Documentary Transfer Tax (Real Property Transfer Tax)

For all sales or transfers of real property within Santa Monica, County and City Documentary Transfer Taxes are applied. Taxes (both City and County portions) are typically collected by the Los Angeles County Recorder's Office

Description and Rates

PRIOR TO MARCH 1, 2021

The County Documentary Transfer Tax is calculated at $.55 per $500 of sales value. In addition, prior to March 1, 2021, the City of Santa Monica's Documentary Transfer Tax is $3.00 per $1,000 valuation.

Example of a property transfer valued at $5 million:

County $5,500
City of Santa Monica $15,000
Total $20,500

MARCH 1, 2021 AND AFTER

Per Measure SM, beginning March 1, 2021, the City Documentary Transfer Tax will remain unchanged at $3.00 per $1,000 value for sales and transfers under $5 million (First Tier Tax Rate). For sales and transfers involving properties valued at $5 million or more, the City's new Documentary Transfer Tax will be $6.00 per $1,000  of the  consideration or property value (Second Tier Tax Rate).

The County Documentary Tax will remain unchanged at $.55 per $500 value for all transactions

Example for a property transfer valued at $5 million (after March 1, 2021):

County $5,500
City of Santa Monica $30,000
Total $35,000

Payment information

Los Angeles County collects the City's portion and its own portion (Los Angeles County rate is $1.10 per $1,000).  

Exemptions

This Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder's Office notice provides information about tax exemptions, per State law. In addition, per S.M.M.C. section 6.96.51, transfers of property to certain affordable housing developments by non-profit corporations and community land trusts (Affordable Housing Transfers) may be exempt from the Second Tier Tax.

Qualifying Affordable Housing Transfers are encouraged to seek a certification from the Director of Finance before completing a transfer subject to S.M.M.C. section 6.96.51.  Alternatively, qualified Affordable Housing Transfers may apply for a refund of any Second Tier Tax paid within 120 days of the transfer.  Approved Affordable Housing Transfers will still be subject to the First Tier Tax Rate and County taxes.

To apply for an exemption or refund, click here.

Further information regarding Measure SM can be found here.

Reference

Documentary Transfer Tax (also referred to as Real Property Transfer Tax) Municipal Code


Please contact the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder's Office with questions regarding the County tax.

For questions regarding the City  tax, please contact us at Finance.Mailbox@smgov.net


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