Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

California Constitutional Provisions

ARTICLE XIII Revenue and Taxation

Section 33

Sec. 33. Legislature to enact necessary revenue laws. The Legislature shall pass all laws necessary to carry out the provisions of this article.

Appeals.—Pursuant to authority granted under California Constitution article XIII, section 33, the Legislature has statutorily established a three-step process for handling challenges to local property tax assessments and refund requests. A taxpayer seeking judicial relief must first exhaust his remedies before the administrative body empowered initially to correct the error. In the local property tax context, application of the exhaustion principle means that a taxpayer ordinarily may not file or pursue a court action for a tax refund without first applying to the local board of equalization for assessment reduction under Revenue and Taxation Code Section 1603 and filing an administrative tax refund claim under Revenue and Taxation Code Section 5097. For purposes of the exhaustion requirement, the filing of a refund claim under Section 5097 generally does not excuse a taxpayer's failure first to file with the local board of equalization an application for assessment reduction under Section 1603. The third and final step in the process is the filing of an action in superior court pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code Section 5140. Steinhart v. County of Los Angeles (2010) 47 Cal. 4th 1298.

Decisions Under Former Article XIII, Section 13.

Power of Legislature.—Under this section the Legislature may define "improvements." Miller v. Kern County, 137 Cal. 516.

The Legislature may fix the mode and means of ascertaining the value of any property to be assessed. Wells Fargo & Co. v. State Board of Equalization, 56 Cal. 194, and may prescribe the powers and duties of boards of equalization. Napa Savings Bank v. Napa County, 17 Cal.App. 545.