Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

Revenue and Taxation Code

Property Taxation

Part 1. General Provisions

Chapter 1. Construction

Section 104

104. "Real estate"; "real property." "Real estate" or "real property" includes:

(a) The possession of, claim to, ownership of, or right to the possession of land.

(b) All mines, minerals, and quarries in the land, all standing timber whether or not belonging to the owner of the land, and all rights and privileges appertaining thereto.

(c) Improvements.

Apply to Bank and Corporation Franchise Tax Act.—The terms "real property" and "personal property" as used here and in the Bank and Corporation Franchise Tax Act have the same meaning. San Diego Trust & Savings Bank v. San Diego County, 16 Cal.2d 142; Jameson Petroleum Co. v. State, 11 Cal.App.2d 677.

Public lands.—When occupants or claimants of public lands of the United States have done everything required of them, the land is subject to taxation, even though no patent has been issued. People v. Shearer, 30 Cal. 645.

Under federal law.—What constitutes real property for taxation purposes, within the meaning of federal law, as well as the State Constitution, is determinable by the law of this State if there is reasonable basis for the determination and no discrimination against federal instrumentalities. Trabue Pittman Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 29 Cal.2d 385.

Conflicts with other definitions.—For purposes of taxation, the definitions of real property in the revenue and taxation laws of the state control irrespective of whether they conform to definitions used for other purposes. Trabue Pittman Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 29 Cal.2d 385.

Equitable title.—A taxpayer who has contracted to purchase realty from the United States, conditioned upon conveyance of clear title, and who is in temporary possession pending clearance of a clouded title and conveyance, does not have equitable title to the property and may not be assessed for the fee interest. Parr-Richmond Industrial Corporation v. Boyd, 43 Cal.2d 157.

Water rights.—Water rights become taxable when they are a pre-emptive right, notwithstanding that no appropriation has been made of the water represented by such rights, since the mere right to take water is a property right and is taxable as such. Tuolumne County v. State Board of Equalization, 206 Cal.App.2d 352.

Transferable development rights.—The sort of property in land that is taxable is not limited to the title in fee but is sufficiently comprehensive to include any usufructuary interest. Whether or not such rights, which allow a purchaser, in developing its property, to exceed the maximum floor area ratio otherwise allowed under a city redevelopment plan, are actually embodied within the definition of air rights, which are classified under "land" in property tax rule 124 or represent something entirely separate, they are appropriately viewed as one of the fractional interests in the complex bundle of rights arising from the ownership of land. Mitsui Fudosan (U.S.A.), Inc. v. Los Angeles County, 219 Cal.App.3d 525.

Oil and gas rights.—The possessory interest of the operator under an oil and gas lease, but not the retained royalty interest of the government, constitutes real property for purposes of taxation. The "working interest" of the government, however, in a "unit contract" for a pressurized oil field constitutes real property under this section. Atlantic Oil Co. v. Los Angeles County, 69 Cal.2d 585.