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Glossary of Tax Terms

Ad Valorem
A Latin term meaning "according to worth," referring to taxes levied on the basis of value. Taxes on real estate and tangible personal property are ad valorem.

The dollar value assigned to a person's property by the Property Appraiser.  This amount, less any exemptions, is the basis of the ad valorem portion of the tax.

The actual amount of tax a person owes.  The ad valorem portion is based on the appraised value of the property, less exemptions, multiplied by the millage rate.

Millage Rate
The rate of taxes levied based on a mill (1/10 of  one cent) or one dollar per one thousand dollars of taxable value.  A 30-mill tax rate levied against a taxable value of $100,000 would generate a $3,000 tax liability.

Non-ad Valorem Tax
Assessment that is not based on millage and value; usually a flat amount of dollars per acre, housing unit, lot, etc. (e.g. Solid Waste Authority fees are based on the type of property producing the waste.)

A geographically described tract of land for which a deed exists.

Property Control Number
A 17-digit number identifying real property.

Public Service Tax
All sales of propane gas, natural gas or electricity within the unicorporated area of Palm Beach County are subject to the 10% Palm Beach County Public Service Tax.  The Clerk & Comptroller of Palm Beach County collects this tax.  Find out more here or call 561-355-4950.

Real Property
Land, buildings and improvements.

Tangible Personal Property
All goods and other articles of value known as fixtures, furniture, machinery and equipment.  For taxation purposes in Florida, inventory, vehicles and household goods are not considered tangible personal property. Find out more about Tangible Personal Property Tax.

Tax Certificate
A first-lien instrument offered for sale by the Tax Collector through competitive bid to pay delinquent taxes.  A tax certificate expires seven (7) years from the date issued.

Tax Deed Application
A legal document filed with the Tax Collector by the holder of a tax certificate to demand payment.  The tax deed may be applied for two (2) years from April 1 of the year of issuance of the tax certificate.  If the taxes are not paid by the date set for the tax deed sale, the property is sold by the Clerk of Court to the highest bidder.

Tax Lien
A lien for property taxes effective January 1 of the tax year.  Taxes are due November 1 and are payable prior to April 1 of the next year.

Taxable Property
Real property and tangible personal property.

Tax Warrant
A legal document which commands the Tax Collector to levy upon and sell personal property belonging to a taxpayer who hasn’t paid their Tangible Personal Property Tax.

TRIM Notice (Truth In Millage)
A notice issued by the Property Appraiser’s office in August of every year that states current property taxes and proposed property taxes based on the budgets of all the taxing authorities. Find out more about your tax notice.


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301 North Olive Avenue, P O Box 3715, West Palm Beach, FL 33402   |    561-355-2264