California Family Code section 297, which took effect January 1, 2006, provides many of the same property-tax benefits received by married couples to domestic partners who are registered with the California Secretary of State. Domestic partners are two adults who have chosen to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring and have a common residence. A domestic partnership can be entered into by same gender couples over the age of 18 and by opposite gender couples where at least one domestic partner is over age 62. A Declaration of Domestic Partnership form can be obtained from the Secretary of State website.
Under Proposition 13, property must be reassessed when a change in ownership occurs. Certain transfers between spouses and between parents and children are excluded from reassessment. The property of a registered domestic partner can be excluded from reassessment when a registered domestic partner is added to or removed from title, whether by deed, by termination of the domestic partnership or by death, provided that the interest is conveyed to the registered domestic partner who remains on title.
Further, the surviving domestic partner is considered to be the step-parent of the domestic partner's children for purposes of claiming the parent-to-child exclusion unless the domestic partnership is terminated prior to the death or the surviving domestic partner enters into a subsequent domestic partnership or marriage with someone other than the domestic partner who was the parent of the children. To qualify for exclusion from reassessment registered domestic partners need to specify their relationship on the Preliminary Change of Ownership Report which accompanies the deed transferring the property.