Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

Property Tax Annotations

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See Farmland Security Zone; Land Use Restrictions ; Open Space Lands

210.0005 Alternative Use of Contract Property. A local government may not approve an alternative use of Williamson Act contract property which is not consistent with its current general plan under the "window" provisions of Chapter 1095 of the Statutes of 1981. OAG 6/5/1984 (No. 83-1201, Vol. 67, p. 247).

210.0007 Annexation by City. A Williamson Act contract becomes null and void on the date the subject land is annexed to a city, provided that land is within one mile of the city's border at the time the contract was executed, the city had its protest approved by the local agency formation commission, and the city states its intent not to succeed to any contract rights in its resolution of intent to annex. In such circumstances, cancellation fees would not be applicable. C 12/22/1983.

210.0010 Local Agency Formation Commission Hearing on City's Protest to Contract After Execution of Contract. Where a city, pursuant to Government Code section 51243.5 has filed a protest to a Williamson Act contract, but the Local Agency Formation Commission does not hold a hearing on such protest before the execution of the contract by the board of supervisors, the Commission may still thereafter properly hold a hearing on and uphold the city's protest.

The legal effect of the Local Agency Formation Commission upholding the city's protest after the Williamson Act contract has been executed is the same as if it had been upheld before execution thereof. OAG 7/30/1985 (No. 85-301, Vol. 68, p. 204).

210.0025 Public Agency. The purchase of property subject to a California Land Conservation Act contract by a public agency, if not by eminent domain or in lieu of eminent domain, does not cancel the contract. The property is subject to tax under section 11, article XIII of the California Constitution, if (1) the situs of the property acquired is outside the boundaries of the public agency, and (2) the property was taxable when it was acquired. C 10/25/2006.

210.0028 Valuation. Revenue and Taxation Code section 423.3 allows counties the option of further limiting the values of restricted properties, by allowing but not requiring cities or counties to assess the four land types in section 423.3 at a percentage of the property's factored base year value under section 110.1 rather than at its full factored base year value under section 110.1. Sections 423(d) and 423.3 provide for a value comparison requiring the assessor to value enforceably restricted open-space land at the lower of the property's section 423 value (capitalized income value), its section 110 value (fair market value), its section 110.1 value (factored base year value), or, if authorized by the county, its value as calculated under section 423.3. If a county has adopted the provisions of Section 423.3, the assessor should not value restricted properties below 70 percent, 80 percent, or 90 percent of the factored base year value. Whatever percentage is chosen, when multiplied by the factored base year value, serves as the maximum value that may be assessed on the property. C 1/31/2014.

210.0029 Valuation. Property which is subject to a contract under the California Land Conservation Act, restricts its use in exchange for a reduced valuation for property tax purposes. Property is also subject to a Warranty Easement Deed in favor of the United States (the Easement). The easement is a wetlands reserve program easement pursuant to the federal Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) administered by the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Services. The WRP provides payments and cost sharing to farmers in exchange for restoring farmed wetlands.

Under Revenue and Taxation Code section 423, an assessor is prohibited from using the comparative sales method of valuation except as provided under sections 423.7 and 423.8. Section 423.7 provides that when valuing open-space land subject to a wildlife habitat contract, as defined by section 421(f), all assessors and the county board must value that land pursuant to the special comparative sales valuation method contained in that section. The purpose of enacting the special comparative sales valuation method was to give relief to taxpayers whose property was eligible for inclusion under the Land Conservation Act but where the local government had not implemented the Land Conservation Act or the assessee chose not to enter into a Land Conservation Act contract with the local government to restrict the property.

Since the Property is Land Conservation Act property, the Property qualifies for valuation under section 423. Section 423.7 is merely an alternative valuation method to be used where valuation under section 423 is unavailable to a taxpayer. Thus, section 423.7 is not to be used by an assessor merely because it is subject to a wildlife habitat contract if that property may also qualify for relief under section 423. C 8/30/2012.

210.0030 Valuation of Unrestricted Nonliving Improvements. Nonliving improvements should be treated as a separate appraisal unit (from the restricted land on which they are located) and enrolled at the lower of factored base year value or market value. C 4/4/1994.