Added to the joy of owning your home is the responsibility of paying its property taxes. These taxes generate revenue to help fund projects and services in your community, including public schools, public libraries and local law enforcement. Because local governments assess property taxes, the tax rates may vary significantly among different states, counties and cities. But a common denominator in the tax-assessing process is the assignment of a tax number to identify each property tract. Depending on where you live, this number may be known by a handful of names, such as an assessor’s identification number, property index number, tax parcel ID number or property tax ID number. If you need to find a property’s ID number, your search will likely be a short one.
Finding Property Tax ID Numbers
If the ID number you need to find is for a property you own, you may already have the number in your files. Look on your last tax bill, the deed to your property, a title report (which may be in your closing documents) or perhaps even on the appraisal report of your property to locate the property ID number. If you can’t readily put your hands on any of this paperwork, or if the ID number you need to find is for a property you do not own, you have other search options.
Visit your local tax assessor’s website and search for the property by its address or, in some cases, the owner’s name. (You don’t have to be the property owner to access this public information.) For some municipalities, you may also find this information on record at your courthouse. If you’re unable to find the property ID number with these searches, call the tax assessor’s office for this information.
Property ID Number Availability Exceptions
If you hit a snag when searching for a new property tax ID number, you may be unable to find it because your assessor’s office has not yet assigned it. Processing times vary, and some government offices may set aside the task of assigning new numbers for a month or two during tax preparation season or other high-volume workload times. Another reason for a delay in obtaining a new property tax ID number occurs when the owner of two or more contiguous parcels requests a single parcel number – instead of multiple numbers for each property.
Existing property tax ID numbers may be changed from time to time because of lot line adjustments, property map page layouts and land divisions (or mergers). Even if you call your tax assessor’s office for the latest property ID number for a particular parcel of land, the staff may not have this information yet.
2018 Property Tax Law
You have the choice of claiming either itemized deductions or the standard deduction on your tax return. You’ll choose the option that results in the lower tax liability. After you add all your allowable itemized deductions, including property taxes, you’ll typically claim these deductions if that total is greater than your standard deduction. If the total is less than your standard deduction, claim the standard deduction. If you do itemize, you’ll report the property taxes you’ve paid on Schedule A (Itemized Deductions), which you’ll attach to IRS Form 1040 (U.S. Individual Income Tax Return).
Here's a heads-up: the IRS has crafted a newly designed, compact 1040 form starting with the 2019 tax season.
In 2018, the standard deductions are: $12,000 (for single and married filing separately), $18,000 (head of household) and $24,000 (married filing jointly or qualifying widow[er]). Taxpayers who are 65 and older can claim an additional $1,600 (single or head of household), an additional $1,300 (married filing jointly and either spouse is 65 or older) or an additional $2,600 (if both spouses are 65 or older). If you’re legally blind, you can claim an additional $1,600 (single or head of household), an additional $1,300 (married filing jointly and either spouse is blind) or an additional $2,600 (both spouses are blind).
For the 2018-2025 tax years, the Tax Cuts and Job Act places a $10,000 maximum on the amount of collective state, local and property taxes you’re allowed to claim. (If you’re married and file a separate tax return from your spouse, this limit falls to $5,000.)
2017 Property Tax Law
For tax years prior to 2018, the IRS did not place a cap on the amount of property taxes you’re allowed to claim. For example, for 2017, you can claim an unlimited amount of property taxes when you itemize your deductions on Schedule A.
In 2017, the standard deductions were: $6,350 (for single and married filing separately), $9,350 (head of household) and $12,700 (married filing jointly or qualifying widow[er]). Taxpayers who were 65 and older could claim an additional $1,550 (single or head of household), an additional $1,250 (married filing jointly and either spouse is 65 or older) or an additional $2,500 (if both spouses are 65 or older). If you’re legally blind, you could claim an additional $1,550 (single or head of household), an additional $1,250 (married filing jointly and either spouse is blind) or an additional $2,500 (both spouses are blind).
Items you will need
- Property address
- Tax bill
- The property tax ID number also might be located on the deed to the house and on some of the closing documents you received when you bought your house.
- If the house is for sale, the listing agent might be able to give you the property tax ID number, or it might be listed on the listing agency's website.
- Some tax authorities might use another name for the property tax ID number, such as a parcel number or assessor's number. The number of digits, patterns and if letters are used also will vary between tax collectors.
- Los Angeles County Office of the Assessor: How do I Locate My Assessor's Identification Number?
- Sacramento County Assessor: About Assessor Parcel Maps
- efile.com: Itemize Deductions or Take the Standard Deduction?
- IRS: Schedule A
- IRS: The IRS Working on a New Form 1040 for 2019 Tax Season
- efile.com: Federal Standard Tax Deductions for 2018, 2017, Other Years
- Market Watch: How the New Tax Law Affects Homeowners - It Could Be More Than You Think