Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

Revenue and Taxation Code

Property Taxation

Part 2. Assessment

Chapter 3. Assessment Generally

Article 2. Information From Taxpayer

Section 441

441. Property statement; other information. (a) Each person owning taxable personal property, other than a manufactured home subject to Part 13 (commencing with Section 5800), having an aggregate cost of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or more for any assessment year shall file a signed property statement with the assessor. Every person owning personal property that does not require the filing of a property statement or real property shall, upon request of the assessor, file a signed property statement. Failure of the assessor to request or secure the property statement does not render any assessment invalid.

(b) The property statement shall be declared to be true under the penalty of perjury and filed annually with the assessor between the lien date and 5 p.m. on April 1. The penalty provided by Section 463 applies for property statements not filed by May 7. If May 7 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, a property statement that is mailed and postmarked on the next business day shall be deemed to have been filed between the lien date and 5 p.m. on May 7. If, on the dates specified in this subdivision, the county's offices are closed for the entire day, that day is considered a legal holiday for purposes of this section.

(c) The property statement may be filed with the assessor through the United States mail, properly addressed with postage prepaid. For purposes of determining the date upon which the property statement is deemed filed with the assessor, the date of postmark as affixed by the United States Postal Service, or the date certified by a bona fide private courier service on the envelope containing the application, shall control. This subdivision applies to every taxing agency, including, but not limited to, a chartered city and county, or chartered city.

(d) (1) At any time, as required by the assessor for assessment purposes, every person shall make available for examination information or records regarding his or her property or any other personal property located on premises he or she owns or controls. In this connection details of property acquisition transactions, construction and development costs, rental income, and other data relevant to the determination of an estimate of value are to be considered as information essential to the proper discharge of the assessor's duties.

(2) (A) This subdivision also applies to an owner-builder or an owner-developer of new construction that is sold to a third party, is constructed on behalf of a third party, or is constructed for the purpose of selling that property to a third party.

(B) The owner-builder or owner-developer of new construction described in subparagraph (A), shall, within 45 days of receipt of a written request by the assessor for information or records, provide the assessor with all information and records regarding that property. The information and records provided to the assessor shall include the total consideration provided either by the purchaser or on behalf of the purchaser that was paid or provided either, as part of or outside of the purchase agreement, including, but not limited to, consideration paid or provided for the purchase or acquisition of upgrades, additions, or for any other additional or supplemental work performed or arranged for by the owner-builder or owner-developer on behalf of the purchaser.

(e) In the case of a corporate owner of property, the property statement shall be signed either by an officer of the corporation or an employee or agent who has been designated in writing by the board of directors to sign the statements on behalf of the corporation.

(f) In the case of property owned by a bank or other financial institution and leased to an entity other than a bank or other financial institution, the property statement shall be submitted by the owner bank or other financial institution.

(g) The assessor may refuse to accept any property statement he or she determines to be in error.

(h) If a taxpayer fails to provide information to the assessor pursuant to subdivision (d) and introduces any requested materials or information at any assessment appeals board hearing, the assessor may request and shall be granted a continuance for a reasonable period of time. The continuance shall extend the two-year period specified in subdivision (c) of Section 1604 for a period of time equal to the period of the continuance.

(i) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, every person required to file a property statement pursuant to this section shall be permitted to amend that property statement until May 31 of the year in which the property statement is due, for errors and omissions not the result of willful intent to erroneously report. The penalty authorized by Section 463 does not apply to an amended statement received prior to May 31, provided the original statement is not subject to penalty pursuant to subdivision (b). The amended property statement shall otherwise conform to the requirements of a property statement as provided in this article.

(j) This subdivision applies to the oil, gas, and mineral extraction industry only. Any information that is necessary to file a true, correct, and complete statement shall be made available by the assessor, upon request, to the taxpayer by mail or at the office of the assessor by February 28. For each business day beyond February 28 that the information is unavailable, the filing deadline in subdivision (b) shall be extended in that county by one business day, for those statements affected by the delay. In no case shall the filing deadline be extended beyond June 1 or the first business day thereafter.

(k) The assessor may accept the filing of a property statement by the use of electronic media. In lieu of the signature required by subdivision (a) and the declaration under penalty of perjury required by subdivision (b), property statements filed using electronic media shall be authenticated pursuant to methods specified by the assessor and approved by the board. Electronic media includes, but is not limited to, computer modem, magnetic media, optical disk, and facsimile machine.

(l) (1) After receiving the notice required by Section 1162, the manager in control of a fleet of fractionally owned aircraft shall file with the lead county assessor's office one signed property statement for all of its aircraft that have acquired situs in the state, as described in Section 1161.

(2) Flight data required to compute fractionally owned aircraft allocation under Section 1161 shall be segregated by airport.

(m) (1) After receiving the notice required by paragraph (5) of subdivision (b) of Section 1153.5, a commercial air carrier whose certificated aircraft is subject to Article 6 (commencing with Section 1150) of Chapter 5 shall file with the lead county assessor's office designated under Section 1153.5 one signed property statement for its personal property at all airport locations and fixtures at all airport locations.

(2) Each commercial air carrier may file one schedule for all of its certificated aircraft that have acquired situs in this state under Section 1151.

(3) Flight data required to compute certificated aircraft allocation under Section 1152 and subdivision (g) of Section 202 of Title 18 of the California Code of Regulations shall be segregated by airport location.

(4) Beginning with the 2006 assessment year, a commercial air carrier may file a statement described in this subdivision electronically by means of the California Assessor's Standard Data Record (SDR) network. If the SDR is not equipped to accept electronic filings for the 2006 assessment year, an air carrier may file a printed version of its property statement for that year with its lead county assessor's office.

(5) This subdivision shall become inoperative on December 31, 2015, and as of that date is repealed.

History.—Stats. 1947, Ch. 664 (SB 1358), in effect September 19, 1947, substituted "May" for "June." Stats. 1963, Ch. 1995 (AB 2737), in effect September 20, 1963, added subdivision (b). Stats. 1966, Ch. 147 (AB 80), (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, added "upon request of the assessor," substituted "the lien date" for "noon on the first Monday in March", and deleted the last sentence providing for the furnishing of information, in subdivision (a), and added subdivisions (c), (d), and (e). Stats. 1967, Ch. 1458 (AB 1359), in effect November 8, 1967, substituted everything down to subdivision (b) for prior subdivision (a). Stats. 1968, Ch. 1131 (AB 1428), in effect November 13, 1968, revised and relettered the subdivisions; and, added the second sentence of subdivision (b) referring to Section 463, added subdivision (b)(1), and added "of nonreceipt of the property statement within the appointed time" in subdivision (b)(2), Stats. 1970, Ch. 531 (AB 1545), in effect November 23, 1970, substituted "shall file a signed property statement with the assessor" for "other than household furnishings and personal effects, shall file a written property statement, reporting such other property," in the first sentence; deleted "written" before the first "property"; substituted "signed" for "written" before the second "property" in the second sentence; added the third sentence to the first paragraph; deleted a second paragraph defining household furnishings; and substituted "declared to be true under penalty of perjury and filed" for "filed under oath" in subdivision (a). Stat. 1971, Ch. 1604 (AB 1754), in effect March 4, 1972, substituted "Friday" for "Monday" in subdivisions (a) and (b). Stats. 1980, Ch. 285 (SB 1422), in effect June 30, 1980, operative July 1, 1980, added ", other than a mobilehome subject to Part 13 (commencing with Section 5800)," after "personal property" in the first sentence of paragraph one. Stats. 1981, Ch. 361 (AB 1553), in effect January 1, 1982, deleted "o'clock" before "p.m." in the second sentence of, added ", or by first-class mail, properly addressed with postage prepaid," after "registered mail" and added the second sentence in subsection 2 of, and added the balance of subsection (3) after the first "notice," in subdivision (b). Stats. 1990, Ch. 126 (SB 124), in effect June 11, 1990, added "all of the following apply" after "if" in subdivision (b), substituted a period for "; and" in paragraphs 1 and 2 of subdivision (b), substituted "the" for "such" before "notice" twice in paragraph (2) and three times in paragraph (3) of subdivision (b), added "or her" after "his" and added "or any other . . . controls" after "her property" in the first sentence of subdivision (d), and added "or she" after "he" in subdivision (f). Stats. 1992, Ch. 523 (SB 1683), in effect January 1, 1993, substituted "any" for "such" after "lien date and" in subdivision (a); added subdivision (f); and relettered former subdivision (f) as subdivision (g). Stats. 1993, Ch. 173 (AB 695), in effect January 1, 1994, substituted "Each" for "Every" before "person owning" and added "for the initial assessment year . . . subsequent assessment year" after "or more" in the first sentence of the first paragraph; and substituted "the" for "such" after "sign" in subdivision (e). Stats. 1995, Ch. 498 (SB 657), in effect January 1, 1996, added subdivision (h). Stats. 1996, Ch. 1087 (SB 1827), in effect January 1, 1997, deleted "thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or more for the initial assessment year or an aggregate cost of", after "an aggregate cost of", and deleted "subsequent" after "any" in the first sentence of subdivision (a). Stats. 1999, Ch. 334 (AB 704), in effect January 1, 2000, lettered the former first paragraph as subdivision (a) and substituted "that" for "which" before "does not", added a comma after "shall", and added a comma after "assessor" in the second sentence therein; relettered former subdivision (a) as subdivision (b), added "annually" after "and filed", and deleted "the last Friday in May, annually, or between the lien date and any earlier time as the assessor may appoint" after "5 p.m. on" in the first sentence therein; deleted former subdivision (b), which provided that "If the assessor appoints a time other than the last Friday in May, it shall be no earlier than April 1. In this event the penalty provided by Section 463 shall apply if the property statement is not filed with the assessor by 5 p.m. on the last Friday in May or if all of the following apply: (1) The property statement is not filed within the time appointed by the assessor. (2) The assessor has given notice by certified or registered mail, or by first-class mail, properly addressed with postage prepaid, no earlier than 15 days after the time appointed by the assessor of nonreceipt of the property statement within the appointed time. If the notice is given by first-class mail, the assessor shall obtain a certificate of mailing issued by the United States Postal Service verifying the fact and date of mailing of the notice. (3) The property statement has not been filed with the assessor within 15 days following the date of receipt of the notice, if the notice is given by certified or registered mail, or within 20 days following the date shown on the certificate of mailing, if the notice is given by first-class mail."; added subdivision (b); added the second sentence in subdivision (c); and added subdivisions (i) and (j). Stats. 2002, Ch. 775 (SB 2092), in effect January 1, 2003, substituted "manufactured home" for "mobilehome" after "other than a" in the first sentence, and added subdivision (k). Stats. 2003, Ch. 316 (AB 1744), in effect January 1, 2004, designated the first paragraph of subdivision (d) as paragraph (1) and added paragraph (2) thereto and substituted "does" for "shall" after "by Section 463" in the second sentence of subdivision (i). Stats. 2005, Ch. 699 (AB 964), in effect October 7, 2005, added subdivision (l). Stats. 2007, Ch. 180 (SB 87), in effect August 24, 2007, relettered former subdivision (l) as subdivision (m) and added subdivision (l). Stats. 2010, Ch. 228 (AB 384), in effect January 1, 2011, substituted "2015" for "2010" after "December 31," in the first sentence of paragraph (5) of subdivision (m). Stats. 2015, Ch. 440 (AB 1157), in effect January 1, 2016, substituted "operative" for "in effect" after "shall remain", substituted "2016" for "2015" after "December 31,", and deleted ", and as of that date is repealed" after "2015" in the first sentence of paragraph (5) of subdivison (m).

Note.—Stats. 1971, p. 3455, provided that the act shall apply for the 1972–1973 assessment year and assessment years thereafter.

Note.—Section 22 of Stats. 1980, Ch. 285, provided no payment by state to local governments because of this act.

Note.—Section 3 of Stats. 1999, Ch. 334 (AB 704), provides that no reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because this act provides for offsetting savings to local agencies or school districts that result in no net costs to the local agencies or school districts, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.

Note.—Stats. 2005, Ch. 699 (AB 964); see note after Section 401.17.

Note.—Section 1 of Stats. 2007, Ch. 180 (SB 87), provided that the Legislature finds and declares the following:

(a) A substantial portion of business aviation aircraft is now owned and operated under fractional ownership programs.

(b) Aircraft in fractional ownership programs have a significant presence in California.

(c) The size of some fractional ownership program fleets is quite large and the mix of ownership interests and unscheduled usage imposes a significant burden on both taxpayers and county assessors to assess and tax these fleets on an aircraft-by-aircraft basis; in order to reduce this burden, a simplified assessment approach is warranted.

(d) Section 1 of Article XIII of the California Constitution specifies that all nonexempt property is taxable. Therefore, fractionally owned aircraft are constitutionally required to be assessed.

(e) The purpose of Sections 2 and 4 of this act is to establish a simplified procedure for assessing fractionally owned aircraft that is appropriate and fair, that allocates assessed value among counties in a reasonable manner, and that reduces the administrative burden on taxpayers and county assessors.

Section 7 thereof provided that this act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are: In order to timely and properly implement the Budget Act of 2007.

Construction.—The language "other data relevant to the determination of an estimate of value are to be considered as information essential to the proper discharge of the assessor's duty" in subdivision (d) is a broad grant of power to the assessor to demand information and does not support any distinction between raw and interpretative data, particularly in the context of the assessment and appraisal of oil and gas interests whose values are constantly changing. "Essential" does not mean strict necessity; in the context of the statute, it is used in an expansive sense. Roberts v. Gulf Oil Corp., 147 Cal.App.3d 770.

Constitutionality.—Assessment of personal property tax imposed on managers of fractionally owned aircraft is constitutional, as managers controlled the fractionally owned aircraft, and the aircraft had sufficient connection with California to justify the imposition of property tax. However, retroactive application is not constitutional because the statute constituted new law regarding the assessment of tax on managers controlling fractionally owned aircraft fleets. NetJets Aviation, Inc. v. Guillory (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 26.

Informality.—A letter written by a receiver to the assessor describing the property in his hands may form the basis of a valid assessment. City of Los Angeles v. Los Angeles City Water Co., 137 Cal. 699.

Valuation not required.—The taxpayer is not required to affix a valuation to any part of his property. Clunie v. Siebe, 112 Cal. 593.

Failure to furnish statement.—The mailing of a letter by a taxpayer enclosing a statement of his property does not relieve him of neglect to furnish a statement if the presumption that the letter was received in due course is overcome by the testimony of the assessor that the statement was never received. Grade v. Mariposa County, 132 Cal. 75.

Property omitted from statement.—The power of the assessor is not limited by the taxpayer's verified statement but he may assess upon discovery property omitted therefrom, independently of the power given him by other sections to make penal assessments (see Sections 501 and 503, post) and without first subpoenaing and examining the taxpayer under Section 454. People v. National Bank of D. O. Mills, 123 Cal. 53; Savings & Loan Society v. San Francisco, 131 Cal. 356; San Francisco v. La Societe etc., 131 Cal. 612; Kern Valley Water Co. v. Kern County, 137 Cal. 511. If the statement has been filed by the taxpayer, the assessor perhaps cannot penally assess any property unless the taxpayer has been subpoenaed. See People v. National Bank of D. O. Mills, supra at 58. The power and duty of the assessor to assess newly discovered property exists as long as the assessment roll is under his control. San Francisco v. La Societe, etc. supra. Absent physical evidence, an assessor is not required to accept a valuation formula approximating the proper value of fixtures to be reported on the statement which he has no way of verifying. May Department Stores Co. v. Los Angeles County, 196 Cal.App.3d 755.

Assessment appeal hearing.—As counties are expressly authorized to adopt rules for assessment appeal hearings, a county rule consistent with this section is not preempted by state law; and an assessor may prepare for such a hearing by demanding information from the taxpayer pursuant to subdivision (d) hereof. State Board of Equalization v. Ceniceros, 63 Cal.App.4th 122.

Statement as evidence.—Although the statement is not evidence of the value of the property (San Jose etc., R. R. Co. v. Mayne, 83 Cal. 566), it is admissible as evidence of what property was then claimed to be owned by the party making the statement. Woolridge v. Boardman, 115 Cal. 74. The description in an assessment is presumed to be identical with that furnished in the statement unless the contrary is alleged. Dear v. Varnum, 80 Cal. 86.

Copyright.—There can be no copyright of any particular arrangement of the matter which the assessor is required to deliver to each person as a blank form of property statement. Carlisle v. Colusa County, 57 F. 979.

Inadequate description.—There is no presumption, in a quiet title action brought by a property owner against a purchaser at a tax sale, that an inadequate description in an assessment and tax deed were furnished by the property owner under this article, nor is the property owner estopped from asserting the invalidity of the assessment and tax deed. Sinai v. Mull, 80 Cal.App.2d 277.

Extent of assessor's duty.—A county assessor must give school districts information of the value of tax-assessed property within districts by May 15, as required by Education Code section 20811, although information regarding property assessed by the State Board of Equalization is unavailable by reason of the board not being required to complete its work thereon until the first Monday of August and although taxpayers may file property statements upon which property assessments are partially based between the first Monday of March and the last Monday in May. Board of Education v. Watson, 63 Cal.2d 829.

Owners of aircraft.—See Section 5365.