or at some other time. However, a change in ownership also occurs when the remainder or reversionary interest becomes possessory if the holder of that interest is a person or entity other than the present beneficiary unless otherwise excluded from change in ownership.

Example 5: B transfers real property to Trust A and is the sole present beneficiary. Trust A provides that when B dies, the Trust terminates and Trust property is to be distributed equally to R and S ,who are unrelated to B. B dies, Trust A terminates, and the transfers of the Trust property to R and S result in changes in ownership, allowing for reassessment of 100 percent of the real property.

(2) Revocable Trusts. Termination results from the trustor-transferor's exercise of the power of revocation and the property is transferred by the trustee back to the trustor-transferor.

(3) Trustor Reversion Trusts. The trust term did not exceed 12 years in duration and, on termination, the property reverts to the trustor-transferor.

(4) Interspousal Trusts. Termination results in a transfer to which the interspousal exclusion applies.

(5) Parent-Child or Grandparent-Grandchild Trusts. Termination results in a transfer to which the parent-child or grandparent-grandchild exclusion applies, and for which a timely claim has been filed as required by law.

(6) Proportional Interests. Termination results in the transfer to the beneficiaries who receive the same proportional interests in the property as they held before the termination of the trust.

(7) Other Trusts. Termination results in the transfer from one trust to another and meets the requirements of (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), or (6) of subdivision (b).

(e) For purposes of this rule, the term "trust" does not include a Massachusetts business trust or similar trust, which is taxable as a legal entity and managed for profit for the holders of transferable certificates which, like stock shares in a corporation, entitle the holders to share in the income of the property. For rules applicable to Massachusetts business trusts or similar trusts, see Section 64 of the Revenue and Taxation Code and Rule 462.180, which address legal entities.

History: Adopted June 29, 1978, effective July 3, 1978.

Amended September 26, 1978, effective October 2, 1978.

Repealed Old Rule and Adopted New Rule August 16, 1979, effective August 22, 1979.

Amended November 13, 1979, effective December 6, 1979.

Amended May 5, 1981, effective August 12, 1981.

Amended November 16, 1994, effective December 16, 1994. Renumbered, formerly 462(i).

Amended September 10, 1997, effective February 20, 1998.