Terms You Should Know

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TAXABLE VALUE: The value upon which your taxes are calculated. This is normally the base year value of the property established in accordance with Proposition 13 plus the annual inflation factor, or current market value, whichever is lower.

BASE YEAR: The base year value for property in California is 1975 or the year in which property has transferred or been newly constructed. The Assessor determines the full cash value of property on its base year date. This base year value will be factored by an inflationary factor not to exceed 2 percent each year until the property is transferred at which time a new base year is established. A new base year is also established for new construction.

FULL CASH VALUE: Full Cash Value or Fair Market Value means the amount of cash or its equivalent which property would bring if exposed for sale in the open market under conditions of which neither buyer nor seller take advantage of the other.

ASSESSMENT ROLL: The official list of all assessable property in the County (The Tax Roll.)

LIEN DATE: The "moment" of valuation for all property. The assessed value of the property as of 12:01 a.m. on January 1 governs the tax status for the fiscal year beginning the following July 1.

REAL PROPERTY: Land and improvements

IMPROVEMENTS: All buildings, structures, fixtures, pools, fences, etc., secured to the land, including taxable mobile homes and taxable trees and vines.

PERSONAL PROPERTY: All other property subject to the general property tax but not considered land or improvements (such as boats, aircraft and business personal property).

SECURED PROPERTY: Property on which the property taxes are a lien against real estate.

UNSECURED PROPERTY: Property on which the property taxes are not a lien against real estate (office furniture, machinery, equipment, boats, airplanes, etc.) NOTE: Business inventory is exempt from taxation.

SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS: Direct charges against property which are included in the total amount of your taxes but are not determined by the Assessor. Sewer and school bonds are examples of special assessments.