The Permanent Index Number
The first step in the tax search is to find the Permanent Index Number (PIN) for the property. All property tax records in most Counties follow this method of identifying properties. PIN's are listed by address in the Street Index Number books in the Treasurer’s Office or Assessors Office you will see the Street Index Number books.
These books are arranged alphabetically by street name. Within each book the addresses are arranged numerically. The street number on the building may not correspond to the address listed in the Street Index Number book.
For this reason, it is a good idea to check out the addresses of the adjacent buildings, or draw a little map of the area before doing your research so you will have a better chance of pinpointing the correct index number.
When you find your address the entry will look something like this:
Street No. Vol. A-AS- Blk-Pcl-Unit Town Name 1852 N. Talman 531 13-36-411-026-0000 West
Locating Tax Information
Now, with your PIN clutched firmly in hand, you are ready to begin your tax search. Property tax records are kept normally by County offices:
1. County Assessor’s office
2. County Treasurers office
3. County Clerk s office.
The County Assessor keeps the main records on property assessment, although some records may also kept by both the Treasurer and the Clerk.
The County Treasurer/Assessor keeps records on the amount and payment of current taxes.
The County Clerk keeps records for past years. This office also records whether back taxes are redeemed (paid) and all information regarding tax sales.
Information is kept in five main record systems:
Real Estate Collector’s Warrant Books (Warrant Books)
These books contain a yearly accounting of all County properties, their assessed value, the amount of taxes due, and whether they were paid.
Tax Judgment, Sale, and Redemption Records Book. (Judgment Books)
These books contain a yearly recording of tax delinquent properties, any sales or redemption's. And filing of objections or errors in the assessment of the property.
Scavenger Sale Books
These books contain (for any year in which there is a Scavenger Sale) an accounting of all properties eligible for Scavenger Sale and information on any bids made at the Scavenger Sale and redemption's made afterward.
Property Record Cards
The Assessor’s Office has a card for every property containing all information concerning assessment.
Current information is also kept on microfiche or Computerized Data Files.
The most up-to-date property data is contained in the Computerized Data File.
This information is available to the Assessor’s staff but not to the public on a regular basis. Computer printout of some of the data is known as the "Field Analysis Ratio Report, and is available for inspection on special request to the assessor.
The first step you will probably want to take is to find out who the current taxpayer is and whether the current rent taxes are paid.
This information will be helpful even if you are just looking for the owner of a property