Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

Revenue and Taxation Code

Property Taxation

Part 6. Tax Sales

CHAPTER 7. Sale to Private Parties After Deed To State

Section 3729

3729. Refunds from county. (a) When a court holds a tax deed given under this chapter or Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 3771), former Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 3475), former Chapter 4.3 (commencing with Section 3534), or former Sections 3897 and 3897d of the Political Code void, the purchaser at tax sale is entitled to a refund from the county of the amount paid as the purchase price in excess of the amount for which he or she has been reimbursed for taxes, penalties, and costs. The refund shall be made in the same manner as a refund of an overpayment of tax, except that the claim shall be presented within one year after the judgment becomes final.

(b) The holder of a tax certificate who received all or any part of the amount paid by the delinquent taxpayer shall not be obligated to make any refund or repayment of any amount to either the purchaser, the county, or any other person. The tax collector may use amounts on deposit in the Tax Certificate Redemption Fund to make the refund, but only to the extent those amounts were paid to the holder of the applicable tax certificate.

History.—Stats. 1945, p. 1025, in effect September 15, 1945, revised first sentence and substituted "judgment" for "decree." Stats. 1957, p. 768, in effect September 11, 1957, deleted Chapter "3" and added "or former Chapter 3." Stats. 1983, Ch. 1281, in effect September 30, 1983, substituted "Chapter 8 . . . Political Code" for "Chapters 4.3 or 8 or former Chapter 3 of this part or under former Political Code Sections 3897 and 3897d" after "chapter or" in the first sentence. Stats. 1985, Ch. 316, effective January 1, 1986, substituted "at tax sale" for "from the state" following "the purchaser", added "the" after "paid as", and added "or she" after "he" in first sentence. Stats. 1995, Ch. 189, in effect July 24, 1995, added subdivision letter designation (a) before first paragraph, and added subdivision (b).

Premature filing of claim.—A claim filed prior to a final adjudication of the invalidity of the tax title is premature, and an action against the county may not be founded thereon. Coleman v. Los Angeles County, 180 Cal. 714.

County not bound by adjudication.—In fixing the amount of the refund the county is not bound by the amount of the reimbursement required of the former owner and any amount erroneously omitted therefrom is not required to be refunded by the county. Coleman v. Los Angeles County, supra.

Exclusive statutory remedy.—A purchaser of tax-defaulted property from a public entity at a tax sale seeking recission and restitution of purchase money is not entitled to relief based on common law causes of action but rather, is limited to those remedies provided by the Revenue and Taxation Code. The purchaser is entitled to a refund of purchase money paid only where a court determines a tax deed is void or that the property "should not have been sold". Van Petten v. San Diego County, 38 Cal.App.4th 43.