Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2013
 

Revenue and Taxation Code

Property Taxation

Part 3. Equalization

CHAPTER 1. Equalization by County Board of Equalization


Part 3. Equalization

Chapter 1. Equalization by County Board of Equalization

Article 1. Generally

1601. Notice. (a) For purposes of this article, "county board" shall mean a county board of supervisors meeting as a county board of equalization or an assessment appeals board.

(b) In counties of the first class, the clerk shall give notice of the time the county board will meet to equalize assessments by publication in a newspaper.

(c) In all other counties, immediately upon delivery of the roll to the auditor, the clerk shall give notice of the period during which assessment protests will be accepted, the place where they may be filed, and the time the county board will meet to equalize assessments by publication in a newspaper, if any is printed in the county, or, if none, as directed by the board of supervisors.

History.—Stats. 1966, p. 671 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year, substituted "delivery of the roll to the auditor" for "receipt of the local roll from the assessor" and "period during which assessment protests will be accepted, the place where they may be filed" for "the completion of the local roll." Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 356, in effect April 24, 1974, applicable to assessments made on and after the 1974 lien date, added the subdivision letters, added subdivisions (a) and (b), and added "In all other counties," before "immediately" in subdivision (c). Sec. 37 thereof provided no payment by state to local governments because of this act.

Notice by publication.—Statutory scheme prescribing the time when protested assessments are to be heard by county boards of equalization gives sufficient notice to taxpayers, thus satisfying notice requirements of due process. Westinghouse Electric Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 42 Cal.App.3d 32, appeal dismissed 422 U.S. 1001.

1602. Inspection. The roll or a copy thereof shall be made available for inspection by all interested parties during regular office hours of the officer having custody thereof.

History.—Stats. 1966, p. 671 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year, deleted all of former language and added present language.

Back to top


1603. Applications. (a) A reduction in an assessment on the local roll shall not be made unless the party affected or his or her agent makes and files with the county board a verified, written application showing the facts claimed to require the reduction and the applicant's opinion of the full value of the property. The form for the application shall be prescribed by the State Board of Equalization.

(b) (1) The application shall be filed within the time period from July 2 to September 15, inclusive. An application that is mailed and postmarked September 15 or earlier within that period shall be deemed to have been filed within the time period beginning July 2 and continuing through and including September 15.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), if the taxpayer does not receive the notice of assessment described in Section 619 at least 15 calendar days prior to the deadline to file the application described in this subdivision, the party affected, or his or her agent, may file an application within 60 days of receipt of the notice of assessment or within 60 days of the mailing of the tax bill, whichever is earlier, along with an affidavit declaring under penalty of perjury that the notice was not timely received.

(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the last day of the filing period shall be extended to November 30 in the case of an assessee or party affected with respect to all property located in a county where the county assessor does not provide, by August 1, a notice, as described in Section 619, to all assessees of real property on the local secured roll of the assessed value of their real property as it shall appear or does appear on the completed local roll, including the annual increases in assessed value caused solely by increases in the valuation of property that reflect the inflation rate, not to exceed 2 percent, pursuant to the authority of subdivision (b) of Section 2 of Article XIII A of the California Constitution.

(A) The county assessor shall notify the clerk of the county board of equalization and the county tax collector by April 1 of each year as to whether the notice specified in this paragraph will be provided by August 1.

(B) The clerk shall certify the last day of the filing period and shall immediately notify the State Board of Equalization as to whether the last day of the filing period for the county will be September 15 or November 30.

(C) The State Board of Equalization shall maintain a statewide listing of the time period to file an application in each county.

(D) The provisions of Section 621 may not be substituted as a means of providing the notice specified in this paragraph.

(4) If a final filing date specified in this subdivision falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, an application that is mailed and postmarked on the next business day shall be deemed to have been filed within the requisite time period specified in this subdivision. If on any final filing date specified in this subdivision, the county's offices are closed for business prior to 5 p.m. or for that entire day, that day shall be considered a legal holiday for purposes of this section.

(c) The application may be filed within 12 months following the month in which the assessee is notified of the assessment, if the party affected or his or her agent and the assessor stipulate that there is an error in the assessment as the result of the exercise of the assessor's judgment in determining the full cash value of the property and a written stipulation as to the full cash value and assessed value is filed in accordance with Section 1607.

(d) Upon the recommendation of the assessor and the clerk of the county board of equalization, the board of supervisors may adopt a resolution providing that an application may be filed within 60 days of the mailing of the notice of the assessor's response to a request for reassessment pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 51, if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The request for reassessment was submitted in writing to the assessor in the form prescribed by the State Board of Equalization and includes all information that is prescribed by the State Board of Equalization.

(2) The request for reassessment was made on or before the immediately preceding March 15.

(3) The assessor's response to the request for reassessment was mailed on or after September 1 of the calendar year in which the request for reassessment was made.

(4) The assessor did not reduce the assessment in question in the full amount as requested.

(5) The application for changed assessment is filed on or before December 31 of the year in which the request for reassessment was filed.

(6) The application for reduction in assessment is accompanied by a copy of the assessor's response to the request for reassessment.

(e) In the form provided for making an application pursuant to this section, there shall be a notice that written findings of facts of the local equalization hearing will be available upon written request at the requester's expense and, if not so requested, the right to those written findings is waived. The form shall provide appropriate space for the applicant to request written findings of facts as provided by Section 1611.5.

(f) The form provided for making an application pursuant to this section shall contain the following language in the signature block:

I certify (or declare) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing and all information hereon, including any accompanying statements or documents, is true, correct, and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I am (1) the owner of the property or the person affected (i.e., a person having a direct economic interest in the payment of the taxes on that property— "The Applicant," (2) an agent authorized by the applicant under Item 2 of this application, or (3) an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of California, State Bar No. ____, who has been retained by the applicant and has been authorized by that person to file this application.

(g) The clerk of a county board of equalization may accept an electronically filed application for changed assessment containing an electronic signature if all of the following criteria are met:

(1) The application complies with all other requirements for filing the application.

(2) The electronic signature is accompanied by the certification described in subdivision (f).

(3) The electronic signature is authenticated in a manner that is approved by the county board of supervisors, which manner may include, but is not limited to, the use of personal identification numbers the clerk has assigned to applicants.

History.—Stats. 1966, p. 672 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year, added "and the applicants opinion of the full cash value of the property" and the last sentence. Stats. 1967, p. 1868, in effect November 8, 1967, substituted ". . . July 2 and August 26." after "between" in the last sentence. Stats. 1968, p. 1461, in effect November 13, 1968, divided the section into subdivisions (a) and (b). Stats. 1969, p. 2096, in effect November 10, 1969, completely revised subdivision (b) and added subdivision (c). Stats 1970, p. 527, in effect June 29, 1970, substituted "second" for "first" in subdivision (b) and added phrase "Except as provided in Section 1760," to subdivision (c). Stats 1971, p. 761, in effect March 4, 1972, added subdivision (d). Stats. 1974, Ch. 311, p. 612, in effect January 1, 1975, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1607; substituted "full value" for "full cash value" in subdivision (a); added subdivision (b); relettered the former subdivision (b) as subdivision (c); relettered the former subdivision (c) as subdivision (d), and substituted "In all other counties" for "Except as provided in Section 1760, in the case of a county other than one described in subdivision (b)" therein; and relettered the former subdivision (d) as subdivision (e), and substituted "1611.5" for "1605.5" therein. Stats. 1976, Ch. 768, p. 1808, in effect January 1, 1977, substituted "within the time period beginning July 2 and continuing through and including September 15" for "between July 2 and September 15" in the first and second sentences of subdivision (c). Stats. 1977, Ch. 1010, in effect July 1, 1978, added second sentence of subdivision (a). Stats. 1978, Ch. 214 and Ch. 353, in effect on June 8, 1978, and July 4, 1978, respectively, changed the various filing dates based on the size of the counties to a single filing date. Stats. 1979, Ch. 242, in effect July 10, 1979, added the third sentence to subdivision (b). Stats. 1987, Ch. 498, in effect January 1, 1988, added "or her" after "his" in the first sentence, and substituted "the" for "such" after "for" in the second sentence of subdivision (a); substituted "that" for "such" after "earlier within" in the second sentence of subdivision (b); added subdivision (c); and relettered former subdivision (c) as (d). Stats. 1989, Ch. 481, in effect January 1, 1990, substituted the third sentence of subdivision (b) for the former third sentence which extended the September 15 deadline to October 1 for the 1979–80 fiscal year. Stats. 1997, Ch. 941 (SB 542), in effect January 1, 1998, added paragraph designation (1) and substituted "from July 2 to September 15, inclusive." for "beginning July 2 and continuing through and including September 15." after "time period" in the first sentence of paragraph (1), added paragraph (2), and numbered the former third sentence as paragraph (3) of subdivision (b); added subdivision (d); relettered the former subdivision (d) as (e) and substituted "those" for "such" after "right to" in the first sentence therein; and added subdivision (f). Stats. 2001, Ch. 238 (AB 645), in effect January 1, 2002, deleted former paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) which provided that "If September 15 falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday, an application that is mailed and postmarked on the next business day shall be deemed to have been filed within 'the time period beginning July 2 and continuing through and including September 15.' If on the dates specified in this paragraph, the county's offices are closed for business prior to 5 p.m. or for that entire day, that day shall be considered a legal holiday for purposes of this section.", renumbered former paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) as paragraph (2) and added "Notwithstanding paragraph (1)," before "if" in the first sentence therein, added paragraphs (3) and (4) to subdivision (b), and deleted "However," before "The" in the first sentence of subdivision (c). Stats. 2002, Ch. 775 (SB 2092), in effect January 1, 2003, added "or party affected" after "of an assessee" and substituted "all property located in a county . . . Article XIII A of the California Constitution." for "real property on the local secured roll, if both of the following are true: (A) A notice is not required to be provided to that assessee with respect to that real property under Section 619. (B) The county assessor does not provide, by August 1, notice to that assessee of the assessed value of the assessee's real property as it shall appear, or does appear, on the completed local secured roll." after "with respect to" in the first sentence of paragraph (3) in subdivision (b) and added new subparagraphs (A), (B), (C), and (D), therein and added "an" after "provided for making" in the first sentence of subdivision (e). Stats. 2007, Ch. 195 (AB 1042), in effect January 1, 2008, added subdivision (g).

Note.—Sections 28020–28030 of the Government Code, as amended by Stats. 1971, p. 2299, provide that counties of the first through ninth class are Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Bernardino, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Counties, respectively.

However, Sec. 61 of Stats. 1971, p. 2319, also provides that it is not the intention of the Legislature to change the law applicable to any county by reason of this classification. Such law shall continue to remain applicable to such county on the basis of the 1960 federal census except as the Legislature may by law otherwise expressly provide.

Note.—Section 3 of Stats. 2001, Ch. 238 (AB 645) 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.

Construction.—This section and Section 1605 contemplate not only a reduction in the value of the property to be taxed, but also a reduction in the rate applicable to the taxable property. San Diego County v. Lafayette Steel Co., 164 Cal.App.3d 690.

Sufficiency of application.—An application for a reduction in an assessment is not inadequate by reason of the fact that it merely states as its ground "unequal value" (Los Angeles County v. Ransohoff, 24 Cal.App.2d 238) or "excessive valuation." Bandini Estate Company v. Los Angeles County, 28 Cal.App.2d 224. An application for reduction identifying the number of the parcel for which equalization is sought is sufficient to place before the board not only the assessment for the parcel for the current year but also escape assessments for the parcel for prior years made in the current year. Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Orange County, 187 Cal.App.3d 1141. Cf. Rittersbacher v. Board of Supervisors, 220 Cal. 535, and De Mille v. Los Angeles County, 25 Cal.App.2d 506, in which the applications were held insufficient. While this section does not require technical rules of pleading, the taxpayer did not give sufficient notice of its intent to challenge original real property assessments where its applications for reduction of escape assessments were for personal property and fixtures. Helene Curtis, Inc. v. Assessment Appeals Board, 76 Cal.App.4th 124.

Evidentiary facts are not required in the application and amendments are permitted after the filing date so long as they do not request relief additional to or different from that originally requested. Midstate Theatres, Inc. v. Board of Supervisors, 46 Cal.App.3d 204.

An application for a reduction in an assessment filed pursuant to Section 1603 shall also constitute a sufficient claim for refund if the applicant states in the application that the application is intended to constitute a claim for refund. County of Los Angeles v. Raytheon Co., 159 Cal.App.4th 27.

Amendment of application.—Although the statutes governing local equalization proceedings neither permit nor prohibit amendment of applications, Property Tax Rule 305(e) prohibits a substantive amendment of an application after expiration of statutory filing deadlines. Helene Curtis, Inc. v. Assessment Appeals Board, 76 Cal.App.4th 124.

Does not waive exemption.—The fact that an owner files an application for a reduction does not bar a claim for refund on the ground that the property in question is exempt from taxation, at least when the refund claim is filed prior to the appearance before the board. Pasadena Playhouse Assn. v. Los Angeles County, 69 Cal.App.2d 611.

Reduction by county board without application.—The fact that the assessed value of certain property as reduced by allegedly illegal actions of a county board, including ordering the reductions without verified applications from the persons affected, does not give another taxpayer whose property was not similarly reduced a cause of action even though his taxes were thereby increased where the taxpayer did not allege or prove that his property as similar in character or situation to the property reduced, or that his property was overvalued, or that the reduced property was undervalued by the reductions. Crothers v. Santa Cruz County, 151 Cal.App.2d 219.

Application not required.—Ordinarily, to obtain a reduced assessment, the taxpayer must file an assessment appeal in accordance with this section and Section 80. However, after a property owner has been granted a reduction under Section 51, that section dispenses with the usual requirement to file an assessment appeal. El Dorado Palm Springs, Ltd. v. Board of Supervisors, 104 Cal.App.4th 1262.

Classification error.—Where taxpayer claimed leasehold improvements to have been erroneously classified as unsecured personal property he must first seek relief from the board of equalization before bringing court action. Citizens' Federal Savings & Loan Ass'n v. City & County of San Francisco, 202 Cal.App.2d 358.

Third-party applications.—There is no law authorizing the filing of a third-party application with an Assessment Appeals Board to increase the assessment of another person's property. Granting such a hearing is entirely within the discretion of the board as a part of its power to equalize on its own motion assessments of property within the county, Stevens v. Fox Realty Corp., 23 Cal.App.3d 199.

Since third-party requests are discretionary with the board, such requests are not required as an administrative remedy to be exhausted before judicial relief can be sought. TRIM, Inc. v. Monterey County, 86 Cal.App.3d 539.

Application filed by lessee.—Where a lessee under a 55-year lease filed an action against the county seeking a refund on property taxes paid, the Court of Appeal concluded that the lessee had standing to pursue the refund claim under Sections 469(b)(3), 1603(f), and 5140 of the Revenue and Taxation Code. As a tenant under a long-term lease that extended over 35 years and the party who paid the property taxes for the years at issue, the lessee was considered the beneficial owner of the property for property tax purposes and an affected party. Los Angeles County v. Raytheon Co., 159 Cal.App.4th 27.

Back to top


1603.1. Extension for filing application for equalization. [Repealed by Stats. 1978, Ch. 214, in effect June 8, 1978, operative January 1, 1979.]

1603.1. Application; stipulation. [Repealed by Stats. 1987, Ch. 498, in effect January 1, 1988.]

1603.5. Duplicate applications. (a) In the event a duplicate application for reduction in assessment is filed with the county board, the clerk may accept only the first application for reduction filed by or on behalf of the taxpayer, and may reject any duplicate application for reduction.

(b) For purposes of this section, "duplicate application for reduction" means an application for reduction filed by an applicant, or by his or her agent or attorney on his or her behalf, subsequent to an application for reduction previously filed by or on behalf of the same applicant, that seeks the same relief with respect to the same property for the same year in issue. A subsequent application for reduction that seeks to amend a previously filed application for reduction shall not be considered a duplicate application for reduction for purposes of this section.

History.—Added by Stats. 1996, Ch. 388, in effect January 1, 1997.

Back to top


1604. Regular equalization period. (a) (1) In counties of the first class, annually, on the fourth Monday in September, the county board shall meet to equalize the assessment of property on the local roll. It shall continue to meet for that purpose, from time to time, until the business of equalization is disposed of.

(2) In all other counties, annually, on the third Monday in July, the county board shall meet to equalize the assessment of property on the local roll. It shall continue to meet for that purpose, from time to time, until the business of equalization is disposed of.

(b) (1) An application for a reduction in an assessment filed pursuant to Section 1603 shall also constitute a sufficient claim for refund, if the applicant states in the application that the application is also intended to constitute a claim for refund pursuant to the provisions of Section 5097.

(2) The county board shall have no power to receive or hear any application for a reduction in an escaped assessment made pursuant to Section 531.1 nor a penal assessment levied in respect thereto, nor to reduce those assessments.

(c) If the county board fails to hear evidence and fails to make a final determination on the application for reduction in assessment of property within two years of the timely filing of the application, the applicant's opinion of value as reflected on the application for reduction in assessment shall be the value upon which taxes are to be levied for the tax year or tax years covered by the application, unless either of the following occurs:

(1) The applicant and the county board mutually agree in writing, or on the record, to an extension of time for the hearing.

(2) The application for reduction is consolidated for hearing with another application by the same applicant with respect to which an extension of time for the hearing has been granted pursuant to paragraph (1). In no case shall the application be consolidated without the applicant's written agreement after the two-year time period has passed or after an extension of the two-year time period previously agreed to by the applicant has expired.

The reduction in assessment reflecting the applicant's opinion of value shall not be made, however, until two years after the close of the filing period during which the timely application was filed. Further, this subdivision shall not apply to applications for reductions in assessments of property where the applicant has failed to provide full and complete information as required by law or where litigation is pending directly relating to the issues involved in the application.

(d) (1) When the applicant's opinion of value, as stated on the application, has been placed on the assessment roll pursuant to subdivision (c), and the application requested a reduction in the base year value of an assessment, the applicant's opinion of value shall remain on the roll until the county board makes a final determination on the application. The value so determined by the county board, plus appropriate adjustments for the inflation factor, shall be entered on the assessment roll for the fiscal year in which the value is determined. No increased or escape taxes other than those required by a purchase, change in ownership, or new construction, or resulting from application of the inflation factor to the applicant's opinion of value shall be levied for the tax years during which the county board failed to act.

(2) When the applicant's opinion of value has been placed on the assessment roll pursuant to subdivision (c) for any application other than an application requesting a reduction in base year value, the applicant's opinion of value shall be enrolled on the assessment roll for the tax year or tax years covered by that application.

(e) The county board shall notify the applicant in writing of any decision by that board not to hold a hearing on his or her application for reduction in assessment within the two-year period specified in subdivision (c). This notice shall also inform the applicant that the applicant's opinion of value as reflected on the application for reduction in assessment shall, as a result of the county board's failure to hold a hearing within the prescribed time period, be the value upon which taxes are to be levied in the absence of the application of either paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (c).

History.—Stats. 1966, p. 671 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year, substituted "third Monday" for "first Monday" and added "or the assessment appeals board" in the first sentence, deleted the last clause of the second sentence "but not later than the third Monday in July", and added the last paragraph. Stats. 1967, p. 1215, in effect November 8, 1967, added reference to assessment appeals board and third paragraph. Stats. 1969, p. 897, in effect November 10, 1969, substituted "531.1" for "531.5" in the third paragraph. Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 356, in effect April 24, 1974, applicable to assessments made on and after the 1974 lien date, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1603; added the subdivision letters; added (a); added "In all other counties," before "annually", substituted "county board" for "boards of supervisors or the assessment appeals board", and deleted "as the county board of equalization" after "meet" in the first sentence, and substituted "to meet" for "in session" in the second sentence of (b); and substituted "1603" for "1607" in the first sentence of the third paragraph. Stats. 1982, Ch. 1465, in effect January 1, 1983, added subdivision (c). Stats. 1986, Ch. 982, effective January 1, 1987, substituted "the" for "said" after "petition" in the second paragraph and substituted "those" for "such" after "nor to reduce" in the third paragraph of subdivision (b); added "and fails to make a final determination" after "evidence" and substituted "shall be the value upon which taxes are to be levied for the tax year covered by the application" for "pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1603 shall prevail as the basis upon which taxes are to be levied" after "assessment" in the first sentence, added the second sentence, and substituted "Further" for "However" before ", this" in the third sentence of subdivision (c); and added subdivision (d). Stats. 1991, Ch. 532, in effect January 1, 1992, added "either of the following occurs:" after "unless" in the first sentence, created subparagraph (1) from the former second phrase of the first sentence, and added subparagraph (2) in the first paragraph of subdivision (c). Stats. 1992, Ch. 523, in effect January 1, 1993, added ", or on the record," after "writing" in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c). Stats. 1995, Ch. 498, in effect January 1, 1996, added second sentence to paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) and added subdivision (e). Stats. 2004, Ch. 768 (AB 2857), in effect January 1, 2005, designated former subdivision (a) as paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) and numbered the first paragraph of former subdivision (b) as paragraph (2) thereof; numbered the former second paragraph of subdivision (b) as paragraph (1) of subdivision (b), deleted "and a proportionate reduction or refund of the taxes extended thereon" after "in an assessment" and deleted "or Section 5097" after "Section 1603" in the first sentence therein, added the second sentence, and numbered the former third paragraph as paragraph (2); and numbered the first paragraph of subdivision (d) as paragraph (1) and substituted "When the applicant's opinion of value * * * the applicant's opinion of value" for "If pursuant to subdivision (c), the applicant's opinion of value has been placed in the assessment roll, that" before "value shall remain" in the first sentence therein and added paragraph (2). Stats. 2010, Ch. 654 (SB 1494), in effect January 1, 2011, substituted "It" for "The Board" before "shall continue" in the second sentence of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a); deleted the former first sentence which provided "Any taxpayer may petition the board for a reduction in an assessment by filing an application pursuant to Section 1603.", added "filed pursuant to Section 1603" after "an assessment" in the former second sentence of paragraph (1), and substituted "application" for "petition" after "hear any" in the first sentence of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b); deleted "assessment appeals" after "the county", substituted "applicant's opinion of value" for "taxpayer's opinion of market value" after "application, the" and added "or tax years" after "tax year" in the first sentence of the first paragraph, substituted "applicant" for "taxpayer" after "The" and deleted "assessment appeals" after "the county" in the first sentence of paragraph (1), substituted "applicant" for "taxpayer" after "the same" in the first sentence and substituted "applicant's" for "taxpayer's" after "without the" in the second sentence of paragraph (2), substituted "applicant's opinion of value" for "taxpayer's opinion of market value" after "reflecting the", substituted "applicant" for "taxpayer" after "where the" in the second sentence and deleted the third sentence which provided that "This subdivision is only applicable to applications filed on or after January 1, 1983." in the second paragraph of subdivision (c); and deleted "pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 80" after "an assessment" in the first sentence of paragraph (1) and substituted "requesting a reduction in base year value" for "filed pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 80" after "an application" in the first sentence of paragraph (2) of subdivision (d); and substituted "applicant's" for taxpayer's" after "that the" in the second sentence of subdivision (e).

Construction.—The purpose of this section is to assure a prompt resolution of applications for reduction in assessment. The section is designed to prevent bureaucratic delay and forestalling of the return of a taxpayer's money, by providing a significant disincentive for a taxing authority to delay resolution of the taxpayer's application. Mission Housing Development Company v. City and County of San Francisco, 59 Cal.App.4th 55.

Assessment made within regular period.—There is no language in sections 1603 or 1605 limiting "regular assessment period" to any specific tax year. More likely, there is a four-month period in every calendar year in which assessments are made in the normal course of events, and as to an assessment made during that period, regardless of the tax year involved, a taxpayer would have until September 15 to file an application for reduction of assessment. Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Orange County 187, Cal.App.3d 1141.

Determination after two years.—An appeals board was authorized to reinstate an application that had been denied due to nonappearance after the two-year period prescribed by subdivision (c) and the board's purported revocation of the reinstatement was improper. Even though the taxpayer was entitled to hearing and decision on the application, the taxpayer was estopped from claiming the operation and benefit of subdivisions (c) and (d) because the board had reinstated the application on the condition that the taxpayer waive its right to enrollment of its opinion of value and the taxpayer's attorney knowingly misled the board by failing to notify the board that the taxpayer did not consent to the waiver prior to the noticed hearing. Helene Curtis, Inc. v. Los Angeles County Assessment Appeals Boards, 121 Cal.App.4th 29.

Status of boards.—Although composed of the same members, the county board of equalization is a separate constitutional body from the board of supervisors. Napa Savings Bank v. Napa County, 17 Cal.App. 545.

Meetings.—Acts of the board done after the limit of time fixed by this section are valid if done within the period to which the time could have been extended by the State Board of Equalization. (Buswell v. Board of Supervisors, 116 Cal. 351; Whiting Finance Co. v. Hopkins, 199 Cal. 428), but not if done after the expiration of such period. Napa Savings Bank v. Napa County, supra; Henne v. Los Angeles County, 129 Cal. 297. Cf., however, Universal Consolidated Oil Co. v. Byram, 25 Cal.2d 353. Irregularity in the time of meeting of the board of equalization cannot be urged against the validity of an assessment by one who, upon demand made by the assessor, has refused to give under oath a statement of his assessable property, and therefore could not have had his assessment reduced. Modoc County v. Churchill, 75 Cal. 172.

There is a denial of procedural due process of law when an application is heard by less than a majority of the board, Bandini Estate Co. v. Los Angeles County, 28 Cal.App.2d 224, or when the board members refrain from giving proper consideration to the evidence because of a mistaken belief as to the nature of the question presented. Universal Consolidated Oil Co. v. Byram, 25 Cal.2d 353.

However, mere informalities in the proceedings do not invalidate them. La Grange etc., Mining Co. v. Carter, 142 Cal. 560.

Nature of determination by county board.—A determination of assessments by the county board of equalization is quasi-judicial in nature and is res judicata as far as the courts are concerned. Quinn v. Aero Services, Inc., 172 F.2d 157. Where a county board of equalization made a final determination on applications for reduction of assessment within two years by denying them for lack of jurisdiction, the requirements of Section 1604(c) were not met, and the adoption of the applicant's opinions of value was not required. Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Board of Equalization, 84 Cal.App.4th 1323.

Refund of taxes.—Unless a taxpayer states in an application for reduction of assessment that the application is intended to constitute a claim for refund, under Section 5097, the taxpayer must file a separate refund within four years of paying the tax. Thus, a claim for refund filed pursuant to Section 5097 on November 19, 1986, was not timely for taxes paid prior to November 19, 1982. Osco Drug, Inc. v. Orange County, 221 Cal.App.3d 189.

Determination after two years.—A county board of equalization, which fails to decide an applicant's application for a reduction of assessment within two years, is bound by the applicant's opinion of the property's market value as reflected on the application. Section 1604(c) is mandatory, not "directory". Shell Western E&P, Inc. v. Lake County, 224 Cal.App.3d 974. Taxpayers' were entitled to have their opinions of value as to their properties, as stated in their applications for reduction of assessment, inserted on the county assessment roll for the tax years 1985–1986 and 1986–1987, during which they awaited a hearing, where the county failed to carry its burden of overcoming the presumption of constitutionality attached to subdivision (c). Mission Housing Development Company v. City and County of San Francisco, 59 Cal.App.4th 55. Taxpayer was entitled to have its opinion of value as to its property, as stated in its 1992 application, inserted on the roll for the tax years 1992–93 through 1998–99, during which it awaited a hearing. If the board fails to act within two years of filing of the application, subdivisions (c) and (d) require that the taxpayers' opinion of value becomes the assessed value, both for the application year and for subsequent years until a final determination is made. Flight Safety International, Inc. v. Assessment Appeals Board, 105 Cal.App.4th 620. A class action alleging that taxpayers who had filed timely applications for reduction of their assessments and whose applications were not finally determined in two years were entitled, under subdivision (c), to have to pay taxes only on the amounts set forth in their applications and to have the assessment rolls reflect those values is not a prohibited class claim for property tax refund. The action would merely result in an order requiring compliance with the subdivision. Bunker v. Orange County, 103 Cal.App.4th 542. Unless the assessment appeals board gives written notice of controlling litigation, the two year period within which an applicant's application for reduction in assessment must be heard is not extended because of pending litigation. Under property tax rule 309, the local taxing authority must give written notice identifying any litigation that extends the two-year period. The written notice defines and measures the tolling period. Under the rule, the time tolled is only that time from the giving of written notice. United Enterprises, Ltd. v. Assessment Appeals Board, 22 Cal.App.4th 152. A taxpayer may be estopped from claiming the benefit of the two-year period because the taxpayer's attorney, without notice to the appeals board, subtly altered the board's waiver agreement and misled the board's clerk into believing that no alteration had been made, with the result that the hearing on the application took place six days beyond the waiver period as modified by the attorney. Stocker Resources, Inc. v. Assessment Appeals Board, 49 Cal.App.4th 391.

Note.—As to untimely correction of assessment roll, see annotation to Section 1650.

Back to top


1605. Notice and review of assessment made outside regular period. (a) An assessment made outside of the regular assessment period is not effective for any purpose, including its review, equalization and adjustment by the county board, until the assessee has been notified thereof personally or by United States mail at the assessee's address as contained in the official records of the county assessor. For purposes of this subdivision, for counties in which the board of supervisors has adopted the provisions of subdivision (c) and the County of Los Angeles, receipt by the assessee of a tax bill based on that assessment shall suffice as the notice.

(b) Upon application for reduction in assessment pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1603, the assessment shall be subject to review, equalization and adjustment by the county board. In the case of an assessment made pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 75.10) of Chapter 3.5 of Part 0.5, or Article 3 (commencing with Section 501) of Chapter 3 of Part 2 that is made outside the regular assessment period as defined in subdivision (f), or an assessment made pursuant to Article 4 (commencing with Section 531) of Chapter 3 of Part 2, the application shall be filed with the clerk in accordance with the applicable of the following:

(1) In a county other than the County of Los Angeles or a county in which the board of supervisors has adopted a resolution in accordance with subdivision (c), no later than 60 days after the date of mailing printed on the notice of assessment, or the postmark therefor, whichever is later. If the taxpayer does not receive the notice of assessment described in Section 75.31 or 534 at least 15 calendar days prior to the deadline established in the foregoing sentence, the party affected, or his or her agent, may file the application within 60 days of the date of mailing printed on the tax bill or the postmark therefor, whichever is later, along with an affidavit declaring under penalty of perjury that the notice of assessment was not timely received.

(2) In the County of Los Angeles or any county in which the board of supervisors has adopted a resolution in accordance with subdivision (c), an application subject to this subdivision shall be filed within the period specified in that subdivision.

(c) The board of supervisors of any county may by resolution require that the application for reduction pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1603 be filed with the clerk no later than 60 days after the date of mailing printed on the tax bill or the postmark therefor, whichever is later.

(d) In counties where assessment appeals boards have not been created and are not in existence, at any regular meeting, the board of supervisors, on the request of the assessor or any taxpayer, shall sit as the county board to equalize any assessments made by the assessor outside the regular assessment period for those assessments. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, in any county in which assessment appeals boards have been created and are in existence, the time for equalization of assessments made outside the regular assessment period for those assessments, including assessments made pursuant to Sections 501, 503, 504, 531, and 531.5, shall be prescribed by rules adopted by the board of supervisors.

(e) If an audit of the books and records of any profession, trade, or business pursuant to Section 469 discloses property subject to an escaped assessment for any year, then the original assessment of all property of the assessee at the location of the profession, trade, or business for that year shall be subject to review, equalization and adjustment by the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board pursuant to this chapter, except in those instances when that property had previously been equalized for the year in question by the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board. The application shall be filed with the clerk no later than 60 days after the date on which the assessee was notified. Receipt by the assessee of a tax bill based upon that assessment shall suffice as that notice.

(f) For purposes of subdivision (a), "regular assessment period" means January 1 to and including July 1 of the calendar year in which the assessment, other than escape assessments, should have been enrolled if it had been timely made.

History.—Added by Stats. 1965, p. 3161, in effect September 17, 1965. Stats. 1967, p. 3340, in effect November 8, 1967, substituted the present language in the first sentence from the beginning to ". . . is not effective . . . ." Stats. 1968, p. 1461, in effect November 13, 1968, added "(a)" following "Section 1607". Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 356, in effect April 24, 1974, applicable to assessments made on and after the 1974 lien date, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1604.1; added the subdivision letters; substituted "county board" for "Board of Equalization" in subdivision (a); substituted "subdivision (a) of Section 1603" for "Section 1607(a) of this code", and deleted "of equalization" after "county board" in the first sentence, and added the second sentence to subdivision (b); and added subdivision (c). Stats. 1978, Ch. 1112, in effect January 1, 1979, in subdivision (c) deleted reference to Section 1061 and added subdivision (d). Stats. 1979, Ch. 518, in effect January 1, 1980 substituted "date on which the assessee was notified." for "mailing of the tax bill on such assessment to the assessee." in subdivision (d) and added last sentence. Stats. 1990, Ch. 126, in effect June 11, 1990, substituted "the assessee's" for "his" after "mail at" in the first sentence, and substituted "that" for "said" after "based on", and "the" for "such" after "suffice as" in the second sentence of subdivision (a); substituted ''the" for "such" after "1603," in the first sentence, substituted "shall" for "must" after "application" in the second sentence, and added third sentence in subdivision (b); added subdivision (c); relettered former subdivisions (c) and (d) as (d) and (e), respectively; substituted "those" for "such" after "period for" in the first and second sentences, and added a comma after "531.1" in the second sentence of subdivision (d); deleted "of this code" after "Section 469", substituted "this chapter" for "Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1601) of Part 3 of division" after "pursuant to", and substituted "that" for "such" after ''instances when" in the first sentence, substituted "shall" for "must" after "application" in the second sentence, and substituted "that" for "said" after "based upon" and substituted "that" for "such" after "suffice as" in the third sentence of subdivision (e); and added subdivision (f). Stats. 1992, Ch. 523, in effect January 1, 1993, added "However, . . . 1607." as the fourth sentence in subdivision (b). Stats. 1995, Ch. 499, in effect January 1, 1996, operative January 1, 1997, substituted "January" for "March" after "means" in subdivision (f). Stats. 1997, Ch. 940 (SB 1105), in effect January 1, 1998, added "and" after "504," and deleted ", and 531.1," after "531" in the second sentence of subdivision (d). Stats. 2000, Ch. 647 (SB 2170), added "For purposes of . . . the first class," before "Receipt" in the second sentence of subdivision (a); deleted former second, third, and fourth sentences of subdivision (b), which provided that "The application shall be filed with the clerk no later than 60 days after the date on which the assessee was notified. For counties of the first class, the application shall be filed within 60 days of the date of the mailing of the tax bill. However, an application for reduction in a supplemental assessment may be filed within 12 months following the month in which the assessee is notified of that assessment, if the party affected or his or her agent and the assessor stipulate that there is an error in the assessment as the result of the exercise of the assessor's judgment in determining the full cash value of the property and a written stipulation as to the full cash value and assessed value of the property is filed in accordance with Section 1607.", and added the second, third, and fourth sentences therein; substituted "mailing printed on the tax bill or the postmark therefor, whichever is later" for "the mailing of the tax bill" after "date of" in the first sentence of subdivision (c); and substituted "531, and 531.5," for "and 531" after "504," in the second sentence of subdivision (d). Stats. 2001, Ch. 744 (SB 1182), in effect January 1, 2002, substituted "the County of Los Angeles" for "counties of the first class" after "subdivision (c) and" in the second sentence of subdivision (a); added "in assessment" after "reduction" and added a comma after "equalization" in the first sentence, added "Article 2 (commencing with Section 75.10) of Chapter 3.5 of Part 0.5, or" after the first "pursuant to", added "of Chapter 3 of Part 2 that is made outside the regular assessment period as defined in subdivision (f)," after "Section 501)", added "an assessment made pursuant to" after "or", substituted "in accordance with the applicable of the following:" for "no later than 60 days after the date of mailing printed on the notice of assessment, or the postmark therefor, whichever is later." in the second sentence, created paragraph (1) with the former third and fourth sentences, substituted "In a county other than the County of Los Angeles or a county" for "For counties" before "in which", substituted "no later than 60 days after the date of mailing printed on the notice of assessment, or" for "and counties of the first class, an application subject to the preceding sentence shall be filed within 60 days of the date of mailing printed on the tax bill or" after "subdivision (c)," in the first sentence, added "75.31 or" after "Section", substituted "established in the foregoing sentence" for "to file the application described in Section 1603" after "the deadline", and added "of assessment" after "the notice" in the second sentence therein, and added paragraph (2) to subdivision (b).

Note.—Section 5 of Stats. 1979, Ch. 518, provided no payment by state to local government by reason of this act.

Note.—Section 10 of Stats. 2001, Ch. 744 (SB 1182) provided that no reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIIIB 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.

Construction.—Section 1603 and this section contemplate not only a reduction in the value of the property to be taxed, but also a reduction in the rate applicable to the taxable property. Thus, this section provides an administrative remedy for assertion of the 1 percent rate of tax entitlement for documented commercial fishing vessels authorized by Section 227 in escape assessment situations, and a corporation's failure to exhaust that remedy by claiming the 1 percent entitlement by application for reduction in assessment barred consideration of the claimed entitlement at trial. San Diego County v. Lafayette Steel Co. 164 Cal.App.3d 690. Section 1605(e) allows a taxpayer to seek administrative review by the county board of equalization if an audit of the books and records of its profession, trade, or business pursuant to Section 469 discloses property "subject to" an escape assessment for any year. Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Board of Equalization, 84 Cal.App.4th 1323. Under subdivision (e) of Section 1605, where an assessor discovers property that has escaped assessment for the particular tax year and thereafter issues an escape assessment directed to that property, the taxpayer may challenge the assessment not only with respect to the property that had escaped assessment, but also as to all personal and real property of the taxpayer assessed at the location during the same tax year. County of Los Angeles v. Raytheon Co., 159 Cal.App.4th 27.

Amendment of application.—Although the statutes governing local equalization proceedings neither permit nor prohibit amendment of applications, Property Tax Rule 305(e) prohibits a substantive amendment of an application after expiration of statutory filing deadlines. Helene Curtis, Inc. v. Assessment Appeals Board, 76 Cal.App.4th 124.

Regular period.—Escape assessments made on June 20, 1977, for prior tax years were probably made during the regular assessment period for the 1977–78 tax year, in which event a taxpayer would have until September 15, 1977, to file an application for reduction of assessment; but in any event, absent evidence as to when a taxpayer received notice of the assessments and that the taxpayer did not file its application for reduction within 60 days of receipt of notice, the county did not sustain its burden of proof on the issue of whether the application for reduction was timely filed. Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Orange County, 187 Cal.App.3d 1141.

Uncompleted audit.—An application filed after the assessor completed his audit of one of four years and declined to reconsider the others was premature. Since the audit for the three years had never been completed, there were no audit disclosures that, under subdivision (e), could provide the basis for administrative review. Apple Computer, Inc. v. Assessment Appeals Board, 105 Cal.App.4th 1355.

Back to top


1605.4. Nature of hearings. Equalization hearings shall be open and public except that, upon conclusion of the taking of evidence, the county board may deliberate in private in reaching a decision. An applicant may request the board to close to the public a portion of the hearing by filing a declaration under penalty of perjury that evidence is to be presented which relates to trade secrets the disclosure of which will be detrimental to the business interests of the owner of the trade secrets. If the board grants the request, only evidence relating to the trade secrets may be presented during the time the hearing is closed.

History.—Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 358, in effect April 24, 1974, applicable to assessments made on and after the 1974 lien date.

1605.5. Property subject to change in ownership or newly constructed. (a) (1) The county board shall hear applications for a reduction in an assessment in cases in which the issue is whether or not property has been subject to a change in ownership, as defined in Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 60) of Part 0.5, or has been newly constructed, as defined in Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 70) of Part 0.5.

(2) In any county that has established an assessment appeals board, the board of supervisors may, by ordinance, provide that it shall act as the county board of equalization for the purpose of hearing applications pursuant to this subdivision.

(3) This subdivision shall not be construed to alter, modify, or eliminate the right of an applicant under existing law to have a trial de novo in superior court with regard to the legal issue of whether or not that property has undergone a change in ownership or has been newly constructed so as to require reassessment.

(b) The county board shall hear and decide issues with respect to penalties assessed under Section 463, 482, or 504 where those issues arise in connection with an application timely filed under Section 1603 or 1605. The county board shall hear and decide penalty issues under this subdivision regardless of whether the taxpayer has filed an application for reduction disputing only penalty amounts or, during the appeal process, all nonpenalty issues are resolved.

History.—Added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 1457, effective January 1, 1987. Stats. 1993, Ch. 387, in effect January 1, 1994, added subdivision letter and paragraph number "(a)(1)" before "The county" in the first paragraph; added paragraph number (2) before the second paragraph, and substituted "that" for "which" after "county" and substituted "subdivision" for "section" after "to this" therein; added paragraph number (3) before the third paragraph, and substituted "subdivision" for "section" after "this" therein; and added subdivision (b).

Back to top


1605.6. Notification of hearing. After the filing of an application for reduction of an assessment, the clerk of the county board of equalization shall set the matter for hearing and notify the applicant, or his or her designated representative, of the time and date of the hearing. Notice of the time, date, and place of the hearing shall be given not less than 45 days prior to the hearing, unless the assessor and the applicant, or the applicant's designated representative, stipulate orally or in writing to a shorter notice period. If the hearing on a particular application is vacated for any reason, the clerk of the county board of equalization shall notify the applicant, or the applicant's designated representative, of the new time, date, and place of the hearing not less than 10 days prior to the new hearing date, unless the assessor and the applicant, or the applicant's designated representative, stipulate orally or in writing to a shorter notice period, or the application has been heard by a hearing officer in accordance with Article 1.7 (commencing with Section 1636). At the option of the clerk of the county board of equalization, the notice required by this section may be electronically transmitted, if requested in writing by the taxpayer, to an electronic address designated by the taxpayer. The clerk may also opt to electronically transmit the notice required by this section to the assessor, if requested by the assessor, to an electronic address designated by the assessor.

History.—Added by Stats. 1993, Ch. 387, in effect January 1, 1994. Stats. 1998, Ch. 695 (SB 2235), in effect January 1, 1999, added the fourth and fifth sentences.

Construction.—An assessment appeals board had no jurisdiction to proceed with a hearing where it failed to give 45 days' notice of the hearing, as required by this section, and there was insufficient time to renotice the hearing on 45 days' notice before the two-year statute set forth in Section 1604 ran. The 45 days' notice provision is mandatory. International Medication Systems, Inc. v. Assessment Appeals Board, 57 Cal.App.4th 761.

Back to top


1606. Exchange of information. (a) (1) Any applicant for a change of an assessment on the local roll or the assessor, in those cases where the assessed value of the property involved, as shown on the current assessment roll, exceeds one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) without regard to any

exemptions, may initiate an exchange of information with the other party by submitting the following data to the other party and the clerk in writing:

(A) Information stating the basis of the party's opinion of value.

(B) When the opinion of value is to be supported with evidence of comparable sales, information identifying the properties with sufficient certainty such as by assessor parcel number, street address or legal description of the property, the approximate date of sale, the applicable zoning, the price paid, and the terms of the sale, if known.

(C) When the opinion of value is to be supported with evidence based on an income study, information relating to income, expenses and the capitalization method.

(D) When the opinion of value is to be supported with evidence of replacement costs, information relating to date of construction, type of construction, replacement cost of construction, obsolescence, allowance for extraordinary use of machinery and equipment, and depreciation allowances.

(2) To initiate an exchange of information, the initiating party shall submit the data required by paragraph (1) at least 30 days before the commencement of the hearing on the application. For purposes of determining the date upon which the exchange was deemed initiated, 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 or package containing the information shall control.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding any limitation on assessed value contained in subdivision (a), if the initiating party has submitted the data required by subdivision (a) within the specified time, the other party shall submit to the initiating party and clerk the following data:

(A) Information stating the basis of the other party's opinion of value.

(B) When the opinion of value is to be supported with evidence of comparable sales, information identifying the properties with sufficient certainty such as by assessor parcel number, street address or legal description of the property, the approximate date of sale, the applicable zoning, the price paid, and the terms of the sale, if known.

(C) When the opinion of value is to be supported with evidence based on an income study, information relating to income, expenses and the capitalization method.

(D) When the opinion of value is to be supported with evidence of replacement cost, information relating to date of construction, type of construction, replacement cost of construction, obsolescence, allowance for extraordinary use of machinery and equipment, and depreciation allowances.

(2) The other party shall submit the data required by this subdivision at least 15 days prior to the hearing. For purposes of determining the date upon which the other party responded to the exchange, 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 or package containing the information shall control.

(c) (1) The person assigning a hearing date shall provide adequate notice to the parties of the date, so that the exchange of information permitted by this section can be made without requiring a continuance of the hearing.

(2) The initiating party and the other party shall use adequate methods of submission to ensure to the best of their ability that the exchange of information process is completed at least 10 days prior to the hearing.

(d) Whenever information has been exchanged pursuant to this section the parties may not introduce evidence on matters not so exchanged unless the other party consents to such introduction. However, at the hearing, each party may introduce new material relating to the information received from the other party. If a party introduces new material at the hearing, the other party, upon his or her request, shall be granted a continuance for a reasonable period of time.

(e) Nothing in this section may be construed as an intent of the Legislature to change, alter or modify generally acceptable methods of using the sales approach, income approach, or replacement cost approach to determine full cash value.

History.—Added by Stats. 1969, p. 2639, in effect November 10, 1969, applicable to assessments made on or after the 1970 lien date. Stats. 1973, Ch. 782, p. 1395, in effect January 1, 1974, in the introduction of subdivision (a): added "commencement of the" before "hearing"; added the provisions allowing the assessor to initiate exchange of information as well as applicant; and added the limitation on the assessed value of property for which exchange of information could be initiated. In the introduction of subdivision (b)added "Notwithstanding any limitation on assessed value contained in subdivision (a)" at the beginning, and changed the balance of the introduction and subdivision (b)(1) to reflect the fact that the assessor as well as the applicant could have initiated the exchange of information. Added "opinion of" before "value" in subdivisions (b)(2), (b)(3) and (b)(4). Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 360, in effect April 24, 1974, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1608.7, and substituted ":" for "." at the end of subdivision (a). Stats. 1978, Ch. 1207, in effect January 1, 1979, operative January 1, 1981, substituted "one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000)" for "twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000)" in the first sentence of subdivision (a). Stats. 2001, Ch. 407 (SB 1181), in effect January 1, 2002, designated the former first sentence of the first paragraph as paragraph (1) and deleted "At the time of filing the application or at any time prior to 20 days before the commencement of the hearing on the application," before "Any", substituted "initiate" for "cause" after "may", substituted "with" for "between himself and" after "information", and added "and the clerk" after the second "other party" therein, relettered former paragraph (1) as subparagraph (A) and substituted "the" for "such" after "basis of" therein, relettered former paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) as subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D), respectively, and added paragraph (2) of subdivision (a); designated the former first sentence of the first paragraph as paragraph (1) and substituted "the initiating party" for "an applicant for a change of an assessment or the assessor" after "if", deleted "at least 10 days prior to the hearing" after "time," and substituted "initiating party and clerk" for "party who caused the exchange of information in writing" after "to the" therein, relettered former paragraph (1) as subparagraph (A) and substituted "the" for "such" after "basis of" therein, relettered former paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) as subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D), respectively, and added paragraph (2) of subdivision (b); designated the former second paragraph of subdivision (b) as paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) and added paragraph (2) therein, designated the former third paragraph as subdivision (d) and added "or her" after "his" in the third sentence therein; and designated the former fourth paragraph of subdivision (b) as subdivision (e) and substituted "may" for "shall" after "section" in the first sentence therein.

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.

Construction.—This section is a discovery device created to promote a fair and effective adversary equalization process and is to be given a reasonable and common sense interpretation. If the exchange of information provides reasonable notice to the opposition concerning the subject matter to be presented at the equalization hearing, the section has been complied with. There is no requirement that the details of evidence to be introduced must be exchanged. Bank of America v. Fresno County, 127 Cal.App.3d 295. As counties are expressly authorized to adopt rules for assessment for assessment appeal hearings, a county rule consistent with Section 441 is not precluded by this section. State Board of Equalization v. Ceniceros, 63 Cal.App.4th 122.

Back to top


1607. Examination; stipulation. Before the county board makes any reduction, it shall examine, on oath, the person affected or the agent making the application touching the value of the property. A reduction shall not be made unless the person or agent attends and answers all questions pertinent to the inquiry; provided, however, in the event there is filed with the county board a written stipulation, signed by the assessor and county legal officer on behalf of the county and the person affected or the agent making the application, as to the full value and assessed value of the property which stipulation sets forth the facts upon which the reduction in value is premised, the county board may, at a hearing, (a) accept the stipulation, waive the appearance of the person affected or the agent and change the assessed value in accordance with Section 1610.8, or (b) reject the stipulation and set or reset the application for reduction for hearing.

History.—Stats. 1967, p. 1907, in effect July 5, 1967, added all after ". . . pertinent to the inquiry; . . ." in the second sentence. Stats. 1974, Ch. 311, p. 612, in effect January 1, 1975, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1608; and substituted "full value" for "full cash value", and deleted "public" after "county board may, at a" in the second sentence, and substituted "1610.8" for "1605" in (a) thereof.

Presumption of conformity.—As the reduction to writing of testimony of witnesses examined by the board is not required, upon review of such proceedings in the courts it must be presumed that applicants were examined in conformity with the provisions of the statute. Garretson v. Board of Supervisors, 61 Cal. 54.

1608. Examination; waiver. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 1607, the county board may, in its discretion, waive the examination of the person or agent making the application, if the board and the assessor are satisfied that the issues raised by the application have been considered by the board in previous years or are fully presented in the application, and if the person or agent making the application requests such waiver in his or her application. The board (whether meeting as a board of equalization or as a board of supervisors) shall promptly act upon such request for waiver and shall give the applicant written notice of its decision thereon. If the board waives the examination of the person or agent making the application, it shall give such person or agent written notice of its decision on the merits of the application promptly after making such decision.

History.—Added by Stats. 1967, p. 2861, in effect August 15, 1967. Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 360, in effect April 24, 1974, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1608.5, and substituted "1607" for "1608" in the first sentence. Stats. 1990, Ch. 992, in effect January 1, 1991, added "or her" after "his" in the first sentence, and deleted "within 10 days after the filing of the application and request for waiver." after "decision thereon" in the second sentence.

Back to top


1609. Rules of evidence. The hearing need not be conducted according to technical rules relating to evidence and witnesses. Any relevant evidence may be admitted if it is the sort of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule which might make improper the admission of such evidence over objection in civil actions. The applicant shall have the right to introduce evidence concerning the terms of sales of comparable property that has been sold.

History.—Added by Stats. 1968, p. 2293, in effect November 13, 1968. Stats. 1972, p. 2007, in effect March 7, 1973, added the second paragraph. Stats. 1973, Ch. 1009, p. 2006, in effect January 1, 1974, deleted a second paragraph which provided that the value of comparable properties as established by the assessor shall be considered by the board. Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 362, in effect April 24, 1974, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1609.2. Stats. 1976, Ch. 995, p. 2363, in effect January 1, 1977, added the third sentence.

Construction.—Ratios calculated by the assessor's experts and employed to illustrate differences between the various sales that were being examined were not inadmissible under this section. The experts did not rely on the ratios alone to appraise the property. Rather, the ratios merely aided the appraisers in making the adjustments required by Property Tax Rules 4 and 8. Texaco Producing, Inc. v. Kern County, 66 Cal.App.4th 1029.

1609.2. Prohibited evidence. [Repealed by Stats. 1982, Ch. 327, in effect June 30, 1982.]

1609.4. Evidence; subpoenas. On the hearing of the application, the county board may subpoena witnesses and books, records, maps, and documents and take evidence in relation to the inquiry. The assessor may introduce new evidence of full cash value of a parcel of property at the hearing and may also introduce information obtained pursuant to Section 441. If the assessor proposes to introduce evidence to support a higher assessed value than he placed on the roll, he shall, at least 10 days prior to the hearing, inform the applicant of the higher assessed value and the evidence proposed to be introduced and he may thereafter introduce such evidence at the hearing.

No subpoena to take depositions shall be issued nor shall depositions be considered for any purpose by the county board or the assessment appeals board.

History.—Stats. 1966, p. 672 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year, added "and books, records, maps, and documents" and the last sentence. Stats. 1967, p. 3446, in effect August 25, 1967, added clause beginning ". . . and may also add . . ." at the end of the second sentence; and added the last paragraph. Stats. 1968, p. 2292, in effect November 13, 1968, added the third sentence of the first paragraph relating to evidence of higher value. Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 361, in effect April 24, 1974, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1609.

Allowable evidence.—An assessor's use of information obtained pursuant to Section 441 of the Code is limited to either market data or information obtained from the taxpayer seeking the reduction, and not relating to the business affairs of another taxpayer. Chanslor-Western Oil and Development Co. v. Cook, 101 Cal.App.3d 407. While an assessment appeal hearing is an equalization procedure, this section expressly states that an assessor may introduce information obtained pursuant to Section 441 at the hearing. State Board of Equalization v. Ceniceros, 63 Cal.App.4th 122.

Depositions—perpetuating testimony.—Depositions of assessors and their assistants cannot be taken for the purpose of perpetuating testimony under Section 2017 of the Code of Civil Procedure because depositions are not admissible either at the local equalization hearing or at a subsequent court review. Hunt-Wesson Foods, Inc. v. Stanislaus County, 273 Cal.App.2d 92; Campbell Chain Co. v. Alameda County, 12 Cal.App.3d 248.

Back to top


1609.5. Subpoenas; state board employees. (a) Whenever an employee of the board is desired as a witness before a county board in a hearing on an application for reduction, a subpoena requiring his or her attendance may be served by delivering a copy either to the employee personally or to the executive director of the board at his or her office in Sacramento.

(b) The employee shall attend as a witness as required by the subpoena, regardless of the distance to be traveled, provided that the subpoena is accompanied by fees payable to the State Board of Equalization in the amount of two hundred dollars ($200) per day for each day that the employee is required to remain in attendance pursuant to the subpoena. These fees are to be paid by the party requesting the subpoena.

(c) The employee shall receive the salary or other compensation to which he or she is normally entitled during the time that he or she travels to and from the place where the hearing is conducted and while he or she is required to remain at that place pursuant to the subpoena. He or she shall also receive usual and customary travel expenses and per diem. If the actual expenses should later prove to be less than the amount paid by the party, the excess shall be refunded by the board.

(d) If the employee is subpoenaed at the request of the applicant and the county board grants a reduction in the assessment, the county board may reimburse the applicant in whole or in part for the actual witness fees paid pursuant to this section.

(e) Any person who pays or offers to pay any money or other form of consideration for the services of any employee of the board required to appear as a witness, other than the compensation provided in this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and any employee who receives this payment is guilty of a misdemeanor.

History.—Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 651, p. 1514, in effect January 1, 1975. Sec. 2 thereof provided no payment by state to local governments because of this act. Stats. 1979, Ch. 516, in effect January 1, 1980, substituted "two hundred dollars ($200)" for "one hundred fifty dollars ($150)" in the first sentence of the second paragraph. Stats. 2003, Ch. 471 (SB 1062), in effect January 1, 2004, added the subdivision letter designations; added "or her" after "his" twice and substituted "director" for "secretary" after "to the executive" in the first sentence of subdivision (a); added "that" after "traveled, provided", substituted "the" for "such" after "each day that", and substituted "the" for "such" after " attendance pursuant to" in the first sentence and substituted "These" for "Such" before "fees are to" in the second sentence of subdivision (b); added "that" after "during the time", substituted "that" for "such" after "remain at", substituted "the" for "such" after "pursuant to", and added "or she" after "he" three times in the first sentence, and added "or she" after "he" in the second sentence of subdivision (c); substituted "If" for "In the event" before "the employee is" in the first sentence of subdivision (d); and substituted "this" for "any such" after "employee who receives" in the first sentence of subdivision (e).

1609.6. Confidential information. Nothing in Section 1610.8 shall be construed as permitting any violation of Section 408 or 451.

History.—Added by Stats. 1967, p. 3446, in effect August 25, 1967. Stats. 1974, p. 358, Ch. 180, in effect April 24, 1974, applicable to assessments made on and after the 1974 lien date, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1605.1; and substituted "1610.8" for "1605", and deleted "of this code" after "1610.8" and after "451".

1609.8. Valuation of property. When valuing property, a county board shall follow the provisions set forth in Section 402.5.

History.—Added by Stats. 1969, p. 1989, in effect November 10, 1969. Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 362, in effect April 24, 1974, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1613, and deleted "of equalization or county assessment appeals board" after "county board".

Back to top


1610. Presumption of value. [Repealed by Stats. 1980, Ch. 1081, p. 3459, in effect September 26, 1980.]

1610.2. Presence of assessor. The assessor in person or through a deputy shall attend all hearings of the county board and may make any statement or produce evidence on matters before the county board.

History.—Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 362, in effect April 24, 1974, applicable to assessments made on and after the 1974 lien date, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1610, and substituted "The assessor in person or through a deputy shall attend all hearings of the county board" for "During the session of the county board, the assessor and any deputy whose testimony is needed shall be present".

1610.4. False statements. Every person who willfully states anything which he knows to be false in any oral or written statement, not under oath, required or authorized to be made as the basis of an application to reduce any tax or assessment, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

History.—Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 362, in effect April 24, 1974, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1615.

1610.6. Entire roll. The county board shall neither raise nor lower the entire local roll.

History.—Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 359, in effect April 24, 1974, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1606.

Back to top


1610.8. Individual assessments. After giving notice as prescribed by its rules, the county board shall equalize the assessment of property on the local roll by determining the full value of an individual property, by assessing any taxable property that has escaped assessment, correcting the amount, number, quantity, or description of property on the local roll, canceling improper assessments, and by reducing or increasing an individual assessment, as provided in this section. The full value of an individual property shall be determined without limitation by reason of the applicant's opinion of value stated in the application for reduction in assessment pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1603.

The applicant for a reduction in an assessment on the local roll shall establish the full value of the property by independent evidence. The records of the assessor may be used as part of such evidence.

The county board shall make a determination of the full value of each parcel for which an application for equalization is made.

History.—Stats. 1966, p. 672 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year, deleted former language and added all of present language. Stats. 1967, p. 1459, in effect June 7, 1967, eliminated three sentences in first paragraph relating to findings, conclusions, and transcripts; substituted in the second paragraph a conclusive presumption that ratio is within certain limits for a rule which stated that if ratio was without such limits it was prima facie evidence of inequitable assessment; and substituted the present third paragraph for portions of the previous provision on the same subject. Stats. 1974, Ch. 311, p. 611, in effect January 1, 1975, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1605; substituted "full value" for "full cash value", and substituted "property" for "assessment" after "individual" in the first sentence of the first paragraph; substituted "equalization" for "the equalization proceedings", and substituted "full value" for "full cash value" in the first sentence of the second paragraph; and substituted "full value" for "full cash value" in the first sentence of the third paragraph, in the first and second sentences of the fourth paragraph, and in subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) thereof. Stats. 1977, Ch. 877, p. 2643, in effect January 1, 1978, added the second sentence to the first paragraph. Stats. 1982, Ch. 327, in effect June 30, 1982, deleted the second paragraph and the second sentence of the fourth paragraph which provided for the use of assessment ratios. Stats. 2003, Ch. 604 (SB 1059), in effect January 1, 2004, added ", by assessing any taxable property that has escaped assessment, correcting the amount, number, quantity, or description of property on the local roll, canceling improper assessments," after "an individual property" in the first sentence of the first paragraph.

(A) EXTENT OF JURISDICTION

In general.—The power of the board to consider the matter of raising or lowering assessments is purely statutory and the proceedings are in invitum. Unless the board acts in the prescribed manner, its actions are void. Birch v. Board of Supervisors, 191 Cal. 235.

Being an inferior tribunal or body created by statute, it has only such jurisdiction and powers as are given to it by statute. Oakland v. Southern Pacific Co., 131 Cal. 226. A board is a quasi-judicial body that has authority to pass upon questions of its own jurisdiction in the first instance. Where an administrative agency erroneously decides it lacks jurisdiction, the proper remedy is generally for a court to remand for the administrative agency to act. Heavenly Valley v. El Dorado County Board of Equalization, 84 Cal.App.4th 1323.

The function of the board is to see that all properties in the county are assessed at a constant level of opinion as to market value and have their proper relationship to each other. Its decision constitutes an independent and conclusive judgment, abrogating and taking the place of the judgment of the assessor. Eastern-Columbia, Inc. v. Los Angeles County, 61 Cal.App.2d 734; McClelland v. Board of Supervisors, 30 Cal.2d 124.

Only majority may conduct hearings.—The board has no authority to delegate its powers to individual members. Consequently, a hearing before less than a majority of the board is illegal. Bandini Estate Co. v. Los Angeles County, 28 Cal.App.2d 224.

May act on own initiative.—It has jurisdiction to raise any individual assessment without having before it any complaint or affidavit that such assessment is too low and asking that it be raised. Allison Ranch Mining Co. v. Nevada County, 104 Cal. 161; contra, People v. Goldtree, 44 Cal. 323, construing the Revenue Act of 1861.

Implied powers.—It has implied power to enter into contracts for such items as maps and surveys to be used in the work of equalization (Maurer v. Weatherby, 1 Cal.App. 243; Haley & Co. v. McVay, 70 Cal.App. 438), and to inquire fully into transactions for the purpose of preventing tax evasion. Whiting Finance Co. v. Hopkins, 199 Cal. 428.

Bankruptcy proceedings.—A county board's determination of assessments pursuant to the statutory equalization provisions leaves a bankruptcy court without jurisdiction to redetermine assessed valuations for county tax purposes. Quinn v. Aero Services, Inc., 172 F.2d 157.

Bankruptcy Act provisions that no order shall be made for payment of tax assessed against any property of the bankrupt in excess of the value of the bankrupt's estate therein does not permit reduction of the tax merely because the assessment was in excess of the value of the bankrupt's interest in the property, the resulting tax not exceeding such value. Goggin v. Byram, 172 F.2d 868.

Failure to use administrative remedy.—An appeal by the assessee to the county board of equalization for relief is a prerequisite to the recovery of taxes paid on improvements on the basis of a systematic misclassification of similar property of others as personal property. Security-First National Bank v. Los Angeles County, 35 Cal.2d 319; Bank of America v. Mundo, 37 Cal.2d 1. An appeal by the assessee to the assessment appeals board for relief is a prerequisite to the recovery of unsecured property taxes paid on personal property on the basis of misclassification of the property as unsecured. C.H.B. Foods, Inc. v. Los Angeles County, 195 Cal.App.3d 821.

When an assessment is based on property of a general character and it is protested because of an error in a specific item or group, application to the local board of equalization is a prerequisite to recovery in a court action. El Tejon Cattle Co. v. San Diego County, 252 Cal.App.2d 449.

Whether reassessments are penal assessments imposed pursuant to Section 503 or escape assessments imposed pursuant to Section 531.1 a question of valuation exists and an appeal by the assessee to the county board of equalization is a prerequisite to the recovery of the taxes paid as a result of such reassessment. Stenocord v. City and County of San Francisco, 2 Cal.3d 984. (Section 531.1 was repealed in 1967 and replaced by section 531.3.)

An appeal by the assessee to the county board of equalization for relief is a prerequisite to the recovery of taxes paid on business personal property on the basis of an allegedly erroneous assessment. Westinghouse Electric Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 42 Cal.App.3d 32, appeal dismissed 422 U.S. 1001.

A corporation's failure to claim the 1 percent rate of tax entitlement for documented commercial fishing vessels authorized by Section 227 by application for reduction in assessment pursuant to Section 1605 barred consideration of the claimed entitlement at trial. And an application for reduction filed after a notice of supplementary tax did not relate back to and include the original bill, since the supplementary bill did not constitute a reassessment of the property and since it did not claim the 1 percent entitlement but sought a reduction solely on the basis of valuation. San Diego County v. Lafayette Steel Co., 164 Cal.App.3d 690.

Administrative remedy unnecessary.—Where foreign imported liquor is tax exempt under the import-export clause of the United States Constitution and has not been mingled with the taxable property of the taxpayer there is no question of valuation which must be presented to the county board of equalization for adjudication under this article. The assessment is a nullity and resort to the county board is not necessary before seeking judicial review. Parrott & Co. v. City and County of San Francisco, 131 Cal.App.2d 332. While the exhaustion of administrative remedies before the local assessment appeals board is normally a prerequisite to judicial review, an exception is made when the assessment is a nullity as a matter of law and no factual questions exist regarding the valuation of the property. Focus Cable of Oakland, Inc. v. Alameda County, 173 Cal.App.3d 519.

Third-party applications.—There is no law authorizing the filing of a third-party application with an Assessment Appeals Board to increase the assessment of another person's property. Granting such a hearing is entirely within the discretion of the board as a part of its power to equalize on its own motion assessments of property within the county. Stevens v. Fox Realty Corp., 23 Cal.App.3d 199.

(B) NOTICE

Form.—The notice must be of the intended action of the board. A notice stating that the board had raised an assessment and would meet at a subsequent date to adjust the same if cause were shown is defective and renders the board's action invalid. Huntley v. Board of Trustees, 165 Cal. 298.

Actual notice sufficient.—If a party has actual notice of the board's intended action in time to have a full and fair hearing, such notice is sufficient. Thus a notice directed to an individual who is the president of the corporate property owner is sufficient. Allison R. M. Co. v. Nevada County, 104 Cal. 161.

Defects waived by appearance.—Imperfections or ambiguities in a notice or a failure to give it by the proper time are waived by the owner's appearance. Farmers' etc. Bank v. Board of Equalization, 97 Cal. 318; Savings & Loan Society v. City and County of San Francisco, 146 Cal. 673. After a hearing on a petition for a reduction, however, an order increasing an assessment without notice of intention to do so is invalid. Birch v. Board of Supervisors, 191 Cal. 235.

(C) EVIDENCE

May act only on evidence.—The board may not raise an assessment without evidence (City of Oakland v. Southern Pacific Co., 131 Cal. 226), nor may its action in denying an application for a reduction be based upon evidence taken subsequent to the hearing and out of the presence of the property owner. Bandini Estate Co. v. Los Angeles County, 28 Cal.App.2d 224.

Inapplicable evidence.—Exhibits relating to the assessment of other refineries had no value in determining whether the method used to evaluate petitioner's refinery, developed to produce different kinds and grades of crude oil and ultimate product, was a reasonable one. Texaco, Inc. v. Los Angeles County, 136 Cal.App.3d 60. An assessment appeals board did not abuse its discretion in refusing to admit into evidence a taxpayer's report pertaining to depreciation rates of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. There was no evidence that the depreciation factors used by the assessor were incorrect, and the State Board of Equalization had earlier evaluated the report and concluded that it was incomplete and contained unverified data and flawed logic, resulting in invalid conclusions. Fujitsu Microelectronics, Inc. v. Assessment Appeals Board, 55 Cal.App.4th 1120.

Rules of evidence inapplicable.—The board is not bound by the ordinary rules of evidence, but may admit and act upon any evidence which has a direct bearing on the question before it. Rancho Santa Margarita v. San Diego County, 135 Cal.App.134; A. F. Gilmore Co. v. Los Angeles County, 186 Cal.App.2d 471. The function of the board is to determine the value of property for assessments by making all assessments as equal and fair as practicable and to apply the same ratio to market value uniformly within a county. The board is not bound by technical rules of evidence. Norby Lumber Company, Inc. v. Madera County, 202 Cal.App.3d 1352.

Reasonable method.—Assessment of a refinery using a replacement cost method which recognized, although not separately, both depreciation due to normal wear and tear and depreciation due to obsolescence was proper, as the law requires only that an assessor use a reasonable method. Texaco, Inc. v. Los Angeles County, 136 Cal.App.3d 60. The method of valuation used is within the board's sole discretion. Kaiser Center, Inc. v. Alameda County, 189 Cal.App.3d 978. As assessor is not required to conduct surveys before deciding upon a depreciation method. The only requirement for such a method is that it be reasonable. May Department Stores Co. v. Los Angeles County, 196 Cal.App.3d 755.

Burden of proof.—In a proceeding before the board on an application for a reduction, the burden of proof is upon the petitioner. Wild Goose Country Club v. Butte County, 60 Cal.App. 339; Leach Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 228 Cal.App.2d 634; McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 42 Cal.App.3d 59, cert. den. 422 U.S. 1007. Westinghouse Electric Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 42 Cal.App.3d 63, cert. den. 422 U.S. 1007; Texaco Producing, Inc. v. Kern County, 66 Cal.App.4th 1029. The petitioner must establish the full value of the property by independent evidence and not merely by an attempt to refute the valuation made by the assessor. San Diego County v. Assessment Appeals Board No. 2, 148 Cal.App.3d 548; Shubat v. Sutter County Assessment Appeals Board, 13 Cal.App.4th 794. An assessment appeals board did not err in finding that a taxpayer failed to overcome the presumption of Property Tax Rule 321, that the assessor "properly performed his duty and assessed all properties fairly", where there was an insufficient showing of assessment inequality to shift any burden of proof to the assessor; and the board properly applied the presumption against the taxpayer. Fujitsu Microelectronics, Inc. v. Assessment Appeals Board, 55 Cal.App.4th 1120. The effect of the presumption that an assessor has properly performed his or her duty and has assessed all properties fairly and upon an equal basis is to impose upon the applicant for a reduction in assessment the burden of proving that property in question has not been correctly assessed. The applicant must show that the assessor's chosen valuation method was arbitrary, in excess of discretion, or in violation of legal standards. Mission Housing Development Company v. City and County of San Francisco, 59 Cal.App.4th 55.

Prior to the 1966 amendment of this section, the petitioner had to meet the burden of proof of an unfair or discriminatory assessment by a comparison of the assessment ratio applied to his property with the ratio of all the taxable property in the county. Schwarz v. Marin County, 271 Cal.App.2d 120.

The fact that the escaped assessments equated the burden on the taxpayers' property with that of other owners of business personal property is of no avail if at the same time that class of property has been subjected to a discriminatory burden because of the general relationship of assessments to market value throughout the city as a whole. Lilli Ann Corp. v. City and County of San Francisco, 70 Cal.App.3d 162.

Expert testimony.—The board is not compelled to adopt, as determinative of market value, the testimony of expert witnesses produced before it by a taxpayer. Eastern-Columbia, Inc. v. Los Angeles County, 61 Cal.App.2d 734; A. F. Gilmore Co. v. Los Angeles County, 186 Cal.App.2d 471; Campbell Chain Co. v. Alameda County, 12 Cal.App.3d 248.

Action on evidence final.—When evidence has in fact been taken, the action of the board thereon in raising an assessment, in the absence of fraud or an abuse of discretion, is final. Universal Consolidated Oil Co. v. Byram, 25 Cal.2d 353; H. & W. Pierce, Inc. v. Santa Barbara County, 40 Cal.App. 302; Eastern-Columbia, Inc., v. Los Angeles County, 61 Cal.App.2d 734; McClelland v. Board of Supervisors, 30 Cal.2d 124; A. F. Gilmore Co. v. Los Angeles County, 186 Cal.App.2d 471; DeLucia v. Merced County, 257 Cal.App.2d 620. The decision of the board upon the evidence cannot be attacked by new evidence on the point in a superior court. Bank of America v. Mundo, 37 Cal.2d 1; American Chemical Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 42 Cal.App.3d 45, cert. den. 422 U.S. 1007. In discharging its duty of determining the value of the property and the fairness of the assessment, the board's determination upon the merits of the controversy is conclusive. A taxpayer has no right to a trial de novo in the superior court to resolve conflicting issues of fact as to the taxable value of his or her property. Norby Lumber Company, Inc. v. Madera County, 202 Cal.App.3d 1352.

State board ratios previously inadmissible.—State board determinations of the countywide ratios for prior years were properly excluded as evidence in local equalization proceedings prior to the 1967–68 tax year. Web Service Co. v. Los Angeles County, 242 Cal.App.2d 1; Griffith v. Los Angeles County, 267 Cal.App.2d 837; Campbell Chain Co. v. Alameda County, 12 Cal.App.3d 248; McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 42 Cal.App.3d 57, cert. den. 422 U.S. 1007. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 42 Cal.App.3d 59, cert. den. 422 U.S. 1007. Even where state board ratios were admitted to disprove the county ratio, the taxpayer was not entitled to a reduction of his assessment without a showing that the board's determination of full cash value throughout the county did not vary from the assessor's so as to cause the disproportion in the assessment ratios. Glidden Company v. Alameda County, 5 Cal.App.3d 371. A deviation of more than 15 percent of the ratio of assessed to full cash value from the ratio of assessment as found by the State Board of Equalization shall be prima facie evidence of inequitable assessment. Safeway Stores, Inc., v. Alameda County, 51 Cal.App.3d 783.

Value.—On what constitutes evidence of value, see annotations to Section 110.

(D) JUDICIAL REVIEW

County may obtain writ to review assessment appeals board decision.—On a finding that agreements between R.C.A. and the state as to data processing equipment were conditional sales contracts, an assessment appeals board canceled assessments and refunded taxes on the equipment. Court granted the county a writ of review on the basis the county had no adequate remedy at law, found the agreements were leases, the lessor's interest was taxable, and directed the assessment appeals board to annul its decision and rehear the matter on the issue of value. Sacramento County v. Assessment Appeals Board No. 2, 32 Cal.App.3d 654. On findings that residential properties were nonmarketable on the lien date, that the value of land was one-sixth of its intrinsic market value, and that improvements thereon had a zero market value, an assessment appeals board reduced the taxable values of such properties. Court granted the county a writ of review, concluded that the board's decisions were not supported by the findings or the findings were not supported by substantial evidence, and directed the board to set aside its decisions and reconsider the matter. Even without a specific statutory authority, a trial court has jurisdiction to review decisions of an assessment appeals board. San Diego County v. Assessment Appeals Board No. 2, 148 Cal.App.3d 548.

Scope of review.—In the absence of fraud or arbitrary use of its powers, the county board is the sole judge of questions of fact and of the values of property. Bank of America v. Mundo, 37 Cal.2d 1. The scope of review for a superior court in reviewing the administrative record of a local assessment appeals board is that of reviewing the entire record to determine if the findings are supported by substantial evidence. Hunt-Wesson Foods, Inc. v. Alameda County, 41 Cal.App.3d 163; Dennis v. Santa Clara County, 215 Cal.App.3d 1019; Freeport-McMoran Resource Partners v. Lake County, 12 Cal.App.4th 634; Shubat v. Sutter County Assessment Appeals Board, 13 Cal.App.4th 794; Orange County v. Orange County Assessment Appeals Board No. 1, 13 Cal.App.4th 524. American Sheds, Inc. v. Los Angeles County, 66 Cal.App.4th 384. Upon determining that a local board's assessment was not supported by substantial evidence, the trial court did not err in remanding to the board for further proceedings rather than resolving the valuation issue itself, since the board is the sole judge of questions of fact and of values of property. Kaiser Center, Inc. v. Alameda County, 189 Cal.App.3d 978. Where the superior court reviews the validity of an assessor's method of assessment, it need not determine whether there was substantial evidence to support the decision of the local assessment appeals board; rather, it inquires into whether the challenged method of valuation is arbitrary, in excess of discretion, or in violation of the standards prescribed by law. Where, however, the court reviews a challenge to the result reached by the assessor after applying a sound valuation method, its task is to review the entire record to determine if the findings are supported by substantial evidence. In doing so, it accords deference to the factual findings made by the Board. Prudential Insurance Co. v. City and County of San Francisco, 191 Cal.App.3d 1142. May Department Stores Co. v. Los Angeles County, 196 Cal.App.3d 755; Simms v. Pope, Cal.App.3d 472; Los Angeles County v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 219 Cal.App.3d 715. If the local board of equalization has used an improper method of value or has failed to use proper criteria in valuing the property, and there is no evidence or there is a conflict in the evidence from which a proper value can or should be made, the trial court must remand the matter to the local board for further proceedings. The constitutional responsibility to assess falls to the local board, not to the courts. Norby Lumber Company, Inc. v. Madera County, 202 Cal.App.3d 1352. County's contention that the county assessment appeals board's conclusion that cable television company's franchises were nontaxable intangibles presented a question of law, and thus the appellate court was not confined to determining whether substantial evidence supported the board's decision. Stanislaus County v. Assessment Appeals Board, 213 Cal.App.3d 1445.

Upon review of a local board of equalization's findings on stipulated facts that an amendment of a mineral lease and a surrender of a sublease for the taking of sand were changes in ownership, the trial court properly concluded that the board's findings were conclusions of law. The determinations of what happened were factual questions, but the legal effects of those events, including whether they constituted changes of ownership, were legal questions upon which the trial court was required to exercise independent judgment. Howard v. Amador County, 220 Cal.App.3d 962.

Substantial evidence.—The term "substantial evidence" should be construed to confer finality upon an administrative decision on the facts when, upon an examination of the entire record, the evidence, including the inferences therefrom, is found to be such that a reasonable man, acting reasonably, might have reached the decision. Dennis v. Santa Clara County, 215 Cal.App.3d 1019; Los Angeles County v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 219 Cal.App.3d 715. Trial court did not err in finding that substantial evidence supported the county board's conclusion that it was reasonable for the assessor to value a tire manufacturing plant as a going concern, notwithstanding the fact that shortly after the valuation was made, but before it was entered on the roll, the company decided to close the plant and six months later did so. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. v. Monterey County, 223 Cal.App.3d 382.

Valuation method.—Where the challenge is to the result reached by the assessor after applying an admittedly proper method of valuation, the trial court sits as an appellate court and applies the substantial evidence test to decide whether the board's determination is proper. Where, however, the challenge is directed at the method, that is, the technique used in valuating the property, a legal issue is presented upon which the trial court is empowered to take additional evidence. Bret Harte Inn, Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco, 16 Cal.3d 14; Jones v. Los Angeles County, 114 Cal.App.3d 999; Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Orange County, 187 Cal.App.3d 1141; Norby Lumber Company, Inc. v. Madera County, 202 Cal.App.3d 1352; Dominguez Energy, L.P. v. Los Angeles County, 56 Cal.App.4th 839; Texaco Producing, Inc. v. Kern County, 66 Cal.App.4th 1029; Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Santa Barbara County, 92 Cal.App.4th 1347. Where an appeal from an assessment appeals board determination centers upon the methodology of valuation for a taxpayer's property, the matter is a question of law subject to the appellate court's independent review. The appellate court must determine whether the challenged method of valuation is arbitrary, in excess of discretion, or in violation of the standards prescribed by law. It must also determine whether substantial evidence supports the board's value determination, by whatever standard that value must be determined. Maples v. Assessment Appeals Board, 103 Cal.App.4th 172. The issue of whether a stadium food and beverage franchisee's valuation of assets could include the value of the franchisee's going business (enterprise value) was one of law to which the trial court was bound to apply its independent judgment. Service America Corporation v. San Diego County, 15 Cal.App.4th 1232. Where a taxpayer challenges the valuation of property on the ground that an improper methodology was used, that is, that the assessor violated the standards prescribed by law, the issue is one of law. Main & Von Karman Associates v. Orange County, 23 Cal.App.4th 337.

Trial de novo.—The trial court properly conducted a trial de novo, where each of the issues involved (proper classification of assets, whether the valuation method doubly taxed the taxpayer's carpeting, the significance to be accorded the investment tax credit, application of the abandoned property formula, and the propriety of the method of depreciating point of sale equipment) presented a question of law or at best a mixed question of fact and law. However, whether the trial court was also free to disregard the record of evidence presented to the county board depended upon whether the trial court resolved the particular issues as one of fact or as one of law; if the issue were resolved as one of fact, the trial court needed to consider the evidence presented to the board. May Department Stores Co. v. Los Angeles County, 196 Cal.App.3d 755. Whether the assessor failed to comply with State Board of Equalization property tax rules requiring adjustments to comparable sales data is a question of law and therefore, reviewable de novo. Mitchell v. Los Angeles County, 60 Cal.App.4th 497. Questions of law are subject to de novo review. CAT Partnership v. Santa Cruz County, 63 Cal.App.4th 1071. When valuing taxpayer's oil processing facility, the board erred in not applying the valuation methodology set forth in Property Tax Rule 468. Challenges that go to valuation methodology present a question of law subject to de novo review. Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Santa Barbara County, 92 Cal.App.4th 1347.

Remand.—Where the assessor used the comparable sales method to value properties but did not follow the requirements of property tax rule 4 when doing so, remand of the matter to the assessment appeals board for further hearings, to be completed according to the standards prescribed by law, was the proper remedy, not directing the board to accept the taxpayer's evidence or income method of valuation. Main & Von Karman Associates v. Orange County, 23 Cal.App.4th 337. Where the assessor used the comparable sales method to value a property but did not follow the requirements of Property Tax Rule 4 when doing so, remand of the matter to the assessment appeals board for further hearing is the proper remedy. Mitchell v. Los Angeles County, 60 Cal.App.4th 497. A remand to the assessment appeals board is generally required if value determinations remain. Where the board assigned a separate value to the rate protection provisions in a franchise agreement, which assignation the trial court determined to be improper, the trial court could excise that value from the board's determination, without remand. CAT Partnership v. Santa Cruz County, 63 Cal.App.4th 1071.

Back to top


1611. Request for transcript. The county board shall make a record of the hearing and, upon request, shall furnish the party with an audio recording or a transcript thereof at his or her expense. Request for an audio recording or a transcript may be made at any time, but not later than 60 days following the final determination by the county board.

History.—Added by Stats. 1971, p. 761, in effect March 4, 1972. Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 359, in effect April 24, 1974, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1605.6, and substituted "hearing" for "proceedings" in the first sentence. Stats. 1976, Ch. 768, p. 1808, in effect January 1, 1977, added "tape recording or a" before "transcript" in the first and second sentences. Stats. 2009, Ch. 88 (AB 176), in effect January 1, 2010, substituted "an audio" for " a tape" after "party with" and added "or her" after "at his" in the first sentence, and substituted "an audio" for "a tape" after "Request for" in the second sentence.

1611.5. Record, transcript, findings, and conclusions. Written findings of fact of the county board shall be made if requested in writing by a party up to or at the commencement of the hearing, and if payment of any fee or deposit which may be required to cover the expense of preparing the findings is made by the party prior to the conclusion of the hearing. However, the party requesting findings may abandon the request and waive findings at the conclusion of the hearing. If the requesting party abandons his or her request at this time, his or her fee or deposit shall be returned if no findings have yet been prepared. If the request is abandoned, the other party may orally or in writing renew the request upon payment of the required fee or deposit, and becomes responsible for any costs for the preparation of findings. A reasonable fee may be imposed by the county to cover the expense of preparing findings and conclusions. The written findings of fact shall fairly disclose the board's determination of all material points raised by the party in his or her petition and at the hearing, including a statement of the method or methods of valuation used in appraising the property.

At the hearing the final determinations by the board shall be supported by the weight of the evidence and, with regard to questions of value, its determinations shall be made without limitation by reason of the applicant's opinion of value stated in the application for reduction in assessment pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1603.

If written findings of fact have been requested, the board shall transmit those findings to the requesting party accompanied by a notice that any request for a transcript of the proceedings must be made within 60 days following the date of the final determination of the board.

History.—Added by Stats. 1967, p. 1460, in effect June 7, 1967. Stats. 1968, p. 2292, in effect November 13, 1968, revised this section, deleting "and conclusions of law" from the second sentence, and adding the third and fourth sentences and all language of the section following "findings and conclusions" in the fifth sentence. Stats. 1971, p. 760, in effect March 4, 1972, deleted the first sentence of the first paragraph and added the third paragraph concerning the transcript. Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 358, in effect April 24, 1974, renumbered the section which was formerly numbered 1605.5. Stats. 1977, Ch. 877, in effect January 1, 1978, added the clause to the second paragraph beginning with "and with regard to . . ." Stats. 1978, Ch. 57, in effect January 1, 1979, added the clause to the 10th sentence of the first paragraph, after the word "parcel" beginning with "or a total of fifty dollars . . ." Stats. 1985, Ch. 617, effective January 1, 1986, added ", and if payment . . . conclusion of the hearing" after "commencement of the hearing" in the first sentence, added "or her" after "his", in the third sentence, and added ", his or her fee . . . prepared. If the request if abandoned," after "time", resulting in a new fourth sentence, substituted "upon payment . . . and becomes" for "thereby becoming" after "request" in the fourth sentence, deleted ", but shall not exceed ten dollars ($10) per parcel or a total of fifty dollars ($50) for findings covering applications on contiguous parcels or assessments on the roll involving the same issues and the same owners" after "conclusions" in the fifth sentence, and added "or her" after "his" and added a comma after "hearing" in the sixth sentence of the first paragraph; substituted "its" for "such" after "value," in the second paragraph; and substituted "those" for "such" after "transmit" in the third paragraph.

Construction.—The provisions that final determinations "shall be supported by the weight of the evidence" does not change the long-standing rule that in a judicial review of the findings of a county board, the superior court is required to apply the substantial evidence rule. Hunt Wesson Foods, Inc. v. Alameda County, 41 Cal.App.3d 163; American Chemical Corp. v. Los Angeles County, 42 Cal.App.3d 45, cert. den. 422 U.S. 1007.

Generally.—While the board need not adhere to technical evidentiary rules, the record must contain some "legal" evidence to support its decision. Where it does not, the cause must be remanded for further consideration. Madonna v. San Luis Obispo County, 39 Cal.App.3d 57.

Findings.—In the application of property tax rule no. 4 for the value adjustments of non-cash sales and differentials in time or size and in the application of rule no. 6 for the value adjustments of the cost of repairs and alterations to bring property improvements up to code, the findings should demonstrate that specific adjustments were in fact made and not merely considered. Midstate Theatres, Inc., v. Stanislaus County, 55 Cal.App.3d 864.

Back to top


1611.6. Attorney fees. If the county board fails to make findings upon request, or if findings made are found by a reviewing court to be so deficient that a remand to the county board is ordered to secure reasonable compliance with the elements of findings required by Section 1611.5, the action of the county board shall be deemed to be arbitrary and capricious within the meaning of Section 800 of the Government Code, so as to support an allowance of reasonable attorney's fees against the county for the services necessary to obtain proper findings. The dollar limitation set forth in Section 800 of the Government Code shall not apply to an allowance of attorney's fees pursuant to this section.

History.—Added by Stats. 1977, Ch. 877, in effect January 1, 1978. Stats. 1995, Ch. 498, in effect January 1, 1996, added second sentence.

1612. Record. [Repealed by Stats. 2003, Ch. 199 (SB 1063) in effect January 1, 2004.]

1612.5. Employees representing applicants. [Repealed by Stats. 2009, Ch. 477 (AB 824), in effect January 1, 2010.]

1612.5. Employees, members, and hearing officers; representing applicants. The following persons may not represent an applicant for compensation on any application for equalization filed pursuant to Section 1603:

(a) A current member of an assessment appeals board, or any alternate member, in the county in which the board member or alternate member serves.

(b) A current assessment hearing officer in the county in which the hearing officer serves.

(c) A current employee of the office of the clerk of the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board in the county in which the person is employed.

(d) A current employee of the county counsel who advises the assessment appeals board or represents the assessor before the assessment appeals board in the county in which the person is employed.

(e) A current employee of the assessor's office in the county in which the person is employed in accordance with Section 1365.

History.—Added by Stats. 2009, Ch. 477 (AB 824), in effect January 1, 2010.

1612.7. Applications by employees. [Repealed by Stats. 2009, Ch. 477 (AB 824), in effect January 1, 2010.]

Back to top


1612.7. Applications by employees, members, hearing officers; representing immediate family. (a) The following persons shall notify the clerk of the board immediately upon filing an application for equalization pursuant to Section 1603 on his or her own behalf, or upon his or her decision to represent his or her spouse, parent, or child in an assessment appeal:

(1) A current member of an assessment appeals board, or any alternate member, in the county in which the board member or alternate member serves.

(2) A current assessment hearing officer in the county in which the hearing officer serves.

(3) A current employee of the office of the clerk of the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board in the county in which the person is employed.

(4) A current employee of the county counsel who advises the assessment appeals board or represents the assessor before the assessment appeals board in the county in which the person is employed.

(b) An application for equalization filed pursuant to Section 1603 by a person specified in subdivision (a) or an application in which a person specified in subdivision (a) represents his or her spouse, parent, or child, shall be heard in accordance with Section 1622.6.

History.—Added by Stats. 2009, Ch. 477 (AB 824), in effect January 1, 2010.

1613. Changes on roll. [Repealed by Stats. 2003, Ch. 199 (SB 1063) in effect January 1, 2004.]

1614. Delivery of roll to auditor. (a) The clerk of the county board shall keep an accurate record of all changes to the roll and all orders made by the county board. No later than the second Monday of each month the clerk shall deliver the statement of all changes made by the county board during the preceding calendar month to the auditor.

(b) This section does not prohibit the clerk from transmitting to the auditor changes to the roll more frequently than once per month.

(c) This section shall not be construed to require the clerk to deliver the statement described in subdivision (a) for a month in which the county board has made no changes to the roll.

History.—Stats. 1957, p. 963, in effect September 11, 1957, added "either" following "shall," "or, if the roll is a machine-prepared roll," in subdivision (a) and added subdivision (b). Stats. 1966. p. 673 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year, substituted "second Monday of each month" for "third day after adjournment of the county board", deleted former subdivision (a), and added "during the month of" to the affidavit. Stats. 2003, Ch. 199 (SB 1063), in effect January 1, 2004, designated the former first paragraph as subdivision (a), added the first sentence therein, substituted "No later than" for "On", before "the second Monday", added "to the roll" after "of all changes", and deleted " with an affixed affidavit, subscribed by him, as follows: "I, ____, swear that, as Clerk of the Board of Equalization of ____ County, I have kept correct minutes of all the acts of the board during the month of ____, __, touching alterations in the assessment roll, that all alterations agreed to or directed to be made have been included in the attached statement and that no other alterations are included therein" after "to the auditor" in the second sentence therein; and added subdivisions (b) and (c).

Entries after delivery to auditor.—The fact that the assessed value of certain property was reduced by allegedly illegal actions of a county board of equalization, including having its clerk enter the reductions on the tax roll after the tax roll had been delivered to the auditor, and of the board of supervisors after adjournment of the board of equalization in ordering reductions which had been omitted through clerical error, does not give another taxpayer whose property was not similarly reduced a cause of action even though his taxes were thereby increased where the taxpayer did not allege or prove that his property was similar in character or situation to the property reduced, or that his property was overvalued, or that the reduced property was undervalued by the reductions. Crothers v. Santa Cruz County, 151 Cal.App.2d 219.

Note.—Omission of Affidavit.—See annotations to Section 2601.

Back to top


1615. Court action. No action or proceeding shall be brought in any court on behalf of any governmental officer, agency or entity to review a decision of the county board of equalization or an assessment appeals board unless such action or proceeding is commenced within six months from the date the board makes its final determination.

History.—Added by Stats. 1989, Ch. 481 in effect January 1, 1990.

Construction.—This section sets forth the statute of limitations applicable to those governmental officers, agencies, and entities that have standing to sue. It is not a grant of authority to sue. Sacramento County Fire Protection District v. Sacramento County Assessment Appeals Board, 75 Cal.App.4th 327.

Back to top


Article 1.5. Equalization by Assessment Appeals Boards*

* Added by Stats. 1961, p. 1382, operative Nov. 6, 1962, on adoption of Section 9.5 of Article XIII of the Constitution. Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 364, in effect April 24, 1974, applicable to assessments made on and after the 1974 lien date, substituted "Assessment Appeals Boards" for "Tax Appeals Boards".

1620. Applicability of article. The board of supervisors of any county may by ordinance create assessment appeals boards for the county to equalize the valuation of taxable property within the county for the purpose of taxation.

History.—Stats. 1974, Ch. 311, p. 613, in effect January 1, 1975, substituted "The board of supervisors of any county may by ordinance create assessment appeals boards for the county" for "This article only applies to those counties which, pursuant to Section 9.5 of Article XIII of the Constitution, have created tax appeals boards".

Judicial review.—Courts will review the record of an appeals board decision on petition of the county. The scope of review is limited, however, to a determination of whether any substantial evidence supports the decision. Los Angeles County v. Tax Appeals Board No. 2, 267 Cal.App.2d 830.

Third-party applications.—There is no law authorizing the filing of a third-party application with an Assessment Appeals Board to increase the assessment of another person's property. Granting such a hearing is entirely within the discretion of the board as a part of its power to equalize on its own motion assessments of property within the county. Stevens v. Fox Realty Corp., 23 Cal.App.3d 199.

Back to top


Text of section effective until January 1, 2005

1621. Number of boards limited. (a) No more than ten assessment appeals boards may be created within any county. Assessment appeals boards shall be designated by number in the ordinance providing for their creation.

(b) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2005, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2005, deletes or extends that date.

History.—Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 364, in effect April 24, 1974, substituted "assessment appeals boards" for "tax appeals boards" in the first and second sentences. Stats. 1995, Ch. 164, in effect July 24, 1995, added subdivision letter designation (a) before "Not more than"; substituted "ten" for "five" after "more than"; added subdivision (b). Stats. 1995, Ch. 498, in effect January 1, 1996, substituted "ten" for "five" after "more than". Stats. 1996, Ch. 171, in effect July 17, 1996, substituted "No" for "Not" in subdivision (a); substituted "January 1, 2005" for "January 1, 1999" twice, and substituted "that" for "which" after "later enacted statute," in subdivision (b).

Text of section effective January 1, 2005

1621. Number of boards limited. (a) Not more than five assessment appeals boards may be created within any county. Assessment appeals boards shall be designated by number in the ordinance providing for their creation.

(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2005.

History.—Added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 164, in effect July 24, 1995, operative January 1, 1999. Stats. 1996, Ch. 171, in effect, July 17, 1996, substituted "January 1, 2005" for "January 1, 1999" in subdivision (b).

1622. Selection of members. An assessment appeals board shall consist of three members selected by lot by the presiding judge of the superior court of the county from among those persons nominated for that purpose by the members of the county board of supervisors. Within 60 days after the adoption of the ordinance providing for the creation of assessment appeals boards, each member of the board of supervisors shall nominate not less than three nor more than five persons for appointment to the assessment appeals boards.

History.—Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 364, in effect April 24, 1974, substituted "An assessment appeals board" for "A tax appeals board" in the first sentence, and substituted "assessment appeals boards" for "tax appeals boards" in the second sentence.

1622.1. Selection of members; direct appointment. (a) As an alternative to the selection procedure provided in Section 1622, the county board of supervisors may, by ordinance, elect to appoint directly the members of the assessment appeals board. Approval of each member shall be by majority vote of the board of supervisors.

(b) An assessment appeals board appointed pursuant to this section may consist of three or five members. If a five-member board is appointed, the board shall only act as a three-member panel designated from time to time by the clerk of the assessment appeals board. If a five-member board is appointed, the term of office of these members shall be three years except that upon the original selection of these members, the members shall be assigned terms in such a manner that the terms of no more than two offices shall expire in any one year.

History.—Stats. 1984, Ch. 568, in effect January 1, 1985, added (a) before "as", and added subdivision (b).

Back to top


1622.2. County board of supervisors members. (a) Up to two members of a county board of supervisors who have served as a member of a county board of equalization pursuant to Section 1601 may serve on an assessment appeals board.

(b) Notwithstanding Sections 1623 and 1623.1, the term of office for any member of a county board of supervisors who serves on an assessment appeals board shall not exceed his or her term of office as a member of a county board of supervisors.

History.—Added by Stats. 1984, Ch. 567, in effect July 18, 1984.

1622.5. Alternate members. In any county in which two or more boards have been created and are functioning:

(a) The clerk of the assessment appeals boards may assign one or more members from one board to serve temporarily as members of another board, and

(b) The board of supervisors may appoint alternate members for each board. Whenever any regular member of a board is temporarily unable to act as a member of the board, an alternate member may sit on the board and shall have the same authority to act as a regular member. Where such alternate member is likewise temporarily unable to act the clerk may assign an alternate member of the same board or of any other board to act as a member of the board and such alternate member may sit on the board and shall have the same authority to act as a regular member.

In any county in which one board has been created and is functioning the board of supervisors may appoint alternate members for the board. Whenever any regular member of the board is temporarily unable to act as a member of the board, an alternate member may sit on the board and shall have the same authority to act as a regular member.

History.—Added by Stats.1965, p. 1839, in effect September 17, 1965. Stats. 1967, p. 2217, in effect November 8, 1967, added the second paragraph. Stats. 1968, p. 1462, in effect November 13, 1968, substituted "during the temporary absence of the regular member of such other board" for "in order to complete a quorum" in subdivision (a) and added the third sentence of subdivision (b) relating to the assignment of alternate members of other boards. Stats. 1969, p. 2842, in effect November 10, 1969, applicable to equalization proceedings for the 1970–71 assessment year and thereafter, substituted "one or more members" for "a member" in subdivision (a), added "of the same board" after "member" in the third sentence of subdivision (b), and substituted "members" for "member" where necessary.

Back to top


1622.6. Application for equalization by member or alternate. (a) (1) An application for equalization filed pursuant to Section 1603 by a person described in Section 1612.7, or an application in which a person described in Section 1612.7 represents his or her spouse, parent, or child, shall be heard before an assessment appeals board panel consisting of three special alternate assessment appeals board members appointed by order of the presiding judge of the superior court in the county in which the application is filed.

(2) A special alternate assessment appeals board member may hear only the application for equalization set forth in the superior court order appointing the member.

(3) A person shall be eligible for appointment as a special alternate assessment appeals board member if he or she meets the criteria and files the documentation described in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 1624, subject to the prohibitions described in Sections 1624.1 and 1624.2.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), at the discretion of the clerk of the board, the applications may be heard before a special alternate board formed pursuant to this subdivision consisting of three special alternate assessment appeals board members who are qualified and in good standing in another county in California.

(2) The special alternate board may hear only the application for equalization set forth in the transmittal document prepared by the clerk of the board of the county in which the application is filed.

(3) Each appeals board member on the special alternate board shall be in good standing in his or her county. A board member is in good standing if he or she is actively serving as an assessment appeals board member in his or her county.

History.—Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 851, p. 1518, in effect September 25, 1973, which provided in Sec. 2 no state payment to local government because of the act. Stats. 1990, Ch. 974, in effect January 1, 1991, substituted "1603" for "1607" after "Section" in the first paragraph, substituted "meets the . . . 1624" for "is a person the presiding judge of the superior court has reason to believe is possessed of competent knowledge of property appraisal and taxation" after "and who" in the third paragraph, and deleted "of this code" after "1624.2" in the fourth paragraph. Stats. 1999, Ch. 941 (SB 1231), in effect January 1, 2000, added ", or an application in which that member represents his or her spouse, parent, or child," in the first sentence of the first paragraph, added the first sentence and substituted "the" for "such" in the former first sentence in the second paragraph, and deleted "is a resident of the county in which the application is filed and who" after "member who" in the first sentence of the third paragraph. Stats. 2009, Ch. 477 (AB 824), in effect January 1, 2010, designated the former first paragraph as paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), and substituted "person described in Section 1612.7" for "member or alternate member of an assessment appeals board" after "by a" and substituted "a person described in Section 1612.7" for "that member" after "application in which" in the first sentence therein, designated the former second paragraph as paragraph (2) thereof, and deleted the former first sentence therein, which provided that "A member or alternate member of an assessment appeals board shall notify the clerk immediately upon filing an application on his or her own behalf, or upon his or her decision to represent his or her spouse, parent, or child in an assessment appeal matter.", and deleted "or applications" after "the application" in the former second sentence therein, designated the former third paragraph as paragraph (3) thereof, and substituted "A" for "Any" before "person shall", and substituted "if he or she meets the criteria . . . in Sections 1624.1 and 1624.2." for "who meets the qualifications set forth in 1624." therein, and deleted the former forth paragraph thereof, which provided that "Sections 1624.1 and Section 1624.2 shall be applicable to the appointment of a special assessment appeals board member."; and added subdivision (b).

Back to top


1623. Term of office. (a) The term of office of members selected to serve on assessment appeals boards shall be three years beginning on the first Monday in September, except that upon the original selection of members to serve on an assessment appeals board, the member first selected shall serve for a term of three years beginning on the first Monday in September following the date of the creation of the board, the second member selected shall serve for a term of two years beginning on such date, and the third member selected shall serve for a term of one year beginning on such date.

(b) In the event of a vacancy on a board, the person selected to fill the vacancy shall serve for the remainder of the unexpired term.

(c) Not less than 60 days prior to the expiration of the term of office of any member of an assessment appeals board and upon the occurrence of a vacancy on any such board, each member of the board of supervisors shall nominate one person for each office or vacancy to be filled. The presiding judge of the superior court shall select by lot one person from among those nominated to serve for the succeeding term on such board or to fill the vacancy as the case may be.

(d) Upon expiration of the term of office of any member of an assessment appeals board, the member whose term has expired shall continue to serve until such time as a new member takes office.

(e) A member whose term has expired may continue to serve for up to 60 days after the expiration of such term with respect to matters on which the assessment appeals board had commenced hearing prior to the expiration of the member's term.

History.—Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 364, in effect April 24, 1974, applicable to assessments made on and after the 1974 lien date, added the subdivision letters; substituted "assessment appeals boards" for "tax appeals boards", and substituted "an assessment appeals board" for "a tax appeals board" in subdivision (a); added subdivision (b); and substituted "an assessment appeals board" for "a tax appeals board" in subdivision (d). Stats. 1978, Ch. 636, in effect January 1, 1979, substituted "September" for "June" in both places in the first sentence of subdivision (a); deleted former subdivision (b); relettered former subdivisions (c) and (d) as (b) and (c), respectively; and added subdivisions (d) and (e).

1623.1. Selection of replacements; direct appointment. As an alternative to the nomination and selection procedure provided in Section 1623, the board of supervisors may, by ordinance, provide that it shall appoint the members and alternates of the assessment appeals board, upon the expiration of any term of office or the occurrence of a vacancy on such board. Any person so appointed shall meet the eligibility requirements of Section 1624 or 1624.05, whichever is applicable.

History.—Added by Stats. 1974, Ch. 210, p. 404, in effect January 1, 1975. Stats. 2004, Ch. 407 (SB 1831), in effect January 1, 2005, added the second sentence to the first paragraph.

Back to top


1624. Eligibility. (a) A person is not eligible for nomination for membership on an assessment appeals board unless he or she meets one of the following criteria:

(1) Has a minimum of five years professional experience in this state as a certified public accountant or public accountant, a licensed real estate broker, an attorney, a property appraiser accredited by a nationally recognized professional organization, or a property appraiser certified by the Office of Real Estate Appraisers, or a property appraiser certified by the State Board of Equalization.

(2) Is a person who the nominating member of the board of supervisors has reason to believe is possessed of competent knowledge of property appraisal and taxation.

(b) Documentation of qualifying experience of appeals board members shall be filed with the clerk of the board.

(c) This section shall apply only to an assessment appeals board in a county with a population of less than 200,000.

(d) County population estimates conducted by the Department of Finance pursuant to Section 13073.5 of the Government Code shall be used in determining the population of a county for purposes of this section.

History.—Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 974, in effect January 1, 1991. Stats. 1999, Ch. 942 (SB 1234), in effect January 1, 2000, deleted subdivision designation letter (a) before "A person", substituted "is not" for "shall not be" before "eligible for", and added "meets one of the following criteria:" after "he or she" in the first sentence of the first paragraph; created subdivision (a) with the balance of the former first sentence commencing with "Has a minimum", deleted "one of the following:" after "this state as", added "a" before "certified public", added "a" before "licensed real", added "an" before "attorney", added "a" before "property appraiser", and added "a property appraiser certified by the Office of Real Estate Appraisers." after "organization, or" therein; created subdivision (b) with the balance of the former first sentence commencing with "Is a person who"; and deleted former subdivision (b), which provided that this section became operative on January 1, 1996. Stats. 2004, Ch. 407 (SB 1831), in effect January 1, 2005, lettered the former first paragraph as new subdivision (a), designated former subdivision (a) as paragraph (1) and added ", or a property appraiser certified by the State Board of Equalization" after "Real Estate Appraisers" in the first sentence and designated former subdivision (b) as paragraph (2) and added new subdivision (b), (c) and (d).

1624.01. Training. (a) On and after January 1, 2001, any person newly selected for membership on, or newly appointed to be a member of, an assessment appeals board shall complete the training described in subdivision (a) of Section 1624.02 prior to the commencement of his or her term on the board or as soon as reasonably possible within one year thereafter.

(b) A member of an assessment appeals board who does not complete the training required by this section in the time permitted shall complete that training within 60 days of the date of the notice by the clerk advising the member that his or her failure to complete the training constitutes resignation by operation of law. If the member fails to comply within 60 days of the notice by the clerk, the member shall be deemed to have resigned his or her position on the board. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a board member may continue to retain his or her position on the board in order to complete all appeal hearings to which the member is assigned and which commenced prior to the date of resignation pursuant to this subdivision.

History.—Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 974, in effect January 1, 1991. Stats. 1999, Ch. 942 (SB 1234), in effect January 1, 2000, substituted "2001" for "1992" after "January 1," substituted "shall" for "is encouraged to and may" after "appeals board", added "subdivision (a) of" after "described in", and substituted "his or her" for "their" after "commencement of" in the first sentence of subdivision (a); and deleted former subdivision (b), which provided that "any person who is a member of an assessment appeals board on or after January 1, 1992, and whose term commenced before January 1, 1992, is encouraged to and may complete training described in Section 1624.02 before January 1, 1993.", and added subdivision (b).

Back to top


1624.02. Training by the State Board of Equalization. (a) Every person newly selected for membership on or newly appointed to be a member of, an assessment appeals board shall successfully complete a course of training conducted by either the State Board of Equalization or by the county at county option. Training shall include, but not be limited to, an overview of the assessment process, elements in the conduct of assessment appeal hearings, and important developments in case and statutory law and administrative rules. The curriculum for the course of training provided by the State Board of Equalization shall be developed in consultation with county boards of supervisors, administrators of assessment appeals boards, assessors, and local property taxpayer representatives. The curriculum for the course of training provided by counties shall be developed in consultation with the State Board of Equalization, assessors, and local property taxpayer representatives and subject to final approval by the State Board of Equalization. Training by the State Board of Equalization shall be conducted regionally. For purposes of this section, the term "successfully complete" shall include full-time attendance at the course of training and a person's receiving a certificate of completion given by the entity conducting the training at the conclusion of the course of training.

(b) There shall be no charge to counties for training conducted by the State Board of Equalization pursuant to this section.

History.—Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 974, in effect January 1, 1991. Stats. 1999, Ch. 942 (SB 1234), in effect January 1, 2000, added subdivision designation (a) before "Every", added "person newly selected for membership on or newly appointed to be a", after "Every", added a comma after "member of", substituted "shall" for "is encouraged to and may" after "appeals board", and substituted "conducted by either the State Board of Equalization or by the county at county option" for "developed and conducted by the State Board of Equalization" after "course of training" in the first sentence, added "elements in the conduct of assessment appeal hearings," after "assessment process", subsitututed "important" for "new" before "developments in case", and deleted the comma after "statutory law" in the second sentence, substituted "provided" for "shall be developed" after "course of training", added "shall be developed" after "Board of Equalization", substituted "supervisors," for "supervisors and" after "county boards of", and added the balance of the sentence after "assessment appeals boards," in the third sentence, added the fourth and fifth sentences, and substituted "certificate of completion given by the entity conducting the training" for "passing grade in an examination given by the State Board of Equalization" after "person's receiving a" in the former fourth sentence in the first paragraph therein; and added subdivision (b).

1624.05. Eligibility; county population in excess of 200,000. (a) A person shall not be eligible for nomination for membership on an assessment appeals board unless he or she has a minimum of five years' professional experience in this state as one of the following: certified public accountant or public accountant, licensed real estate broker, attorney, or property appraiser accredited by a nationally recognized professional organization, or property appraiser certified by the Office of Real Estate Appraisers, or property appraiser certified by the State Board of Equalization.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a), a person shall be eligible for nomination for membership on an assessment appeals board if, at the time of the nomination, he or she is a current member of an assessment appeals board.

(c) Documentation of qualifying experience of appeals board members shall be filed with the clerk of the board.

(d) This section shall apply only to an assessment appeals board in a county with a population of 200,000 or more.

(e) County population estimates conducted by the Department of Finance pursuant to Section 13073.5 of the Government Code shall be used in determining the population of a county for purposes of this section.

History.—Stats. 1999, Ch. 942 (SB 1234), in effect January 1, 2000, relettered the former first paragaph as subdivision (a), and added ", or property appraiser certififed by the Office of Real Estate Appraisers" after "organization" in the first sentence therein; added subdivision (b); relettered former subdivision (a) as subdivision (c) and substituted "200,000" for "1,000,000" after "population of" in the first sentence therein; and relettered former subdivision (b) as subdivision (d) and substituted "of" for "if" after "Section 13073.5" in the first sentence therein. Stats. 2004, Ch. 407 (SB 1831), in effect January 1, 2005, deleted "or" after "broker, attorney," and after "professional organization," and added ", or property appraiser certified by the State Board of Equalization" after "Real Estate Appraisers"in the first sentence of subdivision (a); added new subdivision (c) and designated former subdivisions (c) and (d) as subdivisions (d) and (e), respectively.

Back to top


1624.1. Assessor employee disqualified. No person shall be qualified to be a member of an assessment appeals board who has, within the three years immediately preceding his or her appointment to that board, been an employee of an assessor's office.

History.—Added by Stats. 1967, p. 1554, in effect June 20, 1967. Stats. 2004, Ch. 407 (SB 1831), in effect January 1, 2005, added "or her" after "preceding his" and substituted "that" for "such" after "appointment to" in the first sentence.

1624.2. Interest bars participation. No member of an assessment appeals board shall knowingly participate in any assessment appeal proceeding wherein the member has an interest in either the subject matter of or a party to the proceeding of such nature that it could reasonably be expected to influence the impartiality of his judgment in the proceeding. Violation of this section shall be cause for removal under Section 1625 of this code.

History.—Added by Stats. 1967, p. 1554, in effect June 20, 1967.

1624.3. Members barred from representing applicants. [Repealed by Stats. 2010, Ch. 654 (SB 1494), in effect January 1, 2011. ]

Back to top


1624.4. Objection to board member. (a) The party affected by an equalization proceeding or his or her agent, or the assessor, may make and file with the clerk of the assessment appeals board in which the proceeding is pending a written statement objecting to the hearing of a matter before a member of the board, and setting forth the facts constituting the ground of the disqualification of the member. Copies of the written statement shall be served by the presenting party on each party in the proceeding and on the board member alleged in the statement to be disqualified.

(b) Within 10 days after the filing of the statement, or within 10 days after the service of the statement as provided in subdivision (a), whichever is later, the board member alleged therein to be disqualified may file with the clerk his or her consent in writing that the action or proceeding be tried before another member, or may file with the clerk his or her written answer admitting or denying any or all of the allegations contained in the statement and setting forth any additional fact or facts material or relevant to the question of his or her disqualification. The clerk shall transmit a copy of the member's consent or answer to each party who shall have appeared in the proceeding. Every statement and every answer shall be verified by oath in the manner prescribed by Section 446 of the Code of Civil Procedure for the verification of pleadings. The statement of a party objecting to the member on the ground of the member's disqualification, shall be presented at the earliest practical opportunity, after discovery of the facts constituting the ground of the member's disqualification, and in any event before the commencement of the hearing of any issue of fact in the proceeding before the member.

(c) No member of the board, who shall deny his or her own disqualification, shall hear or pass upon the question of the disqualification. The question of the member's disqualification shall be heard and determined by some other member agreed upon by the parties who have appeared in the proceeding, or, in the event of their failing to agree, by a member assigned to act by the clerk. Within five days after the expiration of the time allowed by this section for the member to answer, the clerk shall assign a member, not disqualified, to hear and determine the matter of disqualification.

History.—Added by Stats. 1973, Ch. 608, p. 1129, in effect January 1, 1974. Stats. 1996, Ch. 1087, in effect January 1, 1997, added subdivision letter designation "(a)" before "The party affected" in the former first paragraph; added subdivision letter designation "(b)" before "Within 10 days", substituted "the" for "any such" after "the filing of", substituted "within 10 days" for "10 days" after "statement, or", substituted "the statement as provided in subdivision (a), whichever is later" for "such statement as above provided, whichever is later in time" after "the service of", substituted "his or her disqualification." for "his disqualifications." after "the question of", deleted "forthwith" after "The clerk shall", substituted "the member's consent" for "such consent" after "transmit a copy of", substituted "Every statement and every answer" for "Every such statement and every such answer," after "in such proceeding.", substituted "the member's disqualification" for "his disqualification" after "the ground of", and deleted "his appearance and" after "practical opportunity, after", in subdivision (b); added subdivision letter designation "(c)" before "No member of", substituted "his or her own disqualification" for "his disqualification", substituted "the question of the disqualification. The" for "the question of his own disqualification; but in every such case, the", substituted "clerk. Within" for "board of supervisors, and if the parties fail to agree upon a member to determine the question of the disqualification, within" after "member assigned to act by the", substituted "by this section" for "herein" after "the time allowed", substituted "the clerk shall assign a member, not disqualified, to hear and determine the matter of disqualification." for "it shall be the duty of the clerk then to notify the board of supervisors of that fact; and it shall be the duty of the board of supervisors forthwith, upon receipt of notice from the clerk, to assign some other member, not disqualified, to hear and determine the question." after "member to answer," in subdivision (c); substituted "his or her" for "his" throughout the text, and substituted "the" for "such" throughout the text.

Back to top


1625. Removal of members. Any member of an assessment appeals board may be removed for cause by the board of supervisors.

History.—Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 365, in effect April 24, 1974, substituted "an assessment appeals board" for "a tax appeals board".

1626. Discontinuance of boards. The board of supervisors of any county which has created one or more assessment appeals boards may discontinue all of said boards effective on the first Monday in September, subject to any such board continuing to function until matters pending before it have been disposed of. If all of such boards have been discontinued, no new board or boards may be created to function prior to the next succeeding first Monday in September. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the board of supervisors of any such county may increase, or may decrease to not less than one, the number of such boards, effective from and after the next succeeding first Monday in September, provided that any board so discontinued shall continue to function until matters pending before it have been disposed of.

History.—Added by Stats. 1967, p. 1911, in effect November 8, 1967. Stats. 1978, Ch. 636, in effect January 1, 1979, substituted "September" for "June" in both places in the first sentence and in the second sentence.

1626.1. Additional boards. Notwithstanding Section 1623, the board of supervisors of any county which has one or more assessment appeals boards in existence pursuant to this article may by ordinance increase the number of such boards effective from and after the first Monday in October and such boards shall remain in existence until discontinued under the provisions of Section 1626, but in no event shall the term of office of any member of the board exceed three years. Each term of office shall expire in a different calendar year.

History.—Added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 733, in effect January 1, 1976.

1628. Clerk's duties. The clerk of the board of supervisors shall be clerk of the assessment appeals boards and keep a record of their proceedings. He shall perform the same duties in connection with their proceedings as he is required by law to perform in connection with the proceedings of the county board of equalization.

History.—Stats. 1966, p. 673 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year, substituted "assessment appeals boards" for "tax appeals boards," deleted language in second sentence relating to assessment roll changes, and deleted the last clause following "county board of equalization."

1630. Statement of intention. (a) Any real property owner the use of whose land is subject to an enforceable restriction placed upon it by a local agency may apply to the governing body of the local agency for a written statement declaring the present intention of the governing body to refrain from removing or modifying any such restriction in the predictable future.

(b) The written statement of intention may be granted or denied by the governing body at its discretion. A reasonable fee not to exceed ten dollars ($10) may be charged for each such statement.

(c) The written statement may be presented to the county board of equalization as evidence that a restriction on the use of the taxpayer's land exists and that such restriction should be considered in assessing the value of the land.

(d) The written statement shall constitute a rebuttable presumption that the governing body does not intend to remove or modify the restriction in the predictable future.

History.—Added by Stats. 1966, p. 674 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966.

Back to top


Article 1.7. Assessment Hearing Officers*

* Article 1.7 was added by Stats. 1970, p. 1512, in effect September 2, 1970.

1636. Appointment of hearing officer. The county board of supervisors may appoint one or more assessment hearing officers or contract with the Office of Administrative Hearings for the services of an administrative law judge pursuant to Chapter 14 (commencing with Section 27720) of Part 3 of Division 2 of Title 3 of the Government Code to conduct hearings on any assessment protests filed under Article 1 (commencing with Section 1601) of this chapter and to make recommendations to the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board concerning the protests. Only persons meeting the qualifications prescribed by Section 1624 may be appointed as an assessment hearing officer.

History.—Stats. 1995, Ch. 938, in effect January 1, 1996, operative July 1, 1997, substituted "Hearings" for "Procedure" after "Administrative", substituted "an administrative law judge" for "a hearing officer" after "services of" and substituted "the" for "such" after "concerning" in the first sentence.

1636.2. Hearing officers barred from representing applicants. [Repealed by Stats. 2010, Ch. 654 (SB 1494), in effect January 1, 2011. ]

1636.5. [Repealed by Stats. 2010, Ch. 654 (SB 1494), in effect January 1, 2011. ]

Back to top


1637. Procedure. (a) Hearings before an assessment hearing officer shall be conducted pursuant to the provisions of Article 1 (commencing with Section 1601) governing equalization proceedings by a county board of equalization or an assessment appeals board. The assessment hearing officer may conduct hearings on applications where all of the following apply:

(1) The applicant is the assessee and has filed an application under Section 1603;

(2) For counties in which the board of supervisors has not adopted the provisions of Section 1641.1, the total assessed value of the property under consideration, as shown on the current assessment roll, does not exceed five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000); or the property under consideration is a single-family dwelling, condominium or cooperative, or a multiple-family dwelling of four units or less regardless of value.

(3) The applicant has requested that the hearing be held before an assessment hearing officer.

(b) In addition to subdivision (a), the board of supervisors may, by resolution, require the assent of the assessor to hearings before an assessment hearing officer in all cases in which the total assessed value on the current roll of the property under consideration exceeds a sum set by the resolution. However, that requirement shall not apply in cases involving owner-occupied residential property.

History.—Stats. 1974, Ch. 564, p. 1383, in effect January 1, 1975, substituted "twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000)" for "twelve thousand five hundred dollars ($12,500)" in subsection (b). Stats. 1976, Ch. 748, p. 1780, in effect January 1, 1977, added the balance of subsection (b) after "($25,000)". Stats. 1978, Ch. 1207, in effect January 1, 1979, operative January 1, 1981, substituted "one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000)" for "twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000)" in subdivision (b). Stats. 1983, Ch. 1224, in effect January 1, 1984, deleted "of this chapter" before "governing" in the first sentence, added "For counties . . . Section 1641.1," before "the total" in subsection (b), and added subsection (d). Stats. 1990, Ch. 992, in effect January 1, 1990, substituted "1603" for "1607" after "Section" in subdivision (a). Stats. 1995, Ch. 164, in effect July 24, 1995, added subdivision letter designation (a) before first paragraph, and added "all of the following apply" after "applications where" therein; renumbered former subdivisions (a), (b), (c), and (d) as paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and subdivision (b), respectively; substituted "five" for "one" after "not exceed", substituted "($500,000)" for "($100,000)" after "dollars" and substituted a period for "; and" after "of value" in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a); and substituted "subdivision (a)" for "subdivisions (a) and (c)" after "addition to" in subdivision (b).

1638. Representatives of assessor and assessee. The applicant may be represented in the hearing of the application and shall have the right to offer evidence. The assessor may be represented in the hearing by an attorney if the applicant is represented by an attorney and one or more members of his staff, and the assessor and members of his staff shall have the right to offer evidence. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with Section 1609. The hearing and disposition of applications shall be conducted in an informal manner.

History.—Stats. 1973, Ch. 468, p. 941, in effect January 1, 1974, added "an attorney if the applicant is represented by an attorney and" after "hearing" in the second sentence. Stats. 1984, Ch. 678, in effect January 1, 1985, substituted "1609" for "1609.2" after "Section" in the third sentence.

Back to top


1639. Conduct and report of hearing officer. The hearing officer shall conduct the hearing and shall prepare a summary report of the proceedings together with his recommendation on the assessment protest. The hearing officer shall transmit his report and recommendation to the clerk of the board of supervisors. The report and recommendation shall not constitute precedent for future proceedings initiated by the applicant or other applicants.

1640. Hearing officer's report. The clerk shall transmit in writing at the conclusion of the hearing or by mail to the protesting party or his or her agent and shall transmit to the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board the hearing officer's report and recommendation on the assessment protest. The protesting party shall be informed that the county board of equalization is bound by the recommendation of the assessment hearing officer.

History.—Stats. 1980, Ch. 1081, in effect September 26, 1980, deleted "not" before "bound" and "and that he is entitled to a full hearing before the county board or assessment appeals board" after "officer" in the second sentence. Stats. 1994, Ch. 705, in effect January 1, 1995, added "in writing. . .or" after "transmit", and added "or his or her agent" after "party" in the first sentence.

1640.1. Hearing officer's report. (a) The clerk shall transmit in writing at the conclusion of the hearing or by mail to the protesting party or his or her agent and shall transmit to the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board the hearing officer's report and recommendation on the assessment protest. The protesting party shall be informed that the county board of equalization or the assessment appeals board is not bound by the recommendation of the assessment hearing officer and that he or she or the assessor is entitled to a full hearing before the county board or the assessment appeals board.

(b) The provision of this section shall supersede the provisions of Section 1640 in those counties in which the board of supervisors by resolution adopts the provisions of this section.

History.—Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 660, in effect January 1, 1983. Stats. 1983, Ch. 1224, in effect January 1, 1984, added "or the assessor" after "or she" in the second sentence of subdivision (a). Stats. 1984, Ch. 678, in effect January 1, 1985, substituted "1640" for "1641" after "Section" in subdivision (b). Stats. 1994, Ch. 705, in effect January 1, 1995, added "in writing. . .or" after "transmit" and added "or his or her agent" after "party" in the first sentence of subdivision (a).

1641. County board's alternatives. [Repealed by Stats. 1980, Ch. 1081, in effect September 26, 1980.]

1641. Action by county board. Upon the recommendation of an assessment hearing officer the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board shall establish the assessed value for the property at the value recommended by the hearing officer.

History.—Added by Stats. 1980, Ch. 1081, in effect September 26, 1980.

Back to top


1641.1. Action by county board; application for hearing. (a) Upon being notified of the recommendation of an assessment hearing officer, the protesting party or the assessor may request the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board to accept or reject the recommendation of the assessment hearing officer. The assessor may request the board to reject the recommendation of the assessment hearing officer. The county board of equalization or assessment appeals board shall, without further testimony, do either of the following:

(1) Accept the recommendation and change the assessed value in accordance with Section 1610.8.

(2) Reject the recommendation and set the application for reduction for hearing by the local board of equalization.

If a request is not filed with the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board, the protesting party or the assessor may, within 14 days after mailing of the hearing officer's report and recommendation, make application for a hearing before the county board or the assessment appeals board, and the application shall be set for hearing by the county board or the assessment appeals board. The board may consider, but shall not be bound by, the recommendation of the assessment hearing officer.

(b) The provisions of this section shall supersede the provisions of Section 1641 in those counties in which the board of supervisors by resolution adopts the provisions of this section.

History.—Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 660, in effect January 1, 1983. Stats. 1983, Ch. 1224, in effect January 1, 1984, added "or the assessor" after "party" and "or reject" after "accept" in the first sentence of the first paragraph, and added "or the assessor" after "party" in the first sentence of the second paragraph of subdivision (a).

1641.2. Objection to board member; extension. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 1604, if within 90 days of the expiration of the two-year period specified in Section 1604 within which a county board is required to hear evidence and make a final determination on an application for reduction in assessment, a taxpayer or his or her agent objects to an assessment appeals board member pursuant to Section 1624.4 or makes application for a hearing officer's recommendation to be heard before the county board pursuant to Section 1641.1, the two-year period shall be extended by 90 days.

History.—Added by Stats. 1995, Ch. 958, in effect October 16, 1995.

1641.5. Final administrative decision; board of supervisor resolution. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the board of supervisors of a county in which a hearing officer exercises jurisdiction pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1637 may, by a resolution enacted by a majority of the entire membership of that board, provide that the decision of a hearing officer on an assessment appeal application constitutes the final administrative decision of the county board of equalization or county assessment appeals board on that application without any further action by the county board of equalization or county assessment appeals board.

(b) In a county that adopts the resolution described in subdivision (a), that resolution supersedes Section 1640 and 1641.

History.—Added by Stats. 2005, Ch. 264 (SB 555), in effect January 1, 2006.

Back to top


Article 1.9. Hearings Before Assessment Hearing Officers for Unitary Property Located in More Than One County* †

* Article 1.9 was added by Stats. 1988, Ch. 1480, in effect January 1, 1989.

† Section 2 of Stats. 1988, Ch. 1480, 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. Sec. 3 thereof provided that this act shall be applicable to property taxes levied for the 1989–90 fiscal year and fiscal years thereafter.

1642. Unitary mining and mineral property. (a) An assessee of mining or mineral property located in more than one county and alleged to be unitary property, may, within the time specified in Sections 1603 and 1605, request a hearing before a panel comprising one assessment hearing officer from each county in which that unitary property is located by filing in each county concerned a multicounty application for reduction of assessment. The board of supervisors of each county in which the unitary property is located shall appoint one assessment hearing officer pursuant to Section 1636. In the event that the unitary property is located in an even number of counties, the assessment hearing officers shall designate one additional assessment hearing officer who shall be included in the panel. If the assessment hearing officers fail to designate the additional hearing officer within 60 days after the application is filed, the Office of Administrative Hearings shall designate the additional assessment hearing officer.

(b) Hearings before the panel of assessment hearing officers shall be conducted pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 1601) governing equalization proceedings by county boards of equalization. All counties in which the unitary property is located shall be parties to the hearing. Hearings shall be held at the place or places as a majority of the panel shall designate.

(c) Section 1638 shall apply to the hearings by the panel.

(d) The presence of all members of the panel shall be necessary to constitute a quorum.

1643. Hearing procedure. (a) The panel of hearing officers shall conduct the hearing and receive evidence to determine (1) if the property concerned is unitary and (2) if it is unitary, the value of the unitary property as a whole and the portion thereof allocable to each county. The panel shall prepare a summary report of the proceedings, and make a recommendation concerning the total value of the entire unitary property and the apportionment of that value among the counties concerned. Any determination by a majority of the hearing officers shall constitute a determination by the panel.

(b) If the panel determines that the property concerned is not unitary, the application shall be referred back to each of the counties concerned to be treated as an application for reduction of assessment filed in each county.

1644. Report and recommendation. The report and recommendation of the panel of hearing officers shall be transmitted to the county clerk of each of the counties concerned. Each county clerk shall transmit a copy of the report and recommendation to the protesting party, the assessor, and to the board of equalization or the assessment appeals board of the county concerned within 14 days of the receipt thereof.

Back to top


1645. County board of equalization; assessment appeals board procedures. (a) If, within 30 days following receipt of the report and recommendation of the panel of hearing officers by the county board of equalization or assessment appeals board of a concerned county, the assessor of that county or the assessee submits a written request to the board to reject the recommendation of the panel of hearing officers with respect to property located in that county, the board shall, without further testimony, do either of the following:

(1) Accept the recommendation of the panel and change the assessed values for that county in accordance with that recommendation.

(2) Reject the recommendation of the panel and set the request for hearing before the board as an application for reduction of assessment.

(b) In the event that neither the assessor nor the assessee makes a request in accordance with subdivision (a) within the prescribed 30-day period, the board shall, not later than 60 days following its receipt of the report and recommendation of the panel of hearing officers, without further testimony, take the action specified in paragraph (1) or (2) of subdivision (a).

(c) In any hearing set by the board pursuant to this section, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the recommendation of the panel of hearing officers is correct.

1645.5. Definition. For purposes of this article, the term "unitary property" shall mean one or more parcels of real property that are contiguous and are operated as an economic unit.

Back to top


Article 2. Duties of Auditor

1646. Entry of totals. As soon as the auditor receives the local roll from the assessor, he shall add up the valuations on it and enter on the roll the total valuation of each kind of property and the total valuation of all property; provided, however, that if the assessment roll is a machine-prepared roll the prescribed computations and entries may be made and entered upon a newly prepared roll.

(a) In counties of the first class, after the board of supervisors has acted under Section 2151, the auditor shall perform the duties specified in Section 2152; provided that if the assessment roll is a machine-prepared roll, the prescribed computations and entries may be made and entered upon a newly prepared roll without incorporating any of the adjustments authorized by the local board of equalization.

(b) In all other counties, after the board of supervisors has acted under Section 2151, the auditor shall perform the duties specified in Section 2152; provided that if the assessment roll is a machine-prepared roll, the prescribed computations and entries may be made and entered upon a newly prepared roll.

History.—Stats. 1957, p. 964, in effect September 11, 1957, added the clause relating to a machine-prepared roll. Stats. 1966, p. 674 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year, substituted "assessor" for "clerk of the county board", deleted former language following "newly prepared roll", and added the last paragraph. Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 365, in effect April 24, 1974, applicable to assessments made on and after the 1974 lien date, added the subdivision letters, added subdivision (a), and added "In all other counties," before "after" to subdivision (b).

1646.1. Correction of the roll. Upon receiving a statement from the clerk prepared under Section 1614, the auditor shall forthwith correct the roll to reflect the changes made by the county board.

History.—Added by Stats. 1966, p. 674 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year.

1647. Valuation statements. Annually, on or before August 15th, the auditor shall prepare duplicate valuation statements, verified by his attached affidavit, from the local roll as corrected for changes made during July. Within 60 days after the close of the assessment year, he shall prepare new statements to reflect all corrections of the roll.

History.—Stats. 1951, p. 1390, in effect September 22, 1951, substituted third for second Monday in August. Stats. 1966, p. 674 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, first operative for the 1967–68 assessment year, substituted "for changes made during July" for "by the county board", and added the last sentence. Stats. 1973, Ch. 710, p. 1284, in effect January 1, 1974, substituted "August 15th" for "the third Monday in August".

1648. Contents. The valuation statements shall show such information as the board may require.

Back to top


1649. Transmission. As soon as the valuation statements are prepared, the auditor shall transmit one to the controller and one to the board.

1650. Civil penalty. Every auditor who fails to transmit the valuation statements as required forfeits one thousand dollars ($1,000) to the State, to be recovered in an action brought by the Attorney General in the name of the board.

Changes in roll.—The county auditor, being subject under this section to penalty for delay in preparing valuation statements based upon the local assessment roll, could not be compelled by the county board of equalization to permit changes in that roll after both the final date fixed by the code and the final date to which the State Board of Equalization could have extended the time for the board's corrections of the roll. Board of Supervisors v. DeLisle, 160 Cal.App.2d 599.

1651. Transmission of roll. Immediately upon completion of his duties under Section 1646, the auditor shall transmit the unsecured roll to the tax collector.

History.—Added by Stats. 1943, p. 2440, in effect August 4, 1943. Stats. 1963, p. 4343, in effect September 20, 1963, added the reference to Section 1754. Stats. 1974, Ch. 180, p. 365, in effect April 24, 1974, applicable to assessments made on and after the 1974 lien date, deleted "or under Section 1754, whichever is applicable," after "Section 1646,". Stats. 1978, Ch. 1126, p. 3446, in effect January 1, 1979 deleted the provisions requiring the delivery of the roll to the assessor unless the duty to collect the tax was that of the tax collector.

Back to top


Article 4. Equalization with Assistance of Appraisal Commission

1716. Appraisal commission. Whenever the board of supervisors and the assessor of any county determine that, in order to maintain the equality of the assessment of property within the county, an appraisal of all or any class of property is required, the clerk of the board of supervisors and the assessor shall certify this determination to the State Board of Equalization. Thereupon, the assessor, the chairman of the board of supervisors, and the member of the State Board of Equalization from the district which includes the county constitute an appraisal commission to conduct the appraisal.

History.—Stats. 1963, p. 3630, added "maintain the equality" in place of "equalize."

1716.1. Board of Equalization may establish commission. [Repealed by Stats. 1982, Ch. 327, in effect June 30, 1982.]

1717. Employees. The appraisal commission may employ any technical assistants it deems necessary to carry out the required appraisal. A person so employed is not an additional deputy or assistant of the assessor.

History.—Stats. 1966, p. 675 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966, deleted requirement for approval by the board of supervisors.

1717.1. Employee qualifications. The requirements of Sections 670, 671 and 673 shall apply to employees of an appraisal commission.

Upon being employed by an appraisal commission, the employee shall disclose, on a form provided by the State Board of Equalization, his financial interest in any corporation in accordance with Section 672.

History.—Added by Stats. 1966, p. 675 (First Extra Session), in effect October 6, 1966.

1718. Part of equalization. All work done under this article is in furtherance of the power of the county board to equalize assessments.

1719. Expenses. The expenses of this appraisal are a county charge, and the board of supervisors may make the necessary appropriations to meet these expenses.

1720. Private contracts. A contract shall not be made with any person by which the duty of conducting such an appraisal is delegated to any private interests.

1721. Prohibition of other appraisals. Save assessments by the assessor or valuations of individual parcels by the county board during its authorized sessions, taxable property shall not be appraised for taxation under authority of any county except under this article.

Use of independent experts.—Investigations conducted by the Board of Supervisors through independent experts concerning loss of property taxes does not violate this section where it is contemplated that such investigation will reveal cases requiring assessments by the assessor. Knoff v. City and County of San Francisco, 1 Cal.App.3d 184.

Back to top