How long will you be issuing online marriage licenses and
conducting virtual marriage ceremonies?
This program will remain in effect until the Executive Order is
modified or rescinded or until the State of Emergency is
terminated, whichever occurs sooner.
What software do I need?
Other than a computer, tablet or cell phone with a microphone and
camera and an internet connection, no additional software is
required for the marriage license and marriage ceremony.
When can I schedule an appointment?
Online marriage licenses and virtual marriage ceremonies
appointment are currently available Monday through Friday from 8
a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Couples who would like more information or to schedule an
appointment are asked to email CountyClerk@smcacre.org or
call (650) 363-4566.
How do I pay the fee?
Fees are submitted through Elavon, the San Mateo County
Clerk-Recorder Division’s electronic payment system.
How does the technology work?
Microsoft Teams allows couples to video chat with officials from
the San Mateo County Clerk-Recorder’s Office in lieu of an
in-person appointment. DocuSign allows couples to submit a
secured signed license after their ceremonies.
Are the marriages legal?
Yes. California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently issued an executive
order permitting the issuance of marriage licenses and the
conduct of remote civil wedding ceremonies via teleconferencing
Can I invite family and guests to join the video conference?
Yes. It will be limited to the parties (groom/bride), maximum of
2 witnesses and the officiant.
Does your office provide legal forms? If not, where do we
Our office does not provide legal forms. Although we would like
to give you as much information as possible, under California
law, we are prohibited from providing any legal advice. This
includes advising what document to record, providing any legal
forms and assisting with the preparation of any legal documents.
It is recommended that you seek assistance from an attorney or
authorized individual. Legal forms can also be obtained from the
Law Library, stationery stores or online.
Can your office help with a title search on
The Recorder Division does not conduct title searches. We
maintain the official archive of legally recordable transactions
so that members of the public can come in and conduct their own
Your office recorded a lien against me. I want it
The County Recorder cannot release a lien from the official
record. You must contact the agency, person or person’s attorney
who claimed the lien against you to resolve the lien. Once the
lien is paid/resolved, the claimant will issue the release.
If the lien cannot be resolved, you can go to court to resolve
the issue. You may want to contact your attorney for assistance.
I paid off a lien and the release has already been
recorded. Why is it still showing on my credit report?
When Releases are recorded, the Recorder Division does not notify
any agencies. To remove the lien from your credit report, you can
obtain a recorded copy of the Release from our office and forward
it to each of the credit reporting bureaus.
What are the time limits on certain documents (e.g.
Mechanic’s Liens, Abstracts of Judgment, Notices of
The Recorder Division cannot give out legal information regarding
documents. You may want to look up such information at a law
library or contact your attorney for assistance.
I have a filed-stamped copy of a court order/judgment.
Can this be recorded in your office?
No. You will need to obtain a certified copy of the court
order/judgment (signed, dated and sealed by the court clerk
certifying that the copy is a true and correct copy of the
original). The certified copy of the court order/judgment can be
recorded in our office.
I just paid off my mortgage. When will I get my new
Purchasing a house is different from purchasing a car in that the
“title” to your car is issued when the car loan is paid off. When
you purchase a house, the Deed or “title” to your house is
recorded when escrow closes. That recorded Deed is then
mailed to you approximately 4-6 weeks after the recording
date. Whether or not you have a mortgage against your house
does not change the “title” to your house, unless you
subsequently recorded another Deed to change “title” (e.g.
adding/removing a spouse, transferring title to your trust).
I just received a suspicious-looking document from your
office called Substitution of Trustee and Deed of Full
Reconveyance. What is it and should I be worried?
A Substitution of Trustee and Deed of Full Reconveyance (or
sometimes just a Deed of Full Reconveyance) is recorded when a
mortgage is paid off. The language on the document may be
confusing but you should not be worried.
If the property is in the City of San Mateo, why do I
have to fill out another tax declaration?
The City of San Mateo is the only city for which the county
collects city conveyance tax. The City of San Mateo conveyance
tax is due at the time of recording, levied at a rate of $5 per
thousand, based on the purchase price or fair market value of the
real property interest conveyed, unless a valid exemption is
Please note that the allowable exemptions for the City of San
Mateo conveyance tax and the Documentary Transfer Tax are
separate and may differ.
When must I file a Fictitious Business Name
You can file before you make your first transaction. In any case
you must file within 40 days of making your first
Is a Fictitious Business Name Statement good
No. You must update it every five years, even if no information
about your business has changed.
Where do I file and/or to whom is the check
Fictitious Business Name Statements must be filed with the County
Clerk in which the registrant has his or her principal place of
business. If filing in San Mateo County please write the check to
the San Mateo County Clerk.
May I have more than one Fictitious Business Name
Statement on file?
Yes. You may have as many Fictitious Business Name Statements on
file as you have separate businesses. Also, there may be more
than one registrant listed on your Fictitious Business Name
Does filing a Fictitious Business Name Statement
automatically guarantee that no other business is using my
No, it does not reserve the name for your exclusive use. The
filing is for consumer protection, and is under requirement under
law. Applicants, not the county, are responsible for verifying
that the business name used is unique. The applicant also is
responsible for verifying that the name does not violate any
trademark protocols. The County Clerk’s Division will search
Fictitious Business Name Statements on file for a fee.
Only one person must sign the Tax Affidavit. The
transferor/transferee of the conveyance or an
attorney/representative with full knowledge of the transaction
can sign the Tax Affidavit
I am recording a Deed and it is exempt from Documentary
Transfer Tax. Do I still need to submit a Tax
Yes. The Tax Affidavit is submitted to help explain the
nature of the transaction and the validity of the claimed DTT
exemption. Be sure to attach any required supporting
documentation to prove that your claimed DTT exemption is valid.
I am recording an Affidavit of Death. Do I need to submit
a Tax Affidavit?
No. The Tax Affidavit is currently only required for the
following documents: Deeds (including Grant, Quitclaim,
Interspousal, Trust Transfer and Warranty Deeds), Leases,
Memorandum of Leases, Assignment of Leases, Easements, Deeds in
Lieu of Foreclosure, Land Contracts and Agreements for Sale.
I am adding my spouse to title and I am claiming that the DTT
exemption of “Gift”. Do both of us need to sign the Tax
No. Only the Donor is required to sign the gift tax disclaimer
under question 4 on the Tax Affidavit. The Tax Affidavit
itself (2nd page) can be signed by either party or a
representative with full knowledge of the transaction.
I am running for office. Do I have to file a Conflict of Interest Statement (Form 700)?
Candidates running for local elective offices (for example, county sheriffs, city clerks, school board trustees, and water district board members) must file candidate statements, as required by the conflict-of-interest code for the elected position.
If you are filing a statement in connection with your candidacy for state or local office, investments, interests in real property, and business positions held on the date of filing your declaration of candidacy must be reported. In addition, income (including loans, gifts, and travel payments) received during the 12 months prior to the date of filing your declaration of candidacy is reportable. Do not change the preprinted dates on Schedules A-1, A-2, and B.
I am a newly elected/appointed official or board member that filed a Conflict of Interest Statement (Form 700) as a candidate. Do I also have to file an assuming office statement now that I am in office?
The answer is, “Yes”. Investments, interests in real property, and business positions held on the date you assumed the office or position must be reported. In addition, income (including loans, gifts, and travel payments) received during the 12 months prior to the date you assumed the office or position is reportable.
I am a reelected official or board member. Do I have to file an assuming office statement?
If you complete a term of office and, within 30 days, begin a new term of the same office (for example, you are reelected or reappointed), you are not required to file an assuming office statement. Instead, you may file the next annual statement due.
Example: Last day of term is October 30, 2007 and beginning of new term is November 6, 2007 (you only need to file an annual statement)
If there is a lapse of more than 30 days, from the last day of term and the beginning of the new term, you have to file a leaving office and an assuming office statement. Investments, interests in real property, and business positions held on the date you assumed the office or position must be reported. In addition, income (including loans, gifts, and travel payments) received during the 12 months prior to the date you assumed the office or position is reportable.
Example: Last day of term is June 20 (leaving office statement required) and beginning of new term is August 10 (assuming office statement required).
I am a newly elected/appointed official or board member. What is my assuming office date?
Elected officials are deemed to assume office on the date they are sworn in. Non-elected officials assume office on the date they are authorized to serve or on the date they are sworn in.
Investments, interests in real property, and business positions held on the date you assumed the office or position must be reported. In addition, income (including loans, gifts, and travel payments) received during the 12 months prior to the date you assumed the office or position is reportable.
When should I file an assuming office statement or leaving office statement?
A designated filer must file within 30 days of assuming office or within 30 days of the effective date of a newly adopted or amended conflict-of-interest code.
Example: Date of assuming office is July 1, 2007
Officials leave office on the day they stop performing their official duties. (See FPPCs Regulation 18722 for more information.). A leaving office statement must be filed within 30 days from the date a filer left office or ceased performing their official duties.
Example: Date of leaving office is August 10, 2007
Filers who leave office between January 1, 2008, and April 1, 2008, may file a combination annual/leaving office statement instead of two separate statements as long as the statement is filed within 30 days of leaving office or by April 1, 2008, whichever is earlier.
Example: Date of leaving office is March 19, 2008
I am a city council member but also a board member of one of the county agencies. How should I file?
If you hold multiple positions (for example, a city council member who also is a member of a county board or commission), you may be required to file statements with each agency. To simplify your filing obligations, you may complete an expanded statement.
To do this, enter the name of the other agency(ies) with which you are required to file and your position title(s) in the space provided. Attach an additional sheet if necessary. Complete one statement covering the disclosure requirements for all positions. Each copy must contain an original signature. Therefore, before signing a statement, make a copy for each agency. Sign each copy with an original signature and file with each agency. Be aware of the jurisdictions.
Example: You are a city council member (Redwood City) and a board member of the Civil Service Commission (San Mateo County)
I assumed office on November 1, 2007. Do I have to file an annual statement that is due on April 1, 2008?
Last Quarter assuming individuals who assumed office between October 1, 2007, and December 31, 2007, and filed assuming office statements are not required to file the 2007 annual statement. The next annual statement (2008) should cover the day after their assuming office date through December 31, 2008, and will be due on April 1, 2009.
Example: Assumed office on November 1, 2007
1. Assuming Office Statement due within 30 days from Nov.1st
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