Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

Revenue and Taxation Code

Property Taxation

Part 3. Equalization

Chapter 1. Equalization by County Board of Equalization

Article 1. Generally

Section 1605.5

1605.5. Property subject to change in ownership or newly constructed. (a) (1) The county board shall hear applications for a reduction in an assessment in cases in which the issue is whether or not property has been subject to a change in ownership, as defined in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 60) of Part 0.5, or has been newly constructed, as defined in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 70) of Part 0.5.

(2) In any county that has established an assessment appeals board, the board of supervisors may, by ordinance, provide that it shall act as the county board of equalization for the purpose of hearing applications pursuant to this subdivision.

(3) This subdivision shall not be construed to alter, modify, or eliminate the right of an applicant under existing law to have a trial de novo in superior court with regard to the legal issue of whether or not that property has undergone a change in ownership or has been newly constructed so as to require reassessment.

(b) The county board shall hear and decide issues with respect to penalties assessed under Section 463, 482, or 504 where those issues arise in connection with an application timely filed under Section 1603 or 1605. The county board shall hear and decide penalty issues under this subdivision regardless of whether the taxpayer has filed an application for reduction disputing only penalty amounts or, during the appeal process, all nonpenalty issues are resolved.

History.—Added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 1457, effective January 1, 1987. Stats. 1993, Ch. 387, in effect January 1, 1994, added subdivision letter and paragraph number "(a)(1)" before "The county" in the first paragraph; added paragraph number (2) before the second paragraph, and substituted "that" for "which" after "county" and substituted "subdivision" for "section" after "to this" therein; added paragraph number (3) before the third paragraph, and substituted "subdivision" for "section" after "this" therein; and added subdivision (b).

Change in ownership 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. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 1605.5, subdivision (a), expressly vests county boards with jurisdiction to adjudicate change in ownership disputes between assessors and taxpayers and contemplates that such disputes will be resolved by the local appeals board before resort is made to the courts. 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.