Transfer tax is a transaction fee imposed on the transfer of land or real property from one person (or entity) to another. 

The transfer tax rate is variable, depending on the purchase price OR the fair market value, as shown in the chart below.

If entire value or consideration is ... Tax rate for entire value or consideration is ...
More than $100 but less than or equal to $250,000 $2.50 for each $500 or portion thereof
More than $250,000 but less than $1,000,000 $3.40 for each $500 or portion thereof
$1,000,000 or more but less than $5,000,000 $3.75 for each $500 or portion thereof
$5,000,000 or more but less than $10,000,000 $10.00 for each $500 or portion thereof
$10,000,000 or more $12.50 for each $500 or portion thereof

Additionally, leaseholds with a term of 35 years or more are subject to transfer tax.  The authority to collect transfer taxes and list of documentary transfer tax exemptions are codified in Article 12C of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code.

Exemptions will only be made if the recording party falls under one of the documentary transfer tax exemptions. If a transfer tax exemption is claimed,  written documentation proving the exemption must be submitted at the time of recording, otherwise transfer taxes are due.   Written documentation includes, but is not limited to, copies of trust and formation documents of legal entity (i.e. LLC operating agreement, Corporate By Laws/Minutes/Register, partnership agreement.)

A Transfer Tax Affidavit must accompany all documents submitted for recordation in which transfer tax is due, or an exemption is claimed.

Do These Common Types of Transfers Cause a Transfer Tax?

  1. Between a married couple? No
  2. Between domestic partners? No
  3. Gifts? No
  4. Inheritance? No
  5. Add or remove co-signor or co-owner for refinancing purposes? Yes
  6. Between parent(s) and child(ren)? Yes
  7. Individual(s) to/from his/her own trust? No
  8. Individual(s) to his/her own Limited Liability Company or Limited Partnership or Corporation? No

It is required when submitting a Deed (all types), a Memorandum of Lease, a Grant of Easement, an Assignment of a Lease, an Assignment of a Sublease, or an Unrecorded Legal Entity Transaction, even if no transfer tax is due.

The purpose of this form is to explain the nature of the transaction and to determine if the transfer is taxable. Transfer tax is based on the purchase price if it is a purchase. Otherwise, it is based on the fair market value of the property being transferred. Additionally, transfers of leaseholds with a term of 35 years or more are subject to transfer tax.

Copies of trust and formation documents of legal entity (i.e. LLC operating agreement, Corporate By Laws/Minutes/Register, partnership agreement) to prove the claimed transfer tax exemption are always required. Please note that exemptions from reassessment and exemptions from transfer tax may differ.

Yes, there is transfer tax because there is a change of proportional ownership when an individual is added to title. Transfer tax will be collected based on the fair market value of the property being transferred at the time of recording the deed. However, if you deem that it is a gift, then there is no transfer tax. Please see the Transfer Tax Affidavit in the forms section for more information regarding Federal Gift Tax. On the Preliminary Change of Ownership form, be sure to mark the gift box in part 2. In addition, on the Transfer Tax Affidavit, mark the YES box in number 4 and completely fill out and sign the Transfer Tax Affidavit form.

Please note that our staff may not give you financial advice. Questions regarding gift tax should be directed to the Internal Revenue Service or your financial advisor. The Assessor-Recorder transmits deeds and tax affidavits for all claimed gift exemptions to the Internal Revenue Service on a quarterly basis.

Yes, there is transfer tax because there is a change of proportional ownership when an individual is added to title. When you say you want to add your child to the title deed of your house, you are transferring a portion of what you own to him. Transfer tax will be collected based upon purchase price. If it is not a purchase, then it is based on the fair market value of the property being transferred at the time of recording the deed.

For example, you originally own the property 100% and you transfer 50% to your child. Let’s say the fair market value of the property being transferred is $600,050. 50% of $600,050 would be $300,025. Please note that it is necessary to round it up to the next $500, which would be $300,500, and the transfer tax would be $2,043.40.

However, if you deem that it is a gift, then there is no transfer tax. Please see the Transfer Tax Affidavit in the forms section for more information regarding Federal Gift Tax. On the Preliminary Change of Ownership form, be sure to mark the gift box in part 2. In addition, on the Transfer Tax Affidavit, mark the YES box in number 4 and completely fill out and sign the Transfer Tax Affidavit form.

Please note that our staff may not give you financial advice. Questions regarding gift tax should be directed to the Internal Revenue Service or your financial advisor. The Assessor-Recorder transmits deeds and tax affidavits for all claimed gift exemptions to the Internal Revenue Service on a quarterly basis.

No, as long as you fill out the Preliminary Change of Ownership form and Transfer Tax Affidavit indicating that it is a transfer between a married couple or domestic partners, which is exempt from transfer tax.

No, there is no transfer tax. Please see the Transfer Tax Affidavit in the forms section for more information regarding Federal Gift Tax. On the Preliminary Change of Ownership form, be sure to mark the gift box in part 2. In addition, on the Transfer Tax Affidavit, mark the YES box in number 4 and completely fill out and sign the Transfer Tax Affidavit form.

Please note that our staff may not give you financial advice. Questions regarding gift tax should be directed to the Internal Revenue Service or your financial advisor. The Assessor-Recorder transmits deeds and tax affidavits for all claimed gift exemptions to the Internal Revenue Service on a quarterly basis.

No, there is no transfer tax. Be sure you fill out the Preliminary Change of Ownership form and Transfer Tax Affidavit indicating that it is an inheritance and provide the date of death.

No, there is no transfer tax. Be sure you fill out the Preliminary Change of Ownership form and Transfer Tax Affidavit indicating that the transfer is from the individual to his/her own trust or from the person’s trust to himself/herself.

If the name of the individual differs from the name of the trust, a copy of the trust to prove the claimed transfer tax exemption is required. For example, if John Doe and Jane Doe are the grantors (people who transfer to another an interest in land or real property), and the ABC Trust is the grantee (the party who receives an interest in land or real property), then a copy of the trust is required to prove that owners of the trust are John Doe and Jane Doe.

No, there is no transfer tax. Copies of trust and formation documents of legal entity (i.e. LLC operating agreement, Corporate By Laws/Minutes/Register, partnership agreement) to prove the claimed transfer tax exemption are always required.
Yes. 100%, because the proportional interests will not remain the same after the completion of the transfer, and therefore the parties do not qualify for ANY exemption.