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SB-1304 Property taxation: disaster relief: Porter Ranch methane gas leak.(2015-2016)



Current Version: 09/02/16 - Enrolled Compare Versions information image


SB1304:v94#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  September 02, 2016
Passed  IN  Senate  August 30, 2016
Passed  IN  Assembly  August 29, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  August 15, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 23, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 08, 2016
Amended  IN  Senate  April 21, 2016

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 1304


Introduced by Senator Huff
(Coauthors: Senators De León, Pavley, and Runner)

February 19, 2016


An act to amend Section 170 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, relating to taxation, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1304, Huff. Property taxation: disaster relief: Porter Ranch methane gas leak.
Existing property tax law authorizes the board of supervisors of a county to provide that every assessee or person liable for taxes on any taxable property whose property was damaged or destroyed without his or her fault may apply for reassessment of that property, as provided. To be eligible for reassessment, existing law requires that the damage or destruction of the property be caused by specified circumstances, including a major misfortune or calamity in an area or region subsequently proclaimed by the Governor to be in a state of disaster.
This bill would additionally authorize the board of supervisors of a county to provide for reassessment of property destroyed or damaged by a major misfortune or calamity in an area or region subsequently proclaimed by the Governor to be in a state of emergency. The bill would specify that “damage” includes a diminution in the value of property as a result of environmental contamination. The bill would also provide that the amendments made by its provisions would apply retroactively to property located in the Porter Ranch neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles that was affected by the methane gas leak in that area in 2015 and 2016 and that, with respect to these properties, the application for reassessment may be filed within 12 months of the enactment of this bill or within the time specified in the ordinance, whichever is later. The bill would specify that these provisions do not alter existing law regarding claims or defenses related to diminution of property values or establish a presumption that property values have declined or that any property is in any way “damaged or destroyed” or otherwise “contaminated” for purposes of a civil action related to the methane gas leak in the Porter Ranch neighborhood.
Existing law requires the assessed value of the property in its damaged condition, determined as specified, to be the taxable value of the property until it is restored, repaired, reconstructed, or other provisions of the law require the establishment of a new base year value. Existing law, if partial reconstruction, restoration, or repair has occurred on any subsequent lien date, requires the taxable value to be increased by a specified amount.
This bill, for property destroyed or damaged in an area or region proclaimed by the Governor to be in a state of emergency, on the 3rd lien date following the calamity, if partial reconstruction, restoration, or repair is not progressing in a timely fashion, would require the assessed value of the property to be determined, as specified.
This bill would make legislative findings and declarations as to the necessity of a special statute for the County of Los Angeles.
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 170 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is amended to read:

170.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the board of supervisors, by ordinance, may provide that every assessee of any taxable property, or any person liable for the taxes on that property, whose property was damaged or destroyed without his or her fault, may apply for reassessment of that property as provided in this section. The ordinance may also specify that the assessor may initiate the reassessment where the assessor determines that within the preceding 12 months taxable property located in the county was damaged or destroyed.
To be eligible for reassessment the damage or destruction to the property shall have been caused by any of the following:
(1) A major misfortune or calamity, in an area or region subsequently proclaimed by the Governor to be in a state of emergency or disaster, if that property was damaged or destroyed by the major misfortune or calamity that caused the Governor to proclaim the area or region to be in a state of emergency or disaster. As used in this paragraph, “damage” includes a diminution in the value of property as a result of restricted access or environmental contamination to the property where that restricted access or environmental contamination was caused by the major misfortune or calamity.
(2) A misfortune or calamity.
(3) A misfortune or calamity that, with respect to a possessory interest in land owned by the state or federal government, has caused the permit or other right to enter upon the land to be suspended or restricted. As used in this paragraph, “misfortune or calamity” includes a drought condition such as existed in this state in 1976 and 1977.
The application for reassessment may be filed within the time specified in the ordinance or within 12 months of the misfortune or calamity, whichever is later, by delivering to the assessor a written application requesting reassessment showing the condition and value, if any, of the property immediately after the damage or destruction, and the dollar amount of the damage. The application shall be executed under penalty of perjury, or if executed outside the State of California, verified by affidavit.
An ordinance may be made applicable to a major misfortune or calamity specified in paragraph (1) or to any misfortune or calamity specified in paragraph (2), or to both, as the board of supervisors determines. An ordinance shall not be made applicable to a misfortune or calamity specified in paragraph (3), unless an ordinance making paragraph (2) applicable is operative in the county. The ordinance may specify a period of time within which the ordinance shall be effective, and, if no period of time is specified, it shall remain in effect until repealed.
(b) Upon receiving a proper application, the assessor shall appraise the property and determine separately the full cash value of land, improvements, and personalty immediately before and after the damage or destruction. If the sum of the full cash values of the land, improvements, and personalty before the damage or destruction exceeds the sum of the values after the damage by ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, the assessor shall also separately determine the percentage reductions in value of land, improvements, and personalty due to the damage or destruction. The assessor shall reduce the values appearing on the assessment roll by the percentages of damage or destruction computed pursuant to this subdivision, and the taxes due on the property shall be adjusted as provided in subdivision (e). However, the amount of the reduction shall not exceed the actual loss.
(c) (1) As used in this subdivision, “board” means either the county board of supervisors acting as the county board of equalization, or an assessment appeals board established by the county board of supervisors in accordance with Section 1620, as applicable.
(2) The assessor shall notify the applicant in writing of the amount of the proposed reassessment. The notice shall state that the applicant may appeal the proposed reassessment to the board within six months of the date of mailing the notice. If an appeal is requested within the six-month period, the board shall hear and decide the matter as if the proposed reassessment had been entered on the roll as an assessment made outside the regular assessment period. The decision of the board regarding the damaged value of the property shall be final, provided that a decision of the board regarding any reassessment made pursuant to this section shall create no presumption as regards the value of the affected property subsequent to the date of the damage.
(3) Those reassessed values resulting from reductions in full cash value of amounts, as determined above, shall be forwarded to the auditor by the assessor or the clerk of the board, as the case may be. The auditor shall enter the reassessed values on the roll. After being entered on the roll, those reassessed values shall not be subject to review, except by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(d) (1) If no application is made and the assessor determines that within the preceding 12 months a property has suffered damage caused by misfortune or calamity that may qualify the property owner for relief under an ordinance adopted under this section, the assessor shall provide the last known owner of the property with an application for reassessment. The property owner shall file the completed application within 12 months after the occurrence of that damage. Upon receipt of a properly completed, timely filed application, the property shall be reassessed in the same manner as required in subdivision (b).
(2) This subdivision does not apply where the assessor initiated reassessment as provided in subdivision (a) or (l).
(e) The tax rate fixed for property on the roll on which the property so reassessed appeared at the time of the misfortune or calamity, shall be applied to the amount of the reassessment as determined in accordance with this section and the assessee shall be liable for: (1) a prorated portion of the taxes that would have been due on the property for the current fiscal year had the misfortune or calamity not occurred, to be determined on the basis of the number of months in the current fiscal year prior to the misfortune or calamity; plus, (2) a proration of the tax due on the property as reassessed in its damaged or destroyed condition, to be determined on the basis of the number of months in the fiscal year after the damage or destruction, including the month in which the damage was incurred. For purposes of applying the preceding calculation in prorating supplemental taxes, the term “fiscal year” means that portion of the tax year used to determine the adjusted amount of taxes due pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 75.41. If the damage or destruction occurred after January 1 and before the beginning of the next fiscal year, the reassessment shall be utilized to determine the tax liability for the next fiscal year. However, if the property is fully restored during the next fiscal year, taxes due for that year shall be prorated based on the number of months in the year before and after the completion of restoration.
(f) Any tax paid in excess of the total tax due shall be refunded to the taxpayer pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 5096) of Part 9, as an erroneously collected tax or by order of the board of supervisors without the necessity of a claim being filed pursuant to Chapter 5.
(g) (1) The assessed value of the property in its damaged condition, as determined pursuant to subdivision (b) compounded annually by the inflation factor specified in subdivision (a) of Section 51, shall be the taxable value of the property until it is restored, repaired, reconstructed, or other provisions of the law require the establishment of a new base year value.
(2) If partial reconstruction, restoration, or repair has occurred on any subsequent lien date, the taxable value shall be increased by an amount determined by multiplying the difference between its factored base year value immediately before the calamity and its assessed value in its damaged condition by the percentage of the repair, reconstruction, or restoration completed on that lien date.
(3) (A) On the third lien date following the calamity, if partial reconstruction, restoration, or repair is not progressing in a timely fashion, the assessed value of the property shall be determined pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 51.
(B) This paragraph shall only apply to property destroyed or damaged in an area or region proclaimed by the Governor to be in a state of emergency.
(h) (1) When the property is fully repaired, restored, or reconstructed, the assessor shall make an additional assessment or assessments in accordance with subparagraph (A) or (B) upon completion of the repair, restoration, or reconstruction:
(A) If the completion of the repair, restoration, or reconstruction occurs on or after January 1, but on or before May 31, then there shall be two additional assessments. The first additional assessment shall be the difference between the new taxable value as of the date of completion and the taxable value on the current roll. The second additional assessment shall be the difference between the new taxable value as of the date of completion and the taxable value to be enrolled on the roll being prepared.
(B) If the completion of the repair, restoration, or reconstruction occurs on or after June 1, but before the succeeding January 1, then the additional assessment shall be the difference between the new taxable value as of the date of completion and the taxable value on the current roll.
(2) On the lien date following completion of the repair, restoration, or reconstruction, the assessor shall enroll the new taxable value of the property as of that lien date.
(3) For purposes of this subdivision, “new taxable value” shall mean the lesser of the property’s (A) full cash value, or (B) factored base year value or its factored base year value as adjusted pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 70.
(i) The assessor may apply Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 75) of Part 0.5 in implementing this section, to the extent that chapter is consistent with this section.
(j) This section applies to all counties, whether operating under a charter or under the general laws of this state.
(k) Any ordinance in effect pursuant to former Section 155.1, 155.13, or 155.14 shall remain in effect according to its terms as if that ordinance was adopted pursuant to this section, subject to the limitations of subdivision (b).
(l) When the assessor does not have the general authority pursuant to subdivision (a) to initiate reassessments, if no application is made and the assessor determines that within the preceding 12 months a property has suffered damage caused by misfortune or calamity, that may qualify the property owner for relief under an ordinance adopted under this section, the assessor, with the approval of the board of supervisors, may reassess the particular property for which approval was granted as provided in subdivision (b) and notify the last known owner of the property of the reassessment.
(m) The amendments made to this section by the act adding this subdivision shall apply retroactively to the County of Los Angeles with respect to property located in the Porter Ranch neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles that was affected by the methane gas leak in that area in 2015 and 2016. Notwithstanding any other law, in the case of these properties, the application for reassessment may be filed within 12 months of the enactment of this subdivision or within the time specified in the ordinance, whichever is later. This subdivision does not alter any existing law regarding claims or defenses related to diminution of property values. The enactment of this subdivision does not in itself establish a presumption that property values have declined or that any property is in any way “damaged or destroyed” or otherwise “contaminated” for purposes of a civil action related to the methane gas leak that occurred in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of the City of Los Angeles in 2015 and 2016.

SEC. 2.

 The Legislature finds and declares that a special law is necessary and that a general law cannot be made applicable within the meaning of Section 16 of Article IV of the California Constitution because of the unique circumstances related to the methane gas leak that occurred in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of the City of Los Angeles in 2015 and 2016.

SEC. 3.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In order to as soon as possible provide necessary relief to the residents of the Porter Ranch neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles that were affected by the methane gas leak that occurred there in 2015 and 2016, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.