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Tax Terminology

Tax Terminology

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Ad Valorem Tax

Ad valorem is derived from the Latin ad valentiam, meaning according to the value. An ad valorem tax is a property tax based on the assessed value of the property, which may not be equivalent to its market value. Ad valorem tax is used for real estate, personal property and motor vehicles.

Appraised Value

Also known as “market value.” This is the value determined by the Union County Assessor’s Office before any exemptions or deferrals are applied. Appraised value is the most probable price the property would sell for in an open market between a willing seller and an able buyer.

Assessed Value

The dollar value assigned to a property for the purpose of measuring applicable taxes. Assessed value equals the appraisal or fair market value of a property less the deferred or exempt value. Assessed value is multiplied by the tax rate to calculate the amount of property taxes due.

Board of Equalization and Review

A board appointed by the County Commissioners that consists of Union County residents with a real estate or business background who are familiar with local real estate values.

Fair Market Value

The price that property would sell for on the open market between a willing seller and a financially able buyer, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having reasonable knowledge of the characteristics of the property.

Fiscal Year

A period of time used for accounting purposes and preparing financial statements. Union County’s fiscal year is July 1 to June 30.


A piece of land of any size in one ownership.

Personal Property

Property that is not permanently attached to real property and can be moved. Personal property includes, but is not limited to, manufactured homes, boats, motorhomes, jet skis, unregistered motor vehicles, trailers, airplanes, household furnishings in income producing residential rental property, etc. It is the responsibility of the owner to list personal property with the Union County Assessor’s Office in January of each year to avoid incurring a penalty for late listing.


The process of determining the value of real property for property tax purposes.


The process of determining the value of real property for property tax purpose. A reassessment is required by North Carolina State law at least every eight years. In Union County, reappraisals occur typically between 4 and 7 years as determined by the Union County Board of Commissioners or the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Tax District

A political subdivision of one or more assessment districts where a governmental unit has the authority to levy taxes.