Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

California Constitutional Provisions

ARTICLE XIII Revenue and Taxation

Section 12

Sec. 12. Tax rates on unsecured property. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), taxes on personal property, possessory interests in land, and taxable improvements located on land exempt from taxation which are not a lien upon land sufficient in value to secure their payment shall be levied at the rates for the preceding tax year upon property of the same kind where the taxes were a lien upon land sufficient in value to secure their payment.

(b) In any year in which the assessment ratio is changed, the Legislature shall adjust the rate described in subdivision (a) to maintain equality between property on the secured and unsecured rolls.

History.—The amendment of November 2, 1976, added the subdivision letters, substituted "Except as provided in subdivision (b), taxes" for "Taxes" in the first sentence of subdivision (a), and added subdivision (b).

Construction.—The purpose of subdivision (b) is to assure that in any year in which the assessment ratio is changed, taxes on the unsecured roll are fairly assessed by adjusting the current rate for the unsecured roll to accurately reflect the rate for the prior year's secured roll. The subdivision is in furtherance of the principle of successive year equality between the rolls, but it may not be used to compel roll uniformity in the same year. R. E. Hanson, Jr. Mfg. v. Los Angeles County, 27 Cal.3d 870.

Decisions Under Former Article XIII, Section 9a.

Construction—constitutionality.—The last sentence of this section means that the assessed value of the property referred to shall be equalized in the same manner as that of other property, in accordance with the present value of the property. It does not mean that the rate shall be adjusted to the rate for the current year on other property. As so construed the section is valid. Abrams v. San Francisco, 48 Cal.App.2d 1.

Under this section the Legislature may determine what interests constitute sufficient security, as long as they are such that they can reasonably fall within the term "land." The 1943 amendment to Section 107 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, providing that leasehold estates for the production of oil and gas shall be placed on the secured roll, does not violate this section. Delaney v. Lowery, 25 Cal.2d 561; Hoyt v. Woody, 25 Cal.2d 947.