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


The County Documentary Transfer Tax is calculated at $.55 per $500 of transfer value.

The City of Santa Monica’s Documentary Transfer Tax is $3.00 per $1,000 value for sales and transfers under $5 million (First Tier Tax Rate), and $6.00 per $1,000 value for sales and transfers of $5 million or more (Second Tier Tax Rate).

Example of a property transfer valued at $4 million:



City of Santa Monica




Example of a property transfer valued at $5 million:



City of Santa Monica





Per Measure GS, approved by Santa Monica voters on November 8, 2022, beginning March 1, 2023, a third tier was added to the City Documentary Transfer Tax. The first tier rate will remain unchanged at $3.00 per $1,000 value for sales and transfers under $5 million and the second tier rate will remain at $6.00 per $1,000 value for sales and transfers valued between $5 million and $7,999,999.99.  The new third tier rate will be $56.00 per $1,000 for sales and transfers involving properties valued at $8 million or more.

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

Example for a property transfer valued at $8 million (on or after March 1, 2023):



City of Santa Monica




Further information regarding Measure GS can be found here.

Payment information

Los Angeles County collects the City's portion and its own portion (Los Angeles County rate is $.55 per $500 transfer value).


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 and Third Tier taxes.

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 or Third 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 Affordable Housing transfer exemption or refund, click here.

Overpayment Refund Request

If an overpayment of the tax has been made, a request for refund must be made using the Overpayment Refund Request form.

Requests for a refund of overpayment of taxes must be made by the party that made the initial payment of the transfer tax. Requests must be accompanied by proof of payment.

To request an overpayment refund, click here.


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

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