Homeowner Resources

Documentary Transfer Tax


Whenever a property exceeding $100 in value is sold in San Mateo County, a transfer tax is levied at the rate of 55 cents per $500 or fraction of $500 of value. That number equates to $1.10 for every thousand dollars of value. The value of existing liens or other encumbrances which are assumed by the new owner/buyer on the property is deducted before the transfer tax is computed. If the property is located within the city limits of the City of San Mateo, an additional documentary transfer tax is levied for payment to the City of San Mateo. The City of San Mateo transfer tax is not discussed here.


The transfer tax is paid at the time the deed or other instrument is recorded with the Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder.

To estimate what the documentary transfer tax might be for a given transaction, start with the amount of the consideration that passed from the buyer to the seller, subtract the value of any liens or encumbrances, and round up the resulting dollar amount to the next $500. Divide by 1,000. Multiply the resulting figure by $1.10. The product is the approximate transfer tax.


SEC Rules, Partnerships, Foreclosures


In certain situations no transfer tax needs to be paid. These special situations include certain conveyances to make effective any order of the Securities and Exchange Commission, certain transactions involving partnerships or certain conveyances involving foreclosure. Precise details regarding these exceptions may be found in San Mateo County Ordinance 2.184 entitled Real Property Transfer Tax.


Documentary Transfer Tax (DTT) Affidavit


February 1, 2011


Please be advised that the Documentary Transfer Tax Affidavit has been revised. The new version reflects valuable feedback over the last month since its introduction in December 2010. We hope this latest version will simplify the process for everyone. If you have any printed copies, please recycle them. This version is effective immediately.


Please check back often as an on-line PDF version that can be typed and printed will be available soon.


Thank you for your input.


PDF Transfer Tax Affidavit (New Affidavit as of 02/01/11)


PDF Transfer Tax Information and Exemptions


PDF Documentary Transfer Tax (DTT) Affidavit FAQ