Laws, Regulations & Annotations
Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017
Revenue and Taxation Code
Part 9. Corrections, Cancellations, and Refunds
Chapter 5. Refunds
Article 2. Refund Actions by Taxpayers*
5148. Action for refund; state-assessed property. Notwithstanding Section 5140, an action to recover taxes levied on state-assessed property arising out of a dispute as to an assessment made pursuant to Section 721, including a dispute as to valuation, assessment ratio, or allocation of value for assessment purposes, shall be brought under this section. In any action brought under this section, the following requirements shall apply:
(a) The action shall be brought by the state assessee. There shall be a single complaint with all parties joined therein with respect to disputes for any year.
(b) The action shall name the board and the county or counties. When a county is named which collected taxes on behalf of a city or cities, the county shall give notice of that action to the city or cities within 30 days of receipt of advice from the board of the action. A fee shall be payable by the state assessee in an amount prescribed by the court to cover the reasonable costs incurred by a county or counties in giving that notice. Any city receiving notice of the action filed against the board and the county may, within 30 days of the receipt of that notice, intervene in that action. Whether or not a city intervenes in the action, any judgment rendered for an assessee shall be entered exclusively against the county; however, the county shall be entitled to recover separately from the city or cities and other tax entities those taxes collected by the county on behalf of the city or cities and other tax entities which are subject to refund to the assessee as the result of the judgment. Payment to the taxpayer upon the judgment and any interest thereon may be deferred by the county until the apportionment of property tax revenue next following the date of the judgment, or as the county and the taxpayer may otherwise agree. Interest shall accrue during any deferral period unless the county and taxpayer otherwise agree. The county may if it chooses to do so offset the amount of the judgment and interest recoverable by it from the city or cities and other tax entities against amounts held in the county treasury therefor or against amounts due and payable thereto, including, but not limited to, property tax apportionments. The amount of the fee required by this section shall not be recoverable by the assessee in the action and no judgment entered in the action in favor of the assessee shall provide for the recovery of the fee.
As used in this section, "county" includes a city and county.
(c) Service of the summons and complaint shall be only upon the board. The board shall serve as agent of the defendant county or counties for the purpose of service of process. A fee shall be payable by the state assessee in an amount prescribed by the court to recover all reasonable costs incurred by the board while acting in its capacity as agent for the defendant counties.
(d) Venue of the action shall be in any county in which the Attorney General of California has an office or in which the state assessee has a significant presence.
(e) The action shall be limited in the case of valuation and allocation disputes to the grounds specified in the following:
(1) A petition for reassessment filed under Section 741, or any proceeding thereon.
(2) A petition for correction of allocated assessment filed under Section 747, or any proceeding thereon.
(f) A timely filed petition for reassessment or petition for correction of allocated assessment shall constitute a claim for refund if the petitioner states in the petition it is intended to so serve.
(g) The action shall be commenced only after payment of the taxes in issue and within four years after the latest of the dates that the State Board of Equalization mailed its decision or its written findings and conclusions on the following:
(1) A petition for reassessment filed under Section 741 and intended to constitute a claim for refund.
(2) A petition for correction of allocated assessment filed under Section 747 and intended to constitute a claim for refund.
(h) The action shall not be joined with any action filed under Section 5140.
(i) Any refund of tax overpayments and any interest thereon, determined in any action brought under this section to be due shall be made by the defendant county or counties.
History.—Added by Stats. 1987, Ch. 1262, in effect January 1, 1988.
Prerequisites for Refund Action.—A petition to the board for reassessment together with payment of the taxes are prerequisites to any tax refund action under Revenue and Taxation Code section 5148. Verizon California Inc. v. Board of Equalization, et al. (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 666.
Parties.—Revenue and Taxation Code section 5148 did not require all counties in which a telephone company owned property to be named as defendants in the company's property tax refund action. Verizon California Inc. v. Board of Equalization, et al. (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 666.
Claim for refund.—A telephone company state assessee forfeited its right to file a property tax refund action because it failed to check the box on its reassessment petition form indicating that the petition was to serve as a claim for refund, and did not otherwise notify the State Board of Equalization pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 5148, subdivisions (f) and (g), that it intended its petition to serve as a claim for refund. Sprint Telephony PCS, L.P. v. Board of Equalization (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 871.
* Article 2 was added by Stats. 1976, Ch. 499, p. 1240, in effect January 1, 1977.