Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms


  • A

    • Ad Valorem - According to the value.
    • APN (Assessor Parcel Number) - A numeric system for referring to each parcel of property within the county. (Composed of map books, pages, blocks and parcels.)
      See also Parcel Number.
    • Area Code - Assessor assigned code that represents the subpolitical jurisdiction that receives the tax dollars. The first two digits represent the school district, the next two digits represent the city or town and the last two digits represent special districts.
    • Assessed Valuation - Value derived by the County Assessor by applying the assessment ratio to limited or full cash value.
    • Assessment Ratio - Percentage, based on property usage, applied by the County Assessor to limited or full cash value in determination of assessed value.
    • Assignment - Transference of interest in something to someone else.
  • B

    • Back Tax - Any outstanding tax that exists other than the current year.
    • Bidder Information Card -A registration card to be filled out by purchasers of outstanding tax liens.
    • Bonds - Long-term indebtedness approved by voters in a particular taxing district.
  • C

    • Certificate of Purchase - An instrument denoting the amount of taxes, interest and fees for which a tax lien was sold.
    • CP Assignment - The purchase of a tax lien at any time other than the original sale.
    • CP Individual - Liens that were purchased at the first offering.
    • CP Holder - Individuals or entities that invest in tax liens.
    • Comparative Amount - Listing of the previous year's taxes for comparison to the current year's taxes by jurisdiction.
  • D

    • Delinquent Tax - Taxes owing other than the current year.
  • E

    • East Valley Institute of Technology - The East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) is a public school district providing specialized vocational/technological training to high school students from 10 districts throughout the East Valley.
    • Exemption - Property tax exemptions specified IX§ 2, Constitution of Arizona for widow, widowers, and permanently disabled.

  • F

    • Full Cash Valuation - Full cash value is synonymous with market value derived annually by the County Assessor using standard appraisal methods.

  • L

    • Lien-holder - Typically referring to individuals or entities investing in tax lien purchases.
    • Limited Valuation - This value is formula driven and was established by the legislature to provide for a mean-based operating and maintenance budget for taxing jurisdictions. Increases to this value are based on statutory formulas.

  • O

    • Overrides - Amounts levied pursuant to an approval by voters in a particular taxing district to exceed budget or tax limitations.

  • P

    • Parcel Number - is an identifier of an area of land, of any size, that is capable of being conveyed by a single legal description in one ownership.
      See also APN
    • Personal Property - Includes property of every kind, both tangible and intangible, not included in the term "real estate".
    • Primary Tax Rate - Rate per $100 of assessed value used to generate primary taxes.
    • Primary Taxes - Ad valorem taxes calculated on limited assessed value for the maintenance and operation of State, County, Cities, School Districts and Community College District.

  • R

    • Residential Ad Valorem Limit - The limit of the tax, based on the value of residential property. The Arizona State Constitution Article 9 subsection 18 establishes a limitation on the amount of property taxes that can be levied by any taxing authority against a residential property for the purpose of operations and maintenance.
    • Resolutions - Action on a parcel that will change or alter the tax in some way.

  • S

    • Secondary Tax Rate - Rate per $100 assessed value used to generate secondary taxes.
    • Secondary Taxes - Ad valorem taxes calculated on full cash assessed value to pay redemption charges on any bonded indebtedness, amounts levied by voter overrides and assessments levied by Special Districts.
    • Special Districts - Limited purpose districts such as Flood Control, fire, irrigation, etc.
    • State Aid to Education - Reduction (tax credit) for homeowners (owner-occupied) in primary property tax levied by school districts in your area. This amount will be reimbursed to School Districts from the State through the County Treasurer.
    • Sub tax - Purchase of current delinquent year by previous year's lienholder.

  • W

    • West-MEC - A public school district. In 1990, the Arizona legislature approved by statute that public school districts could join together through a public vote to combine efforts to offer Career and Technical Education programs. In November 2002, eight west-side district governing boards placed the formation of West-MEC on the ballots of their constituents. All eight west-side communities voted to form the Western Maricopa Education Center.

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Seniors needing additional property tax relief and Arizonans not required to file individual income taxes may be able to take advantage of state tax credits


Individual income tax filing season in the state provides potential benefits for Arizonans whose income level is below minimum threshold limits and not required to file an individual income tax return or are seniors who own a residence.

Both may still be eligible for state tax benefits by submitting two forms available through the Arizona Department of Revenue - Form 140ET Credit for Increased Excise Taxes or Form 140PTC Property Tax Refund Claim.

  • Form 140PTC is used by qualified individuals to claim a refundable income tax credit for taxes paid on property located in Arizona that is either owned by or rented by the taxpayer. Form 140PTC provides a tax credit of up to $502. To claim a property tax credit, you must file your claim or extension request by April 15, 2020. You cannot claim this credit on an amended return if you file it after the due date.
  • Form 140ET is used by individuals not required to file an Arizona individual income tax return but qualify to claim the refundable excise tax credit. The maximum credit available for the increased excise tax (Form 140ET) is $100 per household. An excise tax is a tax levied on certain goods by the state or federal government such as fuel, cigarettes, cellphones and alcoholic beverages.

Individuals not filing an income tax return and claiming both credits need only to complete Form 140PTC. However, individuals not submitting a tax return and not claiming the property tax credit must complete Form 140ET to claim the credit for increased excise taxes.

To determine eligibility for either Form 140PTC or Form 140ET, see form instructions at www.azdor.gov/Forms/Individual.

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CP Expirations Legal Changes


There has been a change in CP Liens that is applicable to lienholders. Beginning September, 2019, SB1236 will include a provision that modifies the language in §A.R.S. 42-18127 Section A.

The original certificate of purchase, in addition to all subsequent taxes (sub taxes) will expire if an action to foreclose has not commenced within ten years after the last day of the month in which the original certificate was acquired.

Pursuant to this legislation, tax liens eligible for expiration will include the original certificate and all related sub taxes in the expiration process. Those liens with deadlines that are already in effect will not be affected however it will affect all future sub taxing liens so that the deadline will expire within a ten year period after the last day of the month that it was acquired and time limits cannot be extended to the original purchase.

You should consult your attorney for further advice.

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Beware of Alternate Tax Payment Websites!


Please be aware of other property tax payment websites which could mislead you to believe they are the Maricopa County Treasurer’s website. Although you can make payments through them, they are not our official agent and will charge you processing fees. We have no control over payments made through them.

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Parcel number 123-45-678 9, can be entered as 123 45 678

Parcel number 123-45-678a 9, can be entered as 123 45 678 a

For Mobile Home/Business Personal Property - Use the personal property roll number with a prefix of 9 as the parcel number.
Example: Roll number 60-00-001 8 can be entered as 960 00 001.

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