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Estate closed-am I liable for property tax?

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? California

My husband passed away in March, 2003. His estate closed in June, 2004.

At the time of his death, my husband and his partner in the ownership of a Cessna Citation jet aircraft were in the process of trying to sell that aircraft. Each of them had named his own LLC as owner of his half of the plane. My husband was the only member of his LLC.

After my husband's death I found that the fixed costs of the aircraft were more than I could reasonably manage and so I sold his interest to the broker for substantially less than half of the asking price (and quite a bit less than what the plane ultimate sold for). In October, 2003, I dissolved the LLC.

In June, 2004, shortly after the closing of my husband's estate, I was contacted by the former partner in the aircraft informing me that the county tax assessor had informed him that property taxes for the plane were due for the years 2002 and 2003. The amount was stated as 1% of the assessed value of the plane, or approximately $34,000 for the two years. He told me that my half would be about $17,000, but he was pursuing a challenge of the county's valuation of the plane. He said he would get back to me with the results of this challenge.

In February, 2005 I received a letter from the partner in which he informed me of a reduction of the assessed value of the plane, that my share of the tax would be $12,982 and that he expected a bill from the county to be forthcoming in a week or two. He also sent me a copy of the revised assessment which had the name of my husband's LLC on it but nothing has ever been mailed directly to me by the county.

In August, 2005 I received a phone call from the partner informing me that the bill from the county assessor had finally arrived. I told him that I believed that the unsecured property tax is the liability of the taxpayer which was the LLC. Since the LLC no longer exists, the estate is closed and the individual is deceased, I am not liable for the tax. Two weeks later he sent me a letter informing me that the amount due is $29,366.39. Furthermore, he informed me that he intends to pay the total amount but believes that I am responsible for half.

Prior to the closing of my husband's estate I paid all debts I was aware of, including annual state taxes on the LLC levied by the Franchise Tax Board. I also paid property taxes on a second aircraft my husband owned for which the county assessor did send me a bill. It seems to me that these taxes were owed by the estate and since the estate still existed at that time, the bills were paid. However, since there is no longer a named individual, an estate or an LLC, I believe I am not personally responsible for unsecured back property taxes.

Am I correct in my position?

Dandy Don

Senior Member
No. The responsibility belongs on whoever was the owner for the time period that the taxes were assessed for.


Junior Member
Do you mean "No, I am not correct" or "No, I am not responsible?" I did have to sign as a member of the LLC in order to sell the plane. However, that was well after January 1st. Isn't it true that the owner as of Jan. 1 of a year (in Calif.) is responsible for the property tax? That was true in the case of the second plane; though I sold it in April or May of 2003, I had to pay the property tax for the whole year. The buyer didn't have to pay any part of it. In the case of the Citation, the LLC was the owner until it was sold later in the year.
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