Facts: A mother and son held title to real estate as joint tenants. When the mother died, the son became the sole owner. The son created a joint tenancy in the property with a sibling. Later, the sibling severed the joint tenancy vesting by deeding the real estate to themselves as a tenant in common with the first sibling. The county tax assessor determined a change in ownership occurred and sent the sibling a tax bill.
Claim: The sibling sought a tax refund, claiming a change in ownership triggering reassessment did not occur since a change in the way a title is held is not a change in ownership.
Counterclaim: The assessor sought to uphold the reassessment, claiming a change in ownership occurred since the family joint tenancy, which did not trigger reassessment, was severed when the tenancy in common was created, which did trigger reassessment.
Holding: A California Court of Appeals held the sibling was not entitled to a tax refund as the transfer triggered reassessment since a change in ownership occurred when the tenancy in common was created. [Benson v. Marin County Assessment Appeals Board (2013) __ CA 1st__]