Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

Revenue and Taxation Code

Property Taxation

Part 4. Levy of Tax

CHAPTER 2. Effect of Tax

Section 2192

2192. Lien date. Except as otherwise specifically provided, all tax liens attach annually as of 12:01 a.m. on the first day of January preceding the fiscal year for which the taxes are levied.

History.—Stats. 1957, p. 3263, in effect September 11, 1957, added "Except as otherwise specifically provided." Stats. 1967, p. 2244, in effect January 1, 1968, substituted "12:01 a.m. on the first day of" for "Noon on the first Monday in". Stats. 1995, Ch. 499, in effect January 1, 1996, operative January 1, 1997, substituted "January" for "March" after "first day of".

Note.—Section 21 of Stats. 1995, Ch. 499, provided that the change in the property tax lien date made by this act shall apply with respect to the January 1, 1997, lien date and each lien date thereafter.

Ownership on lien date determines obligation to pay taxes.—When property is sold subsequent to the first Monday in March, in the absence of agreement the duty rests upon the vendor to pay the taxes on the property for the ensuing fiscal year. Estate of Backesto, 63 Cal.App. 265.

Where a tax lien becomes effective after condemnees are deemed to have been divested of their interests in the property, they are entitled to compensation without deduction on account of the tax lien. But with respect to the taxes as to which a lien attached prior to the time title is deemed to have passed, the full amount of the taxes must be paid from the award. City of Long Beach v. Aistrup, 164 Cal.App.2d 41. Property permanently situated in and with a sole tax situs in California on the lien date, which property the owner subsequently moves to another state during the ensuing fiscal year, is not entitled to a proration or apportionment of property taxes based on the actual amount of time the property was located in California for that fiscal year. The lien date is simply a practical method for determining that a taxpayer has enjoyed the benefit of governmental services during the year preceding the assessment. Imposing the full burden of the tax on the property does not violate the due process, equal protection, or commerce clauses of the United States Constitution because the property enjoyed the opportunities, benefits and protections of the county and the State. Seegmiller v. Nevada County, 53 Cal.App.4th 1397.

Bankruptcy–Priority.—A tax lien attaching prior to an adjudication in bankruptcy is entitled to priority under the Bankruptcy Act, notwithstanding the fact that the amount of the tax is not ascertained until after the adjudication. In re Knox-Powell-Stockton Co., 100 F.2d 979.