Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

California Constitutional Provisions

ARTICLE XIII Revenue and Taxation

Section 18

Sec. 18. State board to measure and conform county assessment levels. The Board shall measure county assessment levels annually and shall bring those levels into conformity by adjusting entire secured local assessment rolls. In the event a property tax is levied by the state, however, the effects of unequalized local assessment levels, to the extent any remain after such adjustments, shall be corrected for purposes of distributing this tax by equalizing the assessment levels of locally and state-assessed properties and varying the rate of the state tax inversely with the counties' respective assessment levels.

Decisions Under Former Article XIII, Section 9.

Power of board.—The first proviso of this section is to be read distributively, as authorizing the State Board to increase or lower the entire assessment roll of any county but not the individual assessments, and the county boards to increase or lower individual assessments (other than assessments made by the state board) upon the roll of their respective counties but not the entire roll. Wells Fargo & Co. v. State Board of Equalization, 56 Cal. 194; People v. Sacramento County, 59 Cal. 321; San Francisco & N. P. R. R. v. State Board of Equalization, 60 Cal. 12; Baldwin v. Ellis, 68 Cal. 495.

An order of the state board increasing an assessment roll requires an increase in the valuation of all property on the roll other than money. People v. Dunn, 59 Cal. 328; Schroeder v. Grady, 66 Cal. 212. The assessment roll is not complete until the expiration of the time within which the State Board is empowered to increase or lower the assessment roll. Koch v. Board of Supervisors, 138 Cal.App. 343.

The state board has the power to subpoena a corporation's books and records as part of an intercounty equalization survey, even though the corporation owns no property subject to assessment by the board. Redding Pine Mills, Inc. v. State Board of Equalization, 157 Cal.App.2d 40 (cert. denied, 358 U.S. 818).

The state board's subpoena power extends to matters relevant to intercounty equalization surveys where the capitalization of income method is used. California Portland Cement Co. v. State Board of Equalization, 67 Cal.2d 578.

Mandamus.—The California Supreme Court refused to take original jurisdiction on a petition by the state board for a writ of mandate to direct a county to increase its entire assessment roll where a prior proceeding in mandamus brought by the county involving the same parties and the same issues was pending in the superior court. People v. Tulare County, 45 Cal.2d 317.

Full cash value.—The State Board of Equalization is not compelled to require county assessments to be made at 100% of market value; the board has the duty to equalize the valuation of taxable property in several counties and it may be equalized at a uniform fraction or ratio of its full cash or market value. Hanks v. State Board of Equalization, 229 Cal.App.2d 427.