What The Words Really Mean
The assessment appeals process includes its own special terminology. Understanding the meanings of the following terms will make filling out your Application form and preparing for your hearing easier.

Appeal, Application or Petition
A completed "Application For Changed Assessment" form filed with the Clerk of the Board.

A.P.N. or Parcel Number
An A.P.N. ("Assessor’s Parcel Number) is assigned to identify every parcel of real property in the County. The A.P.N. will appear on all correspondence received from the Assessor relating to that particular property parcel.

Appeal Number, Application Number or Petition Number
The number assigned to an "Application for Changed Assessment" form once it has been filed with the Clerk of the Board. This reference number will appear on all correspondence from the Clerk relating to that appeal.

Applicant or Petitioner
A taxpayer who has filed an "Application for Changed Assessment" form with the Clerk of the Board.

The person to whom property or a tax is assessed.

Assessed Value
Property value established by the County Assessor using various appraisal techniques and/or methods.

The County Officer who has the constitutional duty to assess all County property subject to taxation.

Assessment Appeal
A hearing before an Assessment Appeals Board or Hearing Officer where a taxpayer can protest the amount of the assessed value of his property.

Base Year Value
The full cash value (market value) of property on the date it changed ownership, or the full cash value of newly constructed property on the date construction was completed.

Calamity Assessment
When a taxable property is damaged or destroyed due to no fault of the assessee and consequently, the property’s taxable value can be decreased by reassessment.

Commercial/Industrial or Business Property
Property used for commercial purposes, i.e., the buying or selling of goods or services, and not for dwelling purposes.

Comparable Sales _ Comps
Comparable Sales "Comps" are the most common type of evidence used in residential appeals. They represent actual sales of similar types of properties. (See Preparing for an Appeals Hearing brochure for more information.)

Economic Unit
A parcel which is not saleable in and of itself, because it is part of a larger unit and contiguous-owned parcels.

Escape Assessment
An assessment made outside the "regular" assessment period to correct for property that was undervalued or not valued at all during the regular assessment period. (See "Regular Assessment" definition below.)

A "fixture" is an item of personal property classified as realty for property tax purposes because it is physically annexed to land or buildings used for a business or profession.

All buildings, structures, fixtures and fences on or affixed to the land.

Lien Date
12:01 a.m. on January 1 preceding the fiscal year for which taxes are collected. Also, the time when taxes for any fiscal year become a lien on property.

Market Value or Taxable Market Value
Is the taxable value of your property. At time of purchase it is usually your sales price. However, if your property was obtained as the result of a foreclosure, REO, auction, probate, etc. it may not be the taxable market value enrolled by the Assessor.

Penalty Assessment
Assessment imposed for failure to file an annual property statement for personal property or failure to file a change of ownership statement reflecting a change in ownership of real property or a mobilehome. This assessment is in addition to your normal property tax assessment.

Person Affected
One who owns an interest in property which is the subject of an assessment appeal proceeding.

Personal Property
All tangible property except real property (real estate).

Petition, Appeal or Application
See Appeal.

Petition Number, Appeal Number or "Application Number
See Appeal Number.

Petitioner or Applicant
See Applicant.

Real Property
The possession of, claim to, ownership of, or right to the possession of land; all mines, minerals and quarries in the land; and improvements to land.

Regular Assessment
An assessment issued during the "regular" assessment period. (See below.)

Regular Assessment Period
The regular assessment period is from January 1 through July 1.

Residential Property
Property in which persons live or dwell and which is not used for commercial purposes.

Secured Property
Property for which property taxes are adequately secured by a lien on real property.

Supplemental Assessment
Assessment for events such as changes in ownership and completed new construction, which occur on or after the January 1 lien date. These types of events cause an Adjusted Base Value. The event has its own tax bill, and becomes a lien on real property as of the date of the reassessable event.

Unsecured Property
Property for which the taxes are not secured by a lien against real property. Consists largely of business property owned by tenants.

Other Brochures Available from the Clerk of the Board:
General Information
Should I File An Assessment Appeal?" and "What Happens to my Property Values as the Economy Recovers?
How to Complete an Application for Changed Assessment Form
Preparing for an Appeals Hearing

If you need additional information about the appeals process, you may call the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board at (714) 834-2331.

Visit our Web site: ocgov.com

Prepared By
Clerk of the Board of Supervisors

The Mission of the Clerk of the Board is..... "To provide the County and its citizens easy access to information and records and to facilitate the process for open mutual participation in the decision and policy making of Orange County Government"

September 2008