Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2014
 

Government Code Provisions

Provisions Relating to Municipal Taxation

TITLE 4. GOVERNMENT OF CITIES

DIVISION 4. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

CHAPTER 1. Property Tax Assessment, Levy, and Collection


Provisions Relating to Municipal Taxation*

TITLE 4. GOVERNMENT OF CITIES

DIVISION 4. FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

Chapter 1. Property Tax Assessment, Levy, and Collection**

* Subject to the exception in the case of cities operating under freeholders' charters, a municipality seeking to exercise the power of taxation must find express authority from the Legislature; see Von Schmidt v. Widber, 105 Cal. 151; see also, notes to Article XI, Section 11 of the Constitution.

** The provisions of this chapter, except as otherwise noted, were added by Stats. 1949, p. 222, effective October 1, 1949.

Article 1. General

43000. System of tax assessments. By ordinance the city legislative body shall provide a system for the assessment, levy, and collection of city taxes not inconsistent with this title.

Transient lodging tax ordinance.—Bakersfield, a charter city, has the general power to levy taxes for revenue, however, a criminal prosecution under an ordinance imposing a transient lodging tax was ineffective; the state preempted the field of punishment for refusal or neglect to pay over public monies and the attempt of the local body to impose a different penalty is null and void. People v. Evans, 249 Cal.App.2d 254.

43001. Liens. Taxes assessed, penalties for delinquency, and costs of collection are liens on the property assessed. Taxes upon personal property are liens upon the owner's real property to the extent permitted in the case of county taxes by Chapter 2, Part 4, Division 1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

History.—Stats. 1953, p. 2092, in effect September 9, 1953, added portion beginning "to the extent."

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43002. Attachment of liens. Tax liens attach as of 12:01 a.m. on the first day of January of each year.

History.—Stats. 1966, p. 653 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, added "at noon." Stats. 1967, p. 2243, operative January 1, 1968, substituted "as of 12:01 a.m. on the first day" for "at noon on the first Monday" of March. Stats. 2003, Ch. 296 (SB 66) , in effect January 1, 2004, substituted "January" for "March" after "first day of" in the first sentence.

43003. Enforcement. Tax liens may be enforced by either of the following:

(a) (1) A sale of the real property affected and execution and delivery of necessary certificates and deeds, under regulations prescribed by ordinance. The regulations shall include a requirement that notice of the proposed sale be sent to the parties of interest, as defined in Section 4675 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, by the method set forth in Section 3701 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

(2) Section 3701 of the Revenue and Taxation Code applies to the sending of notice and the validity of sale under this subdivision as though fully set forth in the subdivision, except that, for purposes of this subdivision:

(A) The reference in Section 3701 to "written authorization of the Controller" means the earliest time when, pursuant to an ordinance adopted to comply with this subdivision and without the inclusion of any periods of notice otherwise required, the real property may be sold to enforce the lien.

(B) The reference to "tax collector" means the official charged by an ordinance adopted pursuant to this subdivision with the duty of conducting the sale.

(3) The city shall charge a fee for providing notice pursuant to this section in an amount which does not exceed the estimated reasonable cost.

(b) Action to foreclose the liens in any court of competent jurisdiction.

History.—Added by Stats. 1949, Ch. 79, effective October 1, 1949. Stats. 1985, Ch. 475, effective January 1, 1986, added "either of the following" after "by" in the first paragraph, added "(1)" after (a), and added the second sentence thereto, and added subsections (a)(2) and (a)(3).

43004. Tax deeds. Deeds made upon any sale of property for taxes or special assessments have the same effect in evidence as deeds for property sold for nonpayment of county taxes.

43004.5. Assessed value; comparison of assessed values, tax rates or property tax revenues. (a) For purposes of this part, assessed value means 25 percent of full value to, and including, the 1980–81 fiscal year, and 100 percent of full value for the 1981–82 fiscal year and fiscal years thereafter; and, tax rates shall be expressed in dollars, or fractions thereof, on each one hundred dollars ($100) of assessed value to and including the 1980–81 fiscal year and as a percentage of full value for the 1981–82 fiscal year and fiscal years thereafter.

(b) Whenever this code requires comparison of assessed values, tax rates or property tax revenues for different years, the assessment ratios and tax rates shall be adjusted as necessary so that the comparisons are made on the same basis, and the same amount of tax revenues would be produced, or the same relative value of an exemption or subvention will be realized regardless of the method of expressing tax rates or the assessment ratio utilized.

(c) For purpose of expressing tax rates on the same basis, a tax rate based on a 25 percent assessment ratio and expressed in dollars, or fractions thereof, for each one hundred dollars ($100) of assessed value may be multiplied by a conversion factor of twenty-five hundredths of 1 percent to determine a rate comparable to a rate expressed as a percentage of full value; and, a rate expressed as a percentage of full value may be multiplied by a factor of 400 to determine a rate comparable to a rate expressed in dollars, or fractions thereof, for each one hundred dollars ($100) of assessed value and based on a 25 percent assessment ratio.

History.—Added by Stats. 1978, Ch. 1207, in effect January 1, 1979, operative January 1, 1981.

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43005. Distribution of proceeds from sale. In the case of a sale of property for taxes or special assessments, all proceeds shall be accounted for and distributed as provided in Article 12 (commencing with Section 53925) of Chapter 4 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5.

History.—Added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 648, in January 1, 1978.

43005.7. Waiver of penalty and interest on storm and flood damaged property. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the legislative body of a city which collects its own taxes may by ordinance waive any penalties and interest on the second half of taxes, unpaid and delinquent at 5 p.m. on April 12, 1965, on any property damaged in excess of five hundred dollars ($500) by storms and floods occurring between December 1, 1964, and January 30, 1965, in an area proclaimed by the Governor to be in a state of disaster. With respect to those penalties and interest, the waiver shall constitute a complete relinquishment of all legal claim thereto by the city.

Any ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall waive all those penalties and interest on taxes due the city, effective at 5 p.m. on April 12, 1965, and for all time thereafter, but shall not operate to reduce any tax delinquent at that time.

History.—Added by Stats. 1965, p. 1061, in effect April 26, 1965. Stats. 1983, Ch. 1281, in effect Sept. 30, 1983, deleted the former third paragraph, and made grammatical corrections throughout the section.

43006. Assessment of property damaged by major misfortune or calamity. [Repealed by Stats. 2003, Ch. 296 (SB 66), in effect January 1, 2004.]

43007. Improvement destroyed without fault. Notwithstanding any other contrary provisions of law, the city legislative body may by ordinance provide that every person of the city who on the lien date of any year was the owner of, or had in his possession, or under his control, any taxable improvement, which improvement was thereafter destroyed without his fault by fire or by any other means prior to July 31 of that year and cannot be thereafter rebuilt because of a zoning prohibition, may on or before a date to be specified in such ordinance make application for the reassessment of such improvement and deliver to the assessing official of the city a written statement under oath, accompanied by a certificate of a disinterested competent person or authority showing the condition and value, if any, of the improvement immediately after the destruction, and that the assessor shall, on or before October 31 of that year, assess the improvement, or reassess it if it has already been assessed, according to the condition and value immediately after the destruction and upon such notice as it may find to be proper the board of equalization for the city may, until November 30 of that year, equalize any such assessment or reassessment. It may also be provided in such ordinance that the tax rate fixed property on the roll on which the improvement so assessed appears or the improvement so reassessed appeared at the time of its original assessment shall be applied to the amount of equalized assessment or reassessment determined in accordance with this section. In the event that the resulting figure is less than the tax theretofore computed, the ordinance may provide that the taxpayer shall be liable for tax only for the lesser amount and that the difference shall be canceled. If the taxpayer has already paid the tax previously computed, the ordinance may provide that such difference shall be refunded to the taxpayer. This section shall be applicable to all cities to which the Constitution does not prevent it from being applied.

History.—Added by Stats. 1963, p. 692, in effect September 20, 1963. Stats. 1966, p. 653 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, substituted "on the lien date" for "at 12 o'clock meridian of the first Monday in March."

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43008. Lien; delinquency in payment of utility services. (a) A lien on real property that results from the delinquency in payment of rates or charges, or the collection of future rates or charges, whether or not added to the tax assessment rolls, for water or other utility services supplied to the owners or occupants of real property by a utility owned or operated by a city, as defined in Section 53368, or a city and county, except a lien to discharge bonded indebtedness, shall be subordinate to any prior recorded lien on the property.

(b) A city or city and county may provide that upon the transfer of fee title as evidenced by recordation of a grant deed, trustee's deed of sale, or other similar instrument, or upon transfer of the utility service of a property containing a master-metered, multifamily residential building of over four units, which building is provided water or power, or both, by a municipal utility owned or operated by a city or city and county, the transferee shall be required to notify the municipal utility of the change in title or service within 30 days of the transfer.

The municipal utility may require such a transferee to deposit with the utility, as security, up to six months of estimated reasonable utility charges with the utility, which deposit may be held by the utility for a period not to exceed two years. The utility may extend the requirement for the security deposit for an additional two years if the owner has been more than 30 days delinquent two or more times within the deposit period. The utility may also waive the security deposit requirement, at its discretion.

In the event a deposit is required of the transferee and the deposit is not paid, or the transferee fails to notify the utility within the time period provided, the utility shall have the right to record a lien against the property for the amount of the required deposit. The lien shall take effect only upon proper recordation in the county recorder's office in which the property is located, and shall be subordinate to all prior recorded liens on the property.

The failure of the transferee to provide notice to the utility of the transfer or to provide the security deposit shall not affect the validity of the transfer of title to the transferee or the priority of liens on the property existing prior to recordation of the utility's lien.

To the extent not inconsistent herewith, the existing rights of a city-owned or county-owned utility regarding imposition of a security deposit are preserved.

This subdivision shall not apply to transfers of title or service to court-appointed receivers.

(c) This section shall not be construed as evidence that an ordinance providing for priority liens which was enacted prior to January 1, 1996, was invalid or valid from the time of its enactment until January 1, 1996, and nothing in this section shall require a refund of any moneys collected pursuant to such an ordinance.

History.—Added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 604, in effect January 1, 1996.

43009. Security deposit; waiver of. In exercising its discretion to waive the security deposit authorized by subdivision (b) of Section 43008, a utility shall consider the creditworthiness of the transferee, and any other factors determined by the utility.

History.—Added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 833, in effect January 1, 1996.

43013. Reassessment of property damaged by misfortune or calamity. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the legislative body of a chartered city which assesses and collects its own property taxes may, by ordinance, provide that every person who at 12:01 a.m. on March 1 was the owner of, or had in his possession or under his control, any taxable property, or who acquired such property after such date and is liable for the taxes thereon for the fiscal year commencing the immediately following July 1, which property was thereafter damaged or destroyed, without his fault, by a misfortune or calamity, may, within the time specified in the ordinance, make application for the reassessment of such property and deliver to the assessing official of the city a written statement showing the condition and value, if any, of the property immediately after the damage or destruction, which damage must be shown thereon to be in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000). The application shall be executed under penalty of perjury or, if executed outside the State of California, verified by affidavit.

Upon receiving a proper application, the assessor shall reassess the property according to its full cash value immediately after the damage or destruction. The assessor shall notify the applicant in writing of the amount of the proposed reassessment. The notice shall state that the applicant may appeal the proposed reassessment to the local board of equalization within 14 days of the date of mailing the notice. If an appeal is requested within the 14-day period, the board shall hear and decide the matter as if the proposed reassessment had been entered on the roll as an assessment made outside the regular assessment period. The decision of the board regarding the damaged value of the property shall be final, provided that a decision of the local board of equalization regarding any reassessment made pursuant to this section shall create no presumption as regards the value of the affected property subsequent to the date of the damage.

If the damaged full cash value of the property as determined above is not at least five thousand dollars ($5,000) less than the full cash value shown on the assessment roll for the year in question, no adjustment shall be made to said roll and no taxes shall be canceled or refunded. Those reassessed values resulting from reductions in full cash value of at least five thousand dollars ($5,000), as determined above, shall be forwarded to the auditor by the assessor or the clerk of the board, as the case may be. The auditor shall enter the reassessed values on the roll. After being entered on the roll, said reassessed values shall not be subject to review except by a court of competent jurisdiction.

If no such application is made and the county assessor determines that the full cash value of such property for the assessment year is reduced by more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) from the full cash value of the property for the immediately preceding assessment year due to the damage or destruction caused by the misfortune or calamity, the assessor shall notify the property owner that the property will be reassessed. The assessor shall assess the property, or reassess it if it has already been assessed, according to the condition and value immediately after the damage or destruction, and the assessor, if he reassesses the property, shall transmit to the local board of equalization a description of the property so reassessed, the name of the person making the application in connection with the property, if any, or the name of the property owner notified of the reassessment, and the value of the property as so reassessed. Upon such notice as it may find to be proper, the local board of equalization shall equalize any such assessment or reassessment.

As used in this section, "damage" includes property which has diminished in value as a result of restricted access to the property where such diminution in value was caused by the misfortune or calamity.

The tax rate fixed for property on the roll on which the property so assessed appears or the property so reassessed appeared at the time of its original assessment shall be applied to the amount of the equalized assessment or reassessment determined in accordance with this section. In the event that the resulting figure is less than the tax theretofore computed, the tax shall be determined as follows:

(a) With respect to property on the secured roll, a prorated portion of the tax due on the property as originally assessed at the rate established for the property on the secured roll for the current fiscal year, such proration to be determined on the basis of the number of months in the year during which the property was in an undamaged condition plus a proration of the tax due on the property as reassessed in its damaged or destroyed condition at the rate established for property on the secured roll for such fiscal year, such proration to be determined on the basis of the number of months in the year in which the property was in a damaged condition, including the month in which the damage was incurred.

(b) With respect to property on the unsecured roll, a prorated portion of the tax shall be computed on the original assessment of the property and a prorated portion of the tax computed on the reassessment of the property as determined in the preceding paragraph.

Any tax paid in excess of the total tax due shall be refunded to the taxpayer pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 5096) of Part 9 of Division 1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, as an erroneously collected tax.

History.—Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 901, p. 1677, in effect January 1, 1974, operative June 5, 1974. Stats. 1976,Ch. 1388, p. 6291, in effect September 30, 1976, deleted "in any year," after "taxes may", deleted "the immediately preceeding" after "on", and substituted "five thousand dollars ($5,000)" for "one thousand dollars ($1,000)" in the first sentence of the first paragraph; and substituted "five thousand dollars ($5,000)" for "one thousand dollars ($1,000)" in the first and second sentences of the third paragraph and in the first sentence of the fourth paragraph.

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43061. Redemption period. Property sold for city taxes is subject to redemption within a redemption period of at least five years upon such terms as the legislative body prescribes by ordinance.

43062. Effect of tax. Every tax has the effect of a judgment against the person, and every tax lien has the effect of an execution levied against all property of the delinquent.

43063. Satisfaction and removal. The judgment is not satisfied nor the lien removed until the taxes are paid or the property sold for payment except that the tax lien ceases to exist for all purposes after thirty years from the time the tax became a lien.

43064. Conclusive presumption. Every tax is conclusively presumed to have been paid after thirty years from the time it became a lien, unless the property has been sold pursuant to law for the payment of the tax.

43065. Equalization. Unless the city avails itself of the general laws relative to the assessment and collection of city taxes by county officers, at the first regular meeting in July the legislative body shall sit as a board of equalization, and continue in session from day to day until all returns of the assessor have been rectified. It shall hear complaints, and correct, modify, or strike out any assessment made by the assessor. Of its own motion it may raise any assessment, after notice to the person whose assessment is to be raised.

43066. Notice. Notice of the time and place of sitting shall be given in the manner prescribed by ordinance.

43067. Corrected list. The corrected list for each tax is the assessment roll upon which the tax is levied for that year. The city clerk, acting as clerk of the board of equalization, shall certify the corrected list as being the assessment roll.

43069. Same: Where sea walls. [Repealed by Stats. 1977, Ch. 309, in effect July 8, 1977.]

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43070. Bond levy. [Repealed by Stats. 1977, Ch. 309, in effect July 8, 1977.]

43071. General laws. This article does not prevent the legislative body from exercising the power granted by general laws relative to the assessment and collection of taxes by county officers.

43072. Tax rate. [Repealed by Stats. 1977, Ch. 309, in effect July 8, 1977.]

43073. Increase in city rate to pay district taxes. (a) The legislative body of any city which is encompassed entirely within the territory of a special district may elect to pay the district an amount equal to the amount the district would derive from its share of property tax allocations applicable to all property within the incorporated limits of the city.

(b) If a legislative body makes an election pursuant to subdivision (a), the county auditor shall reallocate property taxes due to the special district within the incorporated limits of the city to the city.

The county auditor shall report to the State Controller the amount of property taxes reallocated to a city pursuant to this subdivision, as well as the total amount of property taxes allocated to the city pursuant to Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 95) of Part 0.5 of Division 1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code. No reallocation made pursuant to this subdivision shall affect any allocations of property tax revenues to the city or special district in subsequent fiscal years pursuant to Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 95) of Part 0.5 of Division 1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

(c) If a city legislative body makes an election pursuant to subdivision (a), and upon apportionment of taxes by the county, the reallocated amounts shall be paid by the city or transferred by the county auditor to the district.

(d) If the legislative body of a city makes an election pursuant to subdivision (a), the legislative body shall notify the county auditor by no later than the first day of September of the fiscal year in which the election becomes effective.

(e) For purposes of this section, "special district" means any special district where the county board of supervisors act as, or has appointed, the governing body of the districts providing fire or library services to one or more cities or any county library service established under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 27151) of Division 20 of the Education Code provided for one or more cities, if all property within the city is taxed to support the service.

(f) This section does not apply in any case in which a city is making the payments described in this section to a district on the effective date of this section.

(g) If any additional costs are incurred by a county as a result of an election under this act by a city, the county may collect the costs from the city.

(h) This section shall apply only to cities which are in counties which have a population of 6,000,000 or more.

History.—Added Stats. 1973, Ch. 358, p. 779, in effect August 31, 1973. Stats. 1980, Ch. 1220, in effect September 29, 1980, substituted "the" for "such" after "pay", after "amount" and before the last "city" in subdivision (a), before the second "election" in subdivision (d), after "support" in subdivision (e) and before the second "county" in subdivision (g); substituted "share of property tax allocations applicable to" for "tax on" before "all property" in subdivision (a); substituted the balance of the first sentence after "(a)," in the first paragraph of and added the second paragraph to subdivision (b); substituted the balance of the first sentence after "(a)," in subdivision (c); and, deleted "county assessor, and county tax collector" after "auditor" and deleted the balance of the sentence after "effective" in subdivision (d). Stats. 1981, Ch. 714, in effect January 1, 1982, substituted "the" for "such" before "district" in subdivision (e), and substituted "does" for "shall" in subdivision (f).

Note.—Section 8 of Stats. 1980, Ch. 1220, provided no payment by state to local governments because of this act; however, a local agency or school district may pursue other remedies to obtain reimbursement.

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Article 2. Alternative Methods

43090. Election. This article does not apply to any city governed by general law until its legislative body elects to avail itself of the article.

43091. Ordinance. If the legislative body elects to proceed under this article, annually on or before the lien date, it shall pass an ordinance to that effect and file a certified copy of the ordinance with the auditor of the county in which the city is situated.

History.—Stats. 1966, p. 654 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, substituted "lien date" for "first Monday in March."

43092. Annual meeting. The legislative body shall meet annually on the first Monday in August, and by ordinance fix the amount of money necessary to be raised by taxation upon the taxable property in the city, as a revenue to operate the various city departments and to pay the city indebtedness for the current year.

43093. Property value statement. Annually on or before the third Monday in August, the county auditor shall transmit to the legislative body of each city within the county a written statement showing the total value of all property within the city.

43094. Ascertainment of value. The value shall be ascertained from the county assessment-book for the year, as equalized and corrected by the board of supervisors.

43095. Tax rate. On the first Monday of October, the city legislative body shall fix the tax rate, designating the number of cents upon each one hundred dollars ($100) and using as a basis the value of property as assessed by the county assessor and returned to the legislative body by the county auditor.

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43096. Sufficiency of rate. The tax rate shall be sufficient to raise the amount fixed by the legislative body.

43097. Transmission to auditor. The legislative body shall immediately transmit to the county auditor a statement of the tax rate so fixed.

43098. Auditor's accounts. The auditor shall compute and enter in a separate column in the assessment book, to be headed "City Tax, City of ________" (naming it), the respective sums, in dollars and cents, to be paid as a city tax on the property therein enumerated and assessed as being in any city. He shall use the rate fixed by the legislative body and the assessed value as found in the assessment book.

43099. Collection. Taxes levied pursuant to this article shall be collected at the time and in the manner as county taxes.

43100. Payment to city treasurer. When collected, the net amount shall be paid to the treasurer of the city to which it belongs, under the general requirements and penalties provided by law for the settlement of other taxes.

43101. Deductions. On the filing of itemized statements by the county auditor and county tax collector showing the additional expense to their offices of assessing and collecting city taxes, by an order spread upon its minutes, the board of supervisors may deduct such expenses from the taxes of each city while in the hands of the county tax collector and order the amount transferred to the county salary fund.

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