Did you pay a $75 tax to clear non-Real Estate liens in 2018?

The legislature passed a new law specifying that a $75 tax must be charged to people who want to have a lien released. This law came into effect on January 1st, 2018 and some people have been charged these $75 to remove a lien, whatever the type of lien.

  • Child Support Lien
  • Car Loan Liens
  • Jet Ski Liens
  • etc.

The law is very specific and really only applies to various Real Estate liens and deeds:

  • Deeds
  • Grant Deeds
  • Trustee’s Deeds
  • Deed of Trust
  • Mechanic’s Liens
  • Maps

So in a Real Estate transaction, the seller is likely to have to pay that $75 for each Mechanic’s Lien he still has lingering on the house. A Mechanics Lien is created by a Contractor who’s owed money after having worked on a house. A contractor can attach a lien at any time and is expected to remove once the contractor gets paid in full. The title company often makes the payment out of the money you offered to purchase the property. It will also make sure the lien gets removed before transferring title to you.

The deeds are actually the title documents that prove who the owner of that property is. In the Sacramento County, the seller most often pays for these documents. So whenever you sell your property, expect to pay such a fee for the transfer to be finalized.

If you had something recorded this year (2018), other than Real Estate, and you paid a $75 fee, then please ask for your refund! It is very unlikely that the recorder contacts you on their own about this. Just don’t do it if there was such a fee while buying your new house or beautiful condo.

Please check your document if you’re not sure. The fee would be labeled something such as “Recording tax”. If you see that on your statement, you are not unlikely entitled to a refund! Don’t wait! Do it now so you can still get your refund. If you wait for too long, you’re likely going to be told that’s too late.

If you’re not too sure which fee this could be, contact your Recorder. There should be a phone number or email address or website address to enter in contact. Some or all of that information will appear on your documents.

There is a PDF form provided by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association that you can use to request a refund (click to download):

PDF iconSB2 Taxpayer Tool Refund Form Letter

The letter has to be sent to your County Recorder. If you’re not too sure who that is, please make a search and contact the office before sending anything. For the Sacramento County, the following applies:

Sacramento County Clerk/Recorder
P.O. Box 839
Sacramento, CA 95812-0839
+(916) 874-6334

And in Placer County, the following applies:

Placer County Clerk – Recorder
2954 Richardson Drive
Auburn, CA, 95603
+(530) 886-5600

Legal Reference: Article 5. Fees

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