Beginning January 1, 1968, pursuant to California Statute
and County Ordinance (Chapter 21, Article III, Ord.
3982), the Butte County Clerk-Recorder's Office is charged with collecting documentary
The monies collected are deposited to the County General Fund and used to support other departments
such as the Sheriff; none is kept by the Clerk-Recorder's office. Collected transfer tax amounts
are allocated by code depending on the property location: Unincorporated area goes 100% to the
County, Incorporated areas are split
50% to the town or city and 50% to the County.
A County Recorder cannot accept a conveying document for recordation until the proper amount of tax
has been paid. The Recorder may rely on the amount of tax declared provided he or she
has no reason to believe that the full amount of tax due has not been paid.
Every document subject to the tax that is submitted for recordation must show the location of the
lands and if in a city, the name of the city shall be set forth or if in an unincorporated area of
the county, that shall be set forth. Documents that do not contain this information cannot be
recorded until this determination is made and will necessarily be subjected to a delay in the
County ordinance also provides that whenever the County Recorder has reason to believe that the
full amount of the tax has not been paid, he or she may, by notice served upon any person liable
therefore, require him to furnish a true copy of his records relevant to the amount of the
consideration or value of the interest or property conveyed, and further provides that any person
who makes any material misrepresentation of fact for the purpose of avoiding all or any part of the
tax shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
The tax is levied upon every deed, instrument, or other writing by which any lands, tenements or
realty sold when the consideration or value, exclusive of the value of any lien or encumbrance
remaining thereon at the time of sale exceeds
$100 at the rate of $.55 for each $500 or fractional part
thereof. Transactions exempt from the tax are described in
Section 11921 et seq. of the Revenue and Taxation Code.
Documents presented for recording that fall within the exempt category must cite the particular
code section under which the exemption is claimed and such citation should appear as close to the
tax declaration as possible on the face of the transfer document.
The tax declaration must be signed by the party determining the tax or his agent. If signed by an
agent, the firm name of the agent should be designated.
Notice: Any misrepresentation of fact is unlawful under County ordinance. Any person who makes
such a misrepresentation is subject to prosecution for such offense.
R & T Code Information
(All references are to the Revenue & Taxation Code)
Revenue and Taxation Code 11911(a) allows each county, by ordinance, to impose the documentary
transfer tax on realty sold when the consideration or value is greater than
The Code of Federal Regulations defines "realty" as "those interest in real property which
endure for a period of time, the termination of which is not fixed or ascertained by a
specific number of years, such as an estate in fee simple, life estate, perpetual easement and
those interests enduring for a fixed period of years but which, either by reason of the length of
the term or the grant of a right to extend the term by renewal or otherwise, (i.e. a lease) consist
of a bundle of rights approximating those of the class of interest mentioned above." The code
further defines "sold" as "a transfer of an interest for a valuable consideration, which may
involve money or anything of value" and "consideration" as "some right, interest, profit, or
benefit accruing to one party, or some forbearance, detriment, loss, or responsibility given,
suffered, or undertaken by the other."
Those interests which endure for a period of time, the termination of which is not fixed or
ascertained by a specific number of years and those interests enduring for a fixed period of years
but which, either by reason of the length of the term by renewal or otherwise, consist of a bundle
of rights approximating those of the class of interests mentioned above.
Defined as a transfer of any interest for a valuable consideration.
May consist either in some right, interest, profit or benefit accruing to one party, or some
forbearance, detriment, loss, or responsibility given, suffered, or undertaken by the other.
Transfer Tax Test
1. Was an interest in realty conveyed?
2. Was there consideration for the conveyance?
If the answer to both questions is yes, and the consideration or value exceeds $100.00, transfer
tax is due and payable.
Public awareness of and compliance with the provisions of this law will help make it
possible for your Recorder's Office to continue rendering the excellent recording service to which
its patrons have become accustomed.
* May be required to submit documentation to the recorder to verify the validity of the exemption