Whenever there is a transfer of ownership (sale, inheritance, etc.) of a property a Property Transfer Affidavit is used to inform the assessor of the transfer. The property transfer affidavit is a result of the Proposal A reforms which ‘caps’, or limits, the rate of increase of your property’s “taxable value” (the value used to calculate your tax bill). The taxable value cannot rise faster than the rate of inflation or 5% whichever is less (excepting value added through additions or deletion to the property) until the property is transferred. In the tax year following the transfer of the property, the taxable value will “uncap” and become equal to the “assessed value”. Assessed value is one-half of the assessor’s estimate of the market value of your property. The law now requires the transferee (buyer, inheritor, etc.) to file this form within 45 days of the transfer in order to ensure that this “uncapping” adjustment is made on all transferred property.
Failure to file a property transfer affidavit can have serious consequences; you could be billed for all additional tax which should have been levied each year since the time the uncapping would normally have occurred, including penalty and interest.
Title companies generally make this form available to buyers at the closing and usually handle mailing the form to the assessor as well. However, it is the responsibility of the buyer and in your best interest to be certain that the assessor receives it.