The California State Board of Equalization released a summary of property tax issues decided by the state's Court of Appeals. The rulings set precedents that may be helpful for taxpayers facing similar issues.
Box Must Be Checked for Tax Refund
A telephone company forfeited its right to a property tax refund because it failed to check the box on its reassessment petition form indicating the petition was intended to serve as a refund claim and did not otherwise notify the State Board of Equalization. The appellate court determined that the trial court properly relied upon the principle requiring strict compliance with tax statutes for refunds.
Sprint Telephony PCS, L.P. et al. v. State Board of Equalization 238 Cal.App.4th 871
Lease Constitutes Taxable Possessory Interest
A taxpayer's right of possession, which gave them an exclusive right to store aircraft and equipment is sufficiently independent of the tax-exempt land to constitute a taxable possessory interest in the lease.
Gunter Siebold v. County of Los Angeles 240 Cal.App.4th 674
Previous Owners' Hardship is Irrelevant
A property owner is not entitled to relief from penalties for delinquent taxes based on the previous owners' alleged inability to pay. Justices determined Section 4985.2(a) of the Revenue and Taxation Code is not intended as a broad-ranging remedy for a particular taxpayer's adverse financial situation in an economic recession.
Ashlan Park Center LLC v. Vicki Crow 233 Cal.App.4th 1274
Refund Disallowed for Map Discrepancy
Taxpayers are not entitled to a refund if property taxes are delinquent on land that appears only on the assessor's map and does not correspond to the parcel map. The court ruled that in this case, since the assessor split the base year value of the real property between the lots shown on the assessor's map, the disparity was not a clerical error.
Frank Cafferkey et al. v. City and County of San Francisco 236 Cal.App.4th 858
Reassessment Not Required for Lease Extension and Sale
The step transaction doctrine does not apply to the reassessment of a retail shopping center when the lease was extended and then sold to the lessee and an outside investor. The ruling found that these two steps were not for the purpose of avoiding reassessment for property taxes so no change in ownership occurred within the meaning of Revenue and Taxation Code Section 60.
Dyanlyn Two et al. v. County of Orange 234 Cal.App.4th 800