Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2013

Property Tax Annotations

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Annotation 220.0445

220.0445 Options. Purchase options are not specifically covered by current statutes. The general rule is that a change in ownership occurs when the option is exercised. Exceptions to this rule do occur, however, when the agreement is not truly an option but is actually a form of sales agreement or contract.

A purchase option obligates only the selling party. Even though the potential purchaser (the optionee) has no legal obligation to purchase the property, there are circumstances where he is economically compelled to complete the transaction. This would occur whenever the optionee would realize a significant and immediate equity in the property merely by exercising the option. For example, if the option specifies a selling price that is significantly less than the current market value, or in the case of a lease/purchase option, when the lessee is paying more than economic rent and the excess is being applied toward the purchase price, a sales contract would exist. When significant equity is present at the time the option is originated or it can be determined at the time of origination that equity will be established with certainty within a short period, the option is a form of sales agreement and revaluation should occur as of the date the option was created.

Lease options are addressed in Property Tax rule 462(e)(1). Pursuant thereto, the 35-year lease term pertaining to the revaluation of properties subject to long-term leases is determined by combining the terms of the base lease and renewal options. LTA 10/7/1980 (No. 80/147).