Annual Report 2011-2012


History of the State Board of Equalization (BOE) and BOE–Administered Taxes

1870      Legislature created the State Board of Equalization, consisting of the State Controller and two gubernatorial appointees, to deal with property assessment abuses among counties.

1879      State Board of Equalization established under the state Constitution to regulate county assessment practices, equalize county assessment ratios, and assess properties of interconnected railroads. Board consisted of four members elected by district and the State Controller.*

1911      Constitutional amendment provided for BOE assessment of corporation franchise taxes, bank share tax, gross receipts taxes on public service corporations (utilities), and insurance taxes.

1923      Motor Vehicle Fuel (gasoline) Tax enacted.

1929      Bank and Corporation Franchise Tax enacted. BOE would no longer assess the taxes but was designated as the administrative appellate agency.

1933      Sales Tax (retail), Motor Vehicle Transportation License Tax, and Alcoholic Beverage Tax enacted. Riley–Stewart Plan enacted assessment of designated public utility properties for local tax purposes.

1935      Use Tax enacted to provide further revenue and protect California retailers from tax–free competition from out–of–state sellers.

1937      Use Fuel Tax on diesel fuel enacted as a supplement to the gasoline tax. Private railroad car tax enacted.

1951      Administration of Itinerant Merchants Act transferred by legislation from the Public Utilities Commission to the BOE. This law imposed an annual fee on those who hauled produce across county lines.

1955      Constitutional Amendment transferred licensing and control of alcoholic beverages from the BOE to a new Alcoholic Beverage Control Department and the appellate function to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board. The BOE retained taxing functions.

1955      BOE–administered local sales and use taxes program initiated. All state cities and counties included by 1962.

1959      Cigarette Tax enacted.

1963      Subscription Television Tax enacted.

1964      Subscription Television Tax repealed by initiative.

1966      Property Tax Assessment Reform Law enacted. Mandated certification and training of appraisers, surveys of county assessors' offices, and development of property tax rules and regulations. Added an appeal procedure at the staff level to the sample property appraisal process.

1967      Legislation increased the Cigarette Tax and provided that 30 percent of the receipts be distributed to cities and counties based on local sales tax allocations.

1969      Aircraft Jet Fuel Tax enacted.

1970      State–administered transit district sales tax program enacted—Bay Area Rapid Transit District and Southern California Rapid Transit District.

1973      Motor Vehicle Transportation License Tax repealed.

1974      Waxman–Dymally Campaign Disclosure Act enacted—provided for audit of campaign statements. Terminated late in 1975 with passage of Proposition 9, Political Reform Act, in November 1974.

1975      Electrical Energy Surcharge enacted.

1976      Timber Yield Tax and Emergency Telephone Users Surcharge Law enacted.

1977      Litter Control, Recycling, and Resource Recovery Assessment Act enacted.

1978      Proposition 13 enacted imposing a property tax rate of one percent of the property's full cash value, with limited exceptions. In addition, it allows reappraisal of real property at current fair market value only when there is a change in ownership or upon completion of new construction. Proposition 8 amended Article XIIIA to allow reduction of the full cash value base of real property to reflect substantial damage, destruction, or other factors that cause the value to decline.

1979      Litter Control, Recycling, and Resources Recovery Act amended, ending the assessment and allocating funding from the state's general fund.

1982      Administration of two hazardous substances taxes assigned to the BOE by legislation. Both are imposed on persons who generate hazardous waste and dispose of it in California.

1984      The Moore Universal Telephone Service Act imposed a tax on certain intrastate telecommunications to subsidize basic telephone service for those who cannot afford it. The Public Utilities Commission determined tax rates, eligibility, and service systems while the BOE collected the tax.

1987      The Moore Universal Telephone Service Act repealed and reenacted; administration transferred to the Public Utilities Commission.

1988      Proposition 99 increased the tax on cigarettes and created a Tobacco Products Tax.

1989      Underground Storage Tank Maintenance Fee created. The Harris–Katz California Taxpayers' Bill of Rights became effective.

1990      Motor Vehicle Fuel License Tax increased five cents per gallon in August due to passage of Proposition 111 in June. Annual Hazardous Substance Tax expired December 31.

1991      New environmental related fees created: Tire Recycling; Oil Spill Response, Prevention, and Maintenance; and Oil Spill Prevention and Administration. Sales tax exemption related to certain food products repealed in July 1991, resulting in so–called "Snack Foods" tax. Also repealed were exemptions applicable to bottled water and newspapers and periodicals.

1992      California Oil Recycling Enhancement Act enacted. "Snack Tax" and tax on certain periodical subscriptions overturned by voters. Collections ended in February for San Diego County Regional Justice Facility Tax that had been found to be unconstitutional. Monterey County Public Repair and Improvement Authority tax found unconstitutional in September; collections ended September 30.

1993      Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Fee and Hazardous Spill Prevention Fee took effect. Voters approved a constitutional amendment making permanent an additional sales and use tax to fund local public safety programs. The Special Taxes Bill of Rights became effective.

1994      San Diego County Regional Justice Facility Tax and Monterey Public Repair and Improvement Authority Tax refund programs began. San Diego County sales and use tax rollback/credit program began. The Morgan Property Taxpayers' Bill of Rights became effective.

1995      Diesel Fuel Tax Law became operative July 1. Use Fuel Tax Law modified to delete diesel fuel. Propane Safety Inspection and Enforcement Surcharge took effect. Monterey County sales and use tax rollback/credit programs began. Santa Clara County Traffic Authority Tax expired March 31. New Santa Clara County Local Transportation Authority found unconstitutional prior to implementation. Hazardous Spill Prevention Fee expired at end of year.

1996      California implemented International Fuel Tax Agreement. Fresno Metropolitan Projects Authority Tax declared unconstitutional; direct refund program began. Sales and use tax rate rollbacks ended in San Diego and Monterey counties. Legislation modified method of allocating local tax on automobile leases.

1997      Fresno Metropolitan Projects Authority Tax refund program ended March 31; California Supreme Court upheld Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Fee; Santa Cruz County Library Tax and Santa Clara County Transactions and Use Tax went into effect April 1; Santa Cruz County Earthquake Recovery Bond Tax, Tulare County Transactions and Use Tax, and San Benito County General Fund Augmentation expired; propane safety inspection and enforcement surcharge transferred to Public Utilities Commission January 1; Oil Recycling Fee transferred to Integrated Waste Management Board July 1.

1998      Napa County Flood Protection Authority Tax went into effect on July 1; Solano County Public Library District Tax, Nevada County Public Library District Tax, and Town of Truckee Road Maintenance District went into effect on October 1. San Benito County Council of Governments tax expired December 31. Legislation authorized counties to levy transactions and use taxes for local library programs; extended the sunset date of the tire recycling fee; and changed local sales tax allocation methods for pooled revenues and sales of jet fuel. Proposition 10, which imposed new cigarette and tobacco products taxes, was enacted. Taxpayers' Bill of Rights II was enacted.

1999      Proposition 10 went into effect January 1. City of Placerville Public Safety Tax and Fresno County Public Library Tax went into effect April 1.

2000      The Ballast Water Management Fee went into effect January 1. Four transactions and use taxes went into effect: the City of Clovis Public Safety Transaction and Use Tax, on April 1; the Mariposa County Healthcare Authority District Tax and the City of Woodland General Revenue Transactions and Use Tax on July 1; and the Avalon Municipal Hospital and Clinic Transactions and Use Tax on October 1.

2001      On January 1, the state sales and use tax rate dropped by ¼ percent and the Natural Gas Surcharge went into effect. The Motor Vehicle Fuel License Tax was repealed effective December 31. Legislation added a number of sales and use tax exemptions for the agricultural industry.

2002      On January 1, the state sales and use tax rate increased by ¼ percent and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax went into effect. The Alameda County Transportation Authority Tax expired on March 31 and was immediately replaced by the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority Tax.

2003      The Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act of 2003 established a statewide licensing program that imposed licensing requirements on all retailers, wholesalers, and distributors of cigarette and tobacco products as well as on all manufacturers and importers of cigarettes. The Act, intended to decrease tax evasion, included provisions for new recordkeeping requirements, inspection and seizure of any untaxed cigarettes or tobacco products, and imposed civil and criminal penalties for violations.

2004      On January 1, the Ballast Water Management Fee was renamed the Marine Invasive Species Fee and extended to January 1, 2010. The Water Rights Fee went into effect January 1, requiring the BOE to assess and collect various fees from owners of water rights on behalf of the State Water Resources Control Board.

2005      The Electronic Waste Recycling Fee became effective January 1, requiring retailers to collect a fee upon the sale of certain video display devices. The fee helps pay for safe recycling of those devices.

2006      Signed into law on September 27, the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Law affected several provisions of both the Business and Professions Code and the Revenue and Taxation Code. In general, it required manufacturers and importers of tobacco products to comply with the invoicing and recordkeeping requirements applicable to cigarette and tobacco products under the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act of 2003.

2007      Streamlined property taxes administration procedures were established for assessing fractionally–owned aircraft using a centralized approach in which counties coordinate their efforts allowing taxpayers to file a single statement with one county.

2009      On April 1, the General Fund portion of the state sales and use tax rate temporarily increased by one percent.

2010      "Look–Up" Table established allowing eligible purchasers to report their estimated use tax on their California Income Tax Return for personal items bought for less than $,1000 each.

2011      Effective September 1, 2011, the State Responsibility Fire Area Prevention Fee program was established; there were 772,663 designated assessed properties.

* The Board in its present form was established by article XIII, section 9 of the Constitution of 1879. "As originally ratified, (it) provided that the board should consist of one member from each congressional district in the State, to be elected by the qualified electors of their respective districts at the general election to be held in 1879, whose term of office, after those first elected, should be four years, and that the Controller should be ex officio a member of the board."

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BOE Organization

BOE organization

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BOE Publications

Complete listing of regulations, forms, and publications

Multilingual versions of our publications and other multilingual outreach materials

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