Frequently Asked Questions

About Document Recording

 About Documentary Transfer Tax (DTT)

About Marriage Licenses

Document Recording

Any document authorized or required by law to be recorded, such as Grant Deed, Deed of Trust, Mechanic's Lien.
Refer to the Fee Schedule for information about document recording fees.
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Documents are recorded the day they are received by this office provided they meet all recording requirements.
Yes. Documents are mailed back within 10 working days after recording.
Forms may be available at stationery stores and office supply stores that stock legal forms. Information and forms are also available at the Sacramento County Public Law Library, 609 - 9th Street, First Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 874-6012.
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Questions about a California state tax lien should be directed to the state agency which requested recordation of the lien.  For contact information refer to Tax Liens.
Questions about a federal tax lien should be directed to the Internal Revenue Service.  For contact information refer to Tax Liens.

Documentary Transfer Tax (DTT)

A tax imposed on each recorded document in which real property is sold.
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.

When is documentary transfer tax paid?
The tax is paid at the time of recording a document transferring real property.  Those cities opting into this tax receive half the amount collected for property in the city.

The City of Sacramento collects a separate transfer tax above this tax and, thus, does not receive any DTT revenue.

What is city transfer tax?
In lieu of collecting documentary transfer tax (DTT) pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code section 11911, a City may establish an additional real property transfer tax ("city transfer tax") which it collects separate and apart from the DTT.

In Sacramento County, only the City of Sacramento has established a City Transfer Tax (Sacramento City Code section 3.16.020) and does not receive any DTT revenue.  The tax is imposed on all transfers by deeds, or any other document, by which any interests in real property located in the City of Sacramento incorporated area are sold and/or granted, assigned, transferred, or conveyed to purchaser(s), or any other person(s), or entities.

For more information, read the City's notice or contact the Revenue Division (Enforcement & Collections).

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When is city transfer tax collected?
City Transfer Tax (in addition to DTT) is collected at the time of recording if the tax amount is identified in the  declaration on the first or lead page of the document.

Who pays documentary transfer tax?
Either the buyer or the seller upon mutual agreement.
Each document in which real property is sold must have a tax declaration on the first page of the document. For assistance, refer to instructions for completing the transfer tax declaration.
Real property is considered to be sold when a transfer of an interest is for a valuable consideration, which may involve money or anything of value.
Examples of things other than money that have value are: shares of stock in a corporation, interest in a partnership, real property or assuming the debt of another person.
The most used example is a bona fide gift. This exclusion is commonly used when adding or removing a co-signor from real property. Gift must be declared as the explanation of no tax due. Other examples include: placing real property in a trust for the benefit of the grantor (revocable trust), distribution of partnership property when the partnership is dissolving, and changing how title is held (from joint tenancy to tenants in common).

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Are there any exemptions from documentary transfer tax?
Yes. If the property is considered to have been sold there are several exemptions under the law.  These exemptions relate to specific causes of real property transfers and are infrequently used. Refer to the fact sheet on Transfer Tax Exemptions under Revenue & Taxation Code for details.  

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Are there any other requirements?
Yes. Each document transferring an interest in real property must clearly state, on its face, if the property is located in the county's unincorporated area or within a city's limits. Cities in Sacramento County are: Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Isleton, Rancho Cordova, and Sacramento.

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Contact a real estate or legal professional. Or, call our office at (916) 874-6334.

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Marriage Licenses 

How do we get a marriage license?
The couple must appear together in person at our office to purchase the marriage license. Refer to eligibility requirements for details.
To make an appointment to get your marriage license use the online appointment calendar or call (916) 874-6131 during regular business hours.
Couples meeting the eligibility requirements are issued a license on the day of their appointment.  The appointment takes approximately 20 minutes.  To save time, complete the application form online in advance.  
The marriage license is only valid for 90 days from the date issued. If not used within 90 days, a new license must be purchased.

Do we have to get married in Sacramento County?
You are not required to get married in Sacramento County, but your wedding ceremony must take place in California.
The person who performed your wedding ceremony must complete the license and return it to our office within 10 days. Once we receive the license and verify it is correct, the license is registered.  At that time you may purchase a copy of the license.
Yes. Our office has a program which allows an individual to be deputized to perform a marriage ceremony.  The person to be deputized must be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen. Refer to one-time deputy commissioner program for details.  

Confidential marriage license

  • Parties must be living together as spouses
  • Both parties must be at least 18 years old
  • No witness is required
  • License is confidential and not open to public inspection
  • Certified copies may only be issued to one of the parties to the marriage or upon court order

Regular (public) marriage license

  • Minors may obtain a license with parental consent and Superior Court approval
  • One witness is required
  • License is a matter of public record

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A non-denominational marriage license is a public marriage license offered exclusively to religious societies that do not have an ordained person who performs religious services (such as a priest, rabbi, or minister) designated to perform marriage ceremonies.