Significance of Changes in Ownership
Following Proposition 13’s adoption in 1978, property tax base values are fixed and generally cannot be increased by more than two percent annually unless a qualifying change in ownership or value adding new construction activity occurs.
A change in ownership occurs when the present interest and beneficial use of real property transfers. This primarily occurs when properties transfer via recorded deed. However, a change in ownership can also occur due to other unrecorded activities.
Reassessable changes of ownership can include transfers for consideration, such as sales, as well as gift and inheritance transfers.
When a qualifying change in ownership is noticed, it necessitates a tax reassessment as to the portion of the real property transferred. When this occurs, the Assessor determines the fair market value of that portion as of the date of transfer and creates a new tax base year for it. This base year value is then incorporated into the parcel’s current taxable assessed value.
Some transfers are, or can be, excluded from a tax reassessment. See below for more information about reassessment exclusions.
The law requires that the Assessor be notified upon every change in ownership of real property in the County. This includes both recorded and unrecorded ownership changes.
If an ownership change is noticed by the recording of a transfer document, then a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (BOE-502-A) form must be submitted to the Assessor or Recorder at the time of recording.
If an unrecorded change in ownership occurs, then a Change in Ownership Statement (BOE-502-AH) form must be filed with the Assessor within 90 days of the date of change in ownership. Similarly, if the Assessor requests the filing of such form, then it must be submitted within 90 days of the request date to avoid penalty.
If a change in ownership occurs due to the death of a real property owner, then notice of such change must be filed with the Assessor via a Change in Ownership Statement Death of Real Property Owner (BOE-502-D) form within 150 days of the death to avoid penalty.
See our Change in Ownership Forms page for all the above-mentioned documents.