Laws, Regulations & Annotations
Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2014
Property Tax Annotations
630.0000 PERSONAL PROPERTY
630.0009 Conditional Sales Agreement. Conditional sales leases are agreements whereby the seller accepts periodic payments for the purchase price while retaining title to the property for security purposes. Revenue and Taxation Code section 405 gives the assessor the authority to assess persons owning, claiming, possessing, or controlling property. With regard to leased property, because the lessor is the owner but the property is in the possession and control of the lessee, either the lessor or the lessee may be the assessee. We have advised that property subject to a true lease should typically be assessed to the lessor, while property subject to a conditional sales contract should usually be assessed to the lessee since the lessee is considered the owner of the property. It is our opinion that this method of assessment helps to avoid double taxation, to ensure correct application of property tax exemptions, and to allow for the proper valuation of the property subject to lease. Should a county choose to assess the lessor instead, then precautions should be taken to ensure that property is not subject to double taxation. C 12/21/2010.