Audit Division

About Real Estate Transfer Tax [RETT]

Both the City and the County collect a RealEstate Transfer Tax [RETT] when a property is sold.  The rate in Oakland is $15 per $1000 of the purchase price.  So the sale of a million dollar property would require a payment of $15,000 to the City.

It is customary, in Oakland, for the seller to pay the County transfer tax at $1.10 per $1000 of the purchase price and the seller and buyer to split, 50/50, the City transfer tax at $15 per $1000 of the purchase price.

There are certain exemptions to the RETT.  Home ownership transfers between parents and children and between grandparents and grandchildren are exempted from the tax

About the Business Tax Liens and Audits

The Business Tax is governed by Oakland Municipal Code, Chapter 5.04, which defines how to establish and apply assessments due to not filing all required declarations for all respective tax years. The amount of any business tax and penalty imposed is considered a debt to the City, and any person carrying on any business without first having procured a business tax certificate from the City shall be liable to legal action for the amount of tax and penalties imposed.  That is why it is important to file on-time and avoid penalties.

There are possible exemptions for businesses earning less than a minimum which is currently around $3000. Check with the Business Tax Office first to verify any current possible exemptions.

The amount of tax, any penalty and interest imposed is assessed against the business property on which the tax is imposed. If the taxes are not paid when due, such tax, penalty and interest will become an assessment against that business property and shall become a lien on the property, which lien shall continue until the full amount is paid. If an audit results in additional tax liabilities due, the audit findings become final at the end of the twenty (20) day period unless a petition to question audit has been filed within the twenty (20) days or within any extension period that may be granted by the Director of Finance.