Documentary Transfer Tax

Documentary Transfer Tax is due on all taxable conveyances in excess of $100 at a rate of $.55 per $500 or fractional portion of real property value, excluding any liens or encumbrances already of record (R&T Code 11911). A Transfer Tax Declaration must appear on each deed.

If no Documentary Transfer Tax is due, indicate this by entering “0” on the tax $ line and providing a completed Affidavit of Exemption from Documentary Transfer Tax form with a valid Revenue & Taxation exemption code on the face of the document.

Transfer Tax Estimator

About the Documentary Transfer Tax

The Documentary Transfer Tax (DTT) imposes a tax on each deed, instrument, or writing by which any lands, tenements, or any other realty sold, shall be granted, transferred, or otherwise conveyed to another person.

  • The State Revenue and Taxation Code 11902 - 11934 governs this tax.
  • The tax code directs the Recorder to rely upon the tax declaration unless he/she has reason to believe otherwise.

The signature of the declarant, the statement of how tax is computed, and the name of the city or "unincorporated" must be shown in the statement.

The Declaration must be incorporated into the text of the document and signed with the signature of the grantor.



The following are examples of some of the most common conveyances that are exempt from San Joaquin County Documentary Transfer Tax. A claimed exemption must be stated on the document, also a Exemption From Transfer Tax Form must be completed and submitted at the time of recording.  Recorder staff cannot provide legal advice on DTT Exemptions.

  1. Gift Deed - A gift of unencumbered property where the grantee does not assume any debt or obligation is exempt from tax. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11930.
  2. Confirms Title in Grantees Name - A deed given to remove a cloud on title where the grantor has no interest in the property, such as one spouse deeding to the other to remove any possible community property interest, or a deed to remove an expired option to purchase, is exempt from tax. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11911.
  3. Certain Trust Transfers - A deed that transfers the grantor's interest to or from a revocable trust, when the trust is for the benefit of the grantor, is exempt from transfer tax. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11930.
  4. Changes Manner in Which Title is Held - This only applies to conveyance where the grantors and grantees are the same and their percentage of interest does not change. A deed changing joint tenants to community property is the most common example of this exemption. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11911.
  5. Certain Court Ordered Conveyances - If a court orders that property be conveyed for no consideration the conveyance is exempt from tax. A court ordered deed to partition property between multiple owners is an example. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11911.
  6. Confirms Name Change - This applies to a change in the name of the entity holding title, not a change in the entity. A name change upon marriage or a corporate name change are examples of this exemption. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11911.
  7. Certain Leases and Assignments of Lease - A lease or assignment of lease with a term, plus any options for renewal, of less than 35 years is exempt from tax. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11911.
  8. A change in the method of holding title to the realty and in which proportional ownership interests in the realty, whether represented by stock, membership interest, partnership interest, co-tenancy interest, or otherwise remain the same immediately after the transfer. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11925.
  9. A transfer between spouses that allocates property assets under a judgment of dissolution of marriage or an agreement in contemplation of such judgment or order. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11927.
  10. Deed to a Public Entity. Any deed to a political subdivision of the United States is exempt from transfer tax. Revenue and Taxation Code Section 11922.

Q. What is transfer tax?

A. A tax collected when an interest in real property is conveyed.

Q. How much is the documentary transfer tax?

A. The tax rate is $.55 for each $500, or fractional part thereof, of the value of real property, less any loans assumed by the buyer.

Q. When is documentary transfer tax paid?

A. The tax is paid at the time of recording.

Q. Who pays the documentary transfer tax?

A. Either the buyer or the seller upon mutual agreement.

Q. How do I show the amount of tax due?

A. Each document in which real property is sold must have a tax declaration on the first page of the document pursuant to Revenue and Taxation code section 11933.