California: Real Estate “Change in Ownership” Can Trigger Documentary Transfer Tax
926 North Ardmore Avenue, LLC v. County of Los Angeles, (9/22/14, B248536)
The California Court of Appeals has recently held that, as a general rule, the Documentary Transfer Tax (“DTT”) applies whenever there is a “change in ownership” of real property under the California Revenue & Taxation Code. In the case, 926 North Ardmore Avenue, LLC v. County of Los Angeles, the court held that the phrase “realty sold” under the DTT Act includes a “change in ownership” (subject to the limited exceptions expressly included in the DTT Act). San Francisco and Santa Clara Counties have already enacted amendments to their DTT ordinances to provide for this result, and there are several other counties (most notably Los Angeles and San Diego) that have taken this position without any change to their ordinances.