926 North Ardmore Avenue, LLC v. County of Los AngelesAnnotate this Case
The County of Los Angeles can impose a documentary transfer tax on a written instrument that transfers beneficial ownership of real property from one person to two others if the document reflects an actual transfer of legal beneficial ownership made for consideration.
This action arose from a series of transactions among trusts maintained for the benefit of Averbook family members. At issue on appeal was the transfer of a particular building. In 2011, the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder demanded payment of the county’s documentary transfer tax, explaining that the transfer tax was due because the Building had undergone a change in ownership. Plaintiff filed this refund action, arguing that no tax was due. The trial court denied the claim. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, Plaintiff’s refund claim was properly rejected because transfer of a beneficial interest in the Building was a sale, accompanied by consideration and effected by a document of transfer.