Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2014
 

Revenue and Taxation Code

Property Taxation

Part 1. General Provisions

CHAPTER 2.5. Disaster Relief


Chapter 2.5. Disaster Relief*

* Chapter 2.5 was added by Stats. 1979, Ch. 242, in effect July 10, 1979.

170. Reassessment of property damaged by misfortune or calamity. [Repealed by Stats. 1995, Ch. 499, operative January 1, 1997.]

170. Reassessment of property damaged by misfortune or calamity. (a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the board of supervisors may, by ordinance, provide that every assessee of any taxable property, or any person liable for the taxes thereon, whose property was damaged or destroyed without his or her fault, may apply for reassessment of that property as provided herein. The ordinance may also specify that the assessor may initiate the reassessment where the assessor determines that within the preceding 12 months taxable property located in the county was damaged or destroyed.

To be eligible for reassessment the damage or destruction to the property shall have been caused by any of the following:

(1) A major misfortune or calamity, in an area or region subsequently proclaimed by the Governor to be in a state of disaster, if that property was damaged or destroyed by the major misfortune or calamity that caused the Governor to proclaim the area or region to be in a state of disaster. As used in this paragraph, "damage" includes a diminution in the value of property as a result of restricted access to the property where that restricted access was caused by the major misfortune or calamity.

(2) A misfortune or calamity.

(3) A misfortune or calamity that, with respect to a possessory interest in land owned by the state or federal government, has caused the permit or other right to enter upon the land to be suspended or restricted. As used in this paragraph, "misfortune or calamity" includes a drought condition such as existed in this state in 1976 and 1977.

The application for reassessment may be filed within the time specified in the ordinance or within 12 months of the misfortune or calamity, whichever is later, by delivering to the assessor a written application requesting reassessment showing the condition and value, if any, of the property immediately after the damage or destruction, and the dollar amount of the damage. The application shall be executed under penalty of perjury, or if executed outside the State of California, verified by affidavit.

An ordinance may be made applicable to a major misfortune or calamity specified in paragraph (1) or to any misfortune or calamity specified in paragraph (2), or to both, as the board of supervisors determines. An ordinance may not be made applicable to a misfortune or calamity specified in paragraph (3), unless an ordinance making paragraph (2) applicable is operative in the county. The ordinance may specify a period of time within which the ordinance shall be effective, and, if no period of time is specified, it shall remain in effect until repealed.

(b) Upon receiving a proper application, the assessor shall appraise the property and determine separately the full cash value of land, improvements and personalty immediately before and after the damage or destruction. If the sum of the full cash values of the land, improvements and personalty before the damage or destruction exceeds the sum of the values after the damage by ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, the assessor shall also separately determine the percentage reductions in value of land, improvements and personalty due to the damage or destruction. The assessor shall reduce the values appearing on the assessment roll by the percentages of damage or destruction computed pursuant to this subdivision, and the taxes due on the property shall be adjusted as provided in subdivision (e). However, the amount of the reduction shall not exceed the actual loss.

(c) The assessor shall notify the applicant in writing of the amount of the proposed reassessment. The notice shall state that the applicant may appeal the proposed reassessment to the local board of equalization within six months of the date of mailing the notice. If an appeal is requested within the six-month period, the board shall hear and decide the matter as if the proposed reassessment had been entered on the roll as an assessment made outside the regular assessment period. The decision of the board regarding the damaged value of the property shall be final, provided that a decision of the local board of equalization regarding any reassessment made pursuant to this section shall create no presumption as regards the value of the affected property subsequent to the date of the damage.

Those reassessed values resulting from reductions in full cash value of amounts, as determined above, shall be forwarded to the auditor by the assessor or the clerk of the local equalization board, as the case may be. The auditor shall enter the reassessed values on the roll. After being entered on the roll, those reassessed values shall not be subject to review, except by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(d) (1) If no application is made and the assessor determines that within the preceding 12 months a property has suffered damage caused by misfortune or calamity that may qualify the property owner for relief under an ordinance adopted under this section, the assessor shall provide the last known owner of the property with an application for reassessment. The property owner shall file the completed application within 12 months after the occurrence of said damage. Upon receipt of a properly completed, timely filed application, the property shall be reassessed in the same manner as required in subdivision (b).

(2) This subdivision does not apply where the assessor initiated reassessment as provided in subdivision (a) or (1).

(e) The tax rate fixed for property on the roll on which the property so reassessed appeared at the time of the misfortune or calamity, shall be applied to the amount of the reassessment as determined in accordance with this section and the assessee shall be liable for: (1) a prorated portion of the taxes that would have been due on the property for the current fiscal year had the misfortune or calamity not occurred, to be determined on the basis of the number of months in the current fiscal year prior to the misfortune or calamity; plus, (2) a proration of the tax due on the property as reassessed in its damaged or destroyed condition, to be determined on the basis of the number of months in the fiscal year after the damage or destruction, including the month in which the damage was incurred. For purposes of applying the preceding calculation in prorating supplemental taxes, the term "fiscal year" means that portion of the tax year used to determine the adjusted amount of taxes due pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 75.41. If the damage or destruction occurred after January 1 and before the beginning of the next fiscal year, the reassessment shall be utilized to determine the tax liability for the next fiscal year. However, if the property is fully restored during the next fiscal year, taxes due for that year shall be prorated based on the number of months in the year before and after the completion of restoration.

(f) Any tax paid in excess of the total tax due shall be refunded to the taxpayer pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 5096) of Part 9, as an erroneously collected tax or by order of the board of supervisors without the necessity of a claim being filed pursuant to Chapter 5.

(g) The assessed value of the property in its damaged condition, as determined pursuant to subdivision (b) compounded annually by the inflation factor specified in subdivision (a) of Section 51, shall be the taxable value of the property until it is restored, repaired, reconstructed or other provisions of the law require the establishment of a new base year value.

If partial reconstruction, restoration, or repair has occurred on any subsequent lien date, the taxable value shall be increased by an amount determined by multiplying the difference between its factored base year value immediately before the calamity and its assessed value in its damaged condition by the percentage of the repair, reconstruction, or restoration completed on that lien date.

(h) (1) When the property is fully repaired, restored, or reconstructed, the assessor shall make an additional assessment or assessments in accordance with subparagraph (A) or (B) upon completion of the repair, restoration, or reconstruction:

(A) If the completion of the repair, restoration, or reconstruction occurs on or after January 1, but on or before May 31, then there shall be two additional assessments. The first additional assessment shall be the difference between the new taxable value as of the date of completion and the taxable value on the current roll. The second additional assessment shall be the difference between the new taxable value as of the date of completion and the taxable value to be enrolled on the roll being prepared.

(B) If the completion of the repair, restoration, or reconstruction occurs on or after June 1, but before the succeeding January 1, then the additional assessment shall be the difference between the new taxable value as of the date of completion and the taxable value on the current roll.

(2) On the lien date following completion of the repair, restoration, or reconstruction, the assessor shall enroll the new taxable value of the property as of that lien date.

(3) For purposes of this subdivision, "new taxable value" shall mean the lesser of the property's (A) full cash value, or (B) factored base year value or its factored base year value as adjusted pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 70.

(i) The assessor may apply Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 75) of Part 0.5 in implementing this section, to the extent that chapter is consistent with this section.

(j) This section applies to all counties, whether operating under a charter or under the general laws of this state.

(k) Any ordinance in effect pursuant to Section 155.1, 155.13, or 155.14 shall remain in effect according to its terms as if that ordinance was adopted pursuant to this section, subject to the limitations of subdivision (b).

(l) When the assessor does not have the general authority pursuant to subdivision (a) to initiate reassessments, if no application is made and the assessor determines that within the preceding 12 months a property has suffered damage caused by misfortune or calamity, that may qualify the property owner for relief under an ordinance adopted under this section, the assessor may, with the approval of the board of supervisors, reassess the particular property for which approval was granted as provided in subdivision (b) and notify the last known owner of the property of the reassessment.

History.—Stats. 1979, Ch. 1161, in effect September 29, 1979, substituted the balance of the first sentence of the first paragraph after "every" for "person who at 12:01 a.m. on March 1 was the owner of, or had in his possession, or under his control, any taxable property, or who acquired such property after such lien date and is liable for the taxes thereon for the fiscal year commencing on the immediately following July 1, which property was damaged or destroyed in excess of the amounts specified in subdivision (b) without his fault, after such lien date, by any of the following:", added the first sentence of the second paragraph, added the second sentence of subsection (1), and substituted the balance of subsection (3) after "calamity" for "to a possessory interest in land owned by the state or federal government and the permit or other right to enter upon the land has been suspended without his fault, because of a misfortune or calamity, may, within the time specified in the ordinance, or, if no time is specified, within 60 days of such misfortune or calamity, apply for reassessment of such property by delivering to the assessor a written application requesting reassessment showing the condition and value, if any, of the property immediately after the damage or destruction, and the dollar amount of the damage. The application shall be executed under penalty of perjury, or if executed outside the State of California, verified by affidavit", added the third paragraph, and deleted the former fourth paragraph of subdivision (a); substituted "property and determine separately the full cash value of land, improvements and personalty" for "real property according to the full cash value of land and improvements" in the first sentence, and substituted the second and third sentences of subdivision(b) for "The assessor shall determine a new base year value, which shall be the sum of (1) the lesser of the full cash value of the land determined pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 51 or the base year value of the land determined pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 51; plus (2) the lesser of full cash value of the improvement determined pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 51 or the base year value of the improvement determined pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 51. If the damaged full cash value of the property is not at least five thousand dollars ($5,000) less than the full cash value, no adjustment shall be made to the roll and no taxes shall be canceled or refunded. If the damaged full cash value of the property is more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) of full cash value, the assessor shall reduce the value as appearing on the assessment roll to the value computed pursuant to this subdivision."; and substituted "The misfortune or calamity" for "its original assessment" in the first sentence, and substituted the balance of subdivision (e) after "section" for "In the event that the resulting figure is less than the tax computed prior to the reassessment, the tax shall be determined as follows:

(1) With respect to property on the secured roll, the assessee shall be liable for a prorated portion of the tax due on the property as originally assessed at the rate established for property on the secured roll for the current fiscal year, such proration to be determined on the basis of the number of months in the year during which the property was in an undamaged condition plus a proration of the tax due on the property as reassessed in its damaged or destroyed condition at the rate established for property on the secured roll for such fiscal year, such proration to be determined on the basis of the number of months in the year in which the property was in a damaged condition, including the month in which the damage was incurred.

(2) With respect to property on the unsecured roll, the assessee shall be liable for a prorated portion of the tax computed on the original assessment of the property and a prorated portion of the tax computed on the reassessment of the property as determined in the preceding paragraph.

Stats. 1980, Ch. 1081, in effect September 26, 1980, added "within the preceding six months" before "a property" in the first sentence of and added "but in no case more than six months after the occurrence of said damage" after "the assessor" in the second sentence of subdivision (d). Stats. 1981, Ch. 377, in effect January 1, 1982, substituted "assessed value" for "assessment" and substituted "pursuant to . . . value." for "by this section, shall be reviewed at the lien date next following the date of the misfortune or calamity and shall be assessed in the same manner as prescribed by law for any other assessable property" in the first paragraph of, and added the second and third paragraphs to subdivision (g). Stats. 1982, Ch. 69, in effect March 1, 1982, substituted "that" for "such" before "property" in the first paragraph of subdivision (a), and added subdivision (j). Stats. 1994, Ch. 33, in effect March 30, 1994, added "or her" after "his" in the first paragraph, and substituted "shall" for "must" after "property" in the second paragraph of subdivision (a), substituted "that" for "such" and "that" for "which" throughout text of section; substituted "the" for "such" after "days of" in the second paragraph of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a); substituted ". However," for "; provided, however, that the" after "subdivision (e)" to form the fourth sentence of subdivision (b); substituted "those" for "such" in second paragraph of subdivision (c); deleted "such" after "If no" and substituted "that" for "which" in the first sentence of subdivision (d); deleted "such proration" after "not occurred" and after "condition," in the first sentence, and added "that" after "however," in the second sentence of subdivision (e); and deleted "such" after "if no" and substituted "that" for "which" in subdivision (j). Stats. 1994, Ch. 1222, in effect January 1, 1995, created new paragraph (1) of subdivision (h) with the former third paragraph of subdivision (g) and deleted ", its new taxable value shall be the lesser of (1) its full cash value, or (2) its factored base year value or its factored base year value as adjusted pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 70. The new taxable value shall be enrolled on the lien date following" after "reconstructed", and added "the assessor . . . (B) upon" after "reconstructed", substituted a colon for a period after "reconstruction", added paragraphs (A) and (B) to subdivision (h); added subdivision (i); relettered former subdivisions (h), (i), and (k) as (j), (k), and (l), respectively; substituted "that ordinance was" for "such ordinances were" in subdivision (k); deleted "such" after "if no" and substituted "that" for "which" in subdivision (e). Stats. 1995, Ch. 499, in effect January 1, 1996, operative January 1, 1997, substituted "January" for "March" after "occurred after", substituted ". However, if" for "provided, however, that" after "fiscal year" in the former second sentence of subdivision (e); and substituted "January" for "March" in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (h). Stats. 1996, Ch. 1087, in effect January 1, 1997, added the second sentence of subdivision (e). Stats. 2001, Ch. 407 (SB 1181), in effect January 1, 2002, added the second sentence to the first paragraph, substituted "or within 12 months" for ", or, if no time is specified, within 60 days" after "ordinance" and added "whichever is later," after "calamity," in the third paragraph of subdivision (a); substituted "ten" for "five" after "damage by" and substituted "($10,000)" for "($5,000)" after "dollars" in the second sentence of subdivision (b); substituted "six months" for "14 days" after "within" in the second sentence and substituted "six-month" for "14-day" after "within the" in the third sentence of the first paragraph of subdivision (c); designated the former first paragraph of subdivision (d) as new paragraph (1), substituted "12" for "six" after "preceding" in the first sentence, substituted "60 days of the date of the mailing on" for "30 days of" after "within" and substituted "12" for "six" after "more than" in the second sentence therein, and added paragraph (2) therein; added a comma after "; plus" in the first sentence and substituted "that" for "the" after "means" in the second sentence of subdivision (e); and substituted "When the assessor does not have the general authority pursuant to subdivision (a) to initiate reassessments," for "In lieu of subdivision (d)," before "if no", substituted "12" for "six" after "preceding", and substituted "particular property for which approval was granted" for "property" in the first sentence of subdivision (l). Stats. 2006, Ch. 364 (AB 3076), in effect January 1, 2007, deleted "60 days of the date of mailing on notification by the assessor but in no case more than" after "completed application within" in the second sentence of paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).

Note.—Section 44 of Stats. 1979, Ch. 242, Section 22 of Stats. 1979, Ch. 1161, and Section 3 of Stats. 1981, Ch. 377, provided no payment by state to local governments because of this act.

Note.—Section 2 of Stats. 1982, Ch. 69, provided that Section 1 of this act shall apply to property taxes for the 1981–82 fiscal year and fiscal years thereafter.

Construction.—Property Tax Rule 139, which provided relief to property owners by defining damage to property, to qualify for disaster relief under Section 170 to include damage resulting from the restricted assess to that property, is invalid. The rule is inconsistent with the plain language of both Article XIII, Section 15 and subdivision (a)(2) of Section 170, as both of these provisions require that property be physically damaged to qualify for relief. Slocum v. State Board of Equalization, 134 Cal.App.4th 969.

Disaster, misfortune, or calamity.—As used in Sections 51 and 170, "disaster, misfortune, or calamity" require at a minimum some event out of the ordinary. The purpose of the sections is to afford financial relief to the owners of property physically damaged or destroyed by an unforeseeable occurrence beyond their control. Thus, damage to a building that occurred gradually due to ordinary natural forces was not caused by disaster, misfortune, or calamity. T.L. Enterprises, Inc. v. Los Angeles County, 215 Cal.App.3d 876.

Property be physically damaged.—Property Tax Rule 139, which provided relief to property owners by defining damage to property, to qualify for disaster relief under Section 170 to include damage resulting from the restricted assess to that property, is invalid. The rule is inconsistent with the plain language of both Article XIII, Section 15 and subdivision (a)(2) of Section 170, as both of these provisions require that property be physically damaged to qualify for relief. Slocum v. State Board of Equalization, 134 Cal.App.4th 969.

Note.—Section 12 of Stats. 2001, Ch. 407 (SB 1181) provided that notwithstanding Section 17610 of the Government Code, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code. If the statewide cost of the claim for reimbursement does not exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000), reimbursement shall be made from the State Mandates Claims Fund.

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171. Los Angeles civil unrest; delinquent property taxes. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no interest or penalties shall be imposed or collected with respect to any delinquent installments of property taxes levied for the 1992–93 fiscal year on qualified residential real property.

(b) The county treasurer or tax collector shall not take any collection action, and shall cease any collection action that has commenced, with respect to any delinquent property taxes for the 1992–93 fiscal year that were levied on qualified real property, until on or after January 1, 1994. The treasurer or tax collector may impose any applicable interest and penalties on any delinquent property taxes levied on qualified real property for the 1992–93 fiscal year beginning on or after January 1, 1994, if those taxes or any portion thereof remain delinquent on or after that date.

(c) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Qualified residential real property" means any residential real property that meets all of the following conditions:

(A) No amount of property taxes levied on that property was delinquent at the close of the 1991–92 fiscal year.

(B) The owner of the property suffered economic hardship as a result of the civil unrest that occurred in Los Angeles in April and May 1992.

(C) The property is eligible for a homeowner's exemption.

(2) An owner shall be deemed to have suffered "economic hardship" if both of the following occur:

(A) The owner signs a declaration under penalty of perjury under the laws of this state that he or she suffered economic hardship as a result of the civil unrest that occurred in Los Angeles in April and May 1992.

(B) A business owned by the taxpayer, the taxpayer's primary place of work, or the taxpayer's residence that qualifies for the homeowner's exemption is located in the area designated as the Los Angeles Revitalization Zone pursuant to Government Code Section 7102.

(d) A claim for relief under this section shall be filed by an owner on a form and in the manner as the treasurer or tax collector shall prescribe.

(e) The treasurer or tax collector shall permit any individual entitled to relief under this section who has paid any interest or penalties in connection with delinquent taxes levied for the 1992–93 fiscal year on qualified residential real property prior to filing a claim for relief to also file a claim for refund of the interest and penalties paid on a form and in the manner as the treasurer or tax collector shall prescribe.

History.—Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 865, in effect October 6, 1993. Stats. 1995, Ch. 91, in effect January 1, 1996, deleted the comma after "May" in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) and in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2), and deleted "if" after "hardship" in paragraph (2) of subdivision (c).

Note.—Section 2 of Stats. 1993, Ch. 865 provided that the Legislature finds and declares that this act fulfills a statewide public purpose because this act is consistent with and supplements disaster relief by providing necessary property tax relief to affected taxpayers to allow them to recover from economic damage or repair damage to and restore their homes.

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