Documentary Transfer Tax


Documentary Transfer Tax

The Documentary Transfer Tax is due on conveyances of real property when the consideration OR the fair market value exceeds $100, unless an applicable statutory tax exemption is cited. The transfer tax is based on the purchase price or the fair market value, levied at the rate of 55 cents per $500, or fraction thereof. That number equates to $1.10 for every thousand dollars of value. The value of existing liens or encumbrances already of record which are assumed by the new owner/buyer on the property can be deducted before the transfer tax is computed. The transfer tax is paid at the time the deed or other conveyance instrument is recorded.

If the property is located within the city limits of the City of San Mateo, an additional conveyance tax is levied for payment to the City of San Mateo. The City of San Mateo conveyance tax and its exemptions are not discussed here.

The Documentary Transfer Tax must be paid on all conveyance documents at the time of recording unless an exemption applies.  To determine whether an exemption applies to your transfer, you should consult with a lawyer or authorized individual.  The Recorder does not offer legal advice or advisory opinions regarding the payment of transfer tax.

Some common exemptions contained in the Revenue & Taxation Code section 11921 through 11930 recognized by the Recorder are outlined as below.

Transfer Tax Information and Exemptions

Recording Conveyance Documents

When recording a document that conveys an interest in real property from one party to another, a signed tax declaration must appear on the face of the document stating the amount of Documentary Transfer Tax that is due. If the transfer is exempt from the Documentary Transfer Tax, the transfer tax amount must be marked as “$0″ or “none”, a statement of the applicable exemption and the associated Revenue & Taxation code must also appear on the face of the document.

Please note that exemptions from Documentary Transfer Tax and exclusions from reassessment are separate and may differ.

If the property is located within the city limits of the City of San Mateo, an additional declaration for the city conveyance tax must also appear on the face of the document.


Documentary Transfer Tax Affidavit

Who can sign the affidavit?

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 Affidavit?

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 Affidavit?

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.