Poway Unified School District’s Property Tax Information

  Glossary of Terms

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Tax or Taxes
Tax Base
Tax Allocation Bond
Tax-exempt Bond
Tax Rate
Tax Rate Area (TRA)
Tax Rate Limit
Tax Roll
Technical Default
Term Bond
Treasurer/Tax Collector
Variable Rate Bond
Water Standby Charge

Tax or Taxes - Compulsory charges levied by a governmental unit for the purpose of raising revenue. Taxes should be distinguished from special assessments, which are levied according to the actual benefits derived, and from fees, which must bear a reasonable relation to the costs of administration or regulation, and are imposed under a government's police power. Tax revenues are used to pay for services or improvements provided for the general public benefit.

Tax Base - The total resource of the community that is legally available for taxation.

Tax Allocation Bond - Bonds issued in conjunction with a redevelopment project. The taxes pledged to their repayment come from the increase of assessed value over and above a pre-established base. The redevelopment creates this added value, known as the tax increment.

Tax-exempt Bond - Bonds exempt from federal income, state income, or state tax and local personal property taxes. This tax exemption results from the theory of reciprocal immunity: States do not tax instruments of the federal government and the federal government does not tax interest of securities of state and local governments.

Tax Rate - The county levies an ad valorem property tax at a rate equal to 1% of the full cash value. In addition, the rate will include an amount equal to the amount needed to make annual payments for the interest and principal on general obligation bonds or other indebtedness approved by the voters prior to July 1, 1978.

Tax Rate Area (TRA) – Properties are subject to taxation by a number of taxing agencies, such as the county, cities school districts and various special districts. The Auditor-Controller groups properties into Tax Rate Areas. The TRAs are numbered and appear on both secured and unsecured tax bills. The Board of Supervisors sets the tax rates that are calculated in accordance with Article 13(a) of the Constitution of the State of California.

Tax Rate Limit - The maximum rate or mileage of tax which a local government may levy. This limit may apply to taxes raised for a particular purpose or for all purposes; to a single government, or class of governments; or to all governments operating in a particular area.

Tax Roll - The official list showing the amount of taxes levied against each parcel of property, prepared and authenticated in proper form to warrant the collecting officers to proceed with administering the tax.

Technical Default - Failure by the issuer to meet the requirements of a bond covenant. These defaults do not necessarily result in losses to the bond holder. The default may be cured by simple changes of policy or actions by the issuer.

Term Bond - A large block of bonds of long maturity. They may be part of a serial Bond issue; there may be more than one term bond in an issue or a single maturity. Some are subject to a sinking fund redemption.

Treasurer/Tax Collector - The Treasurer/Tax Collector is one of the three major governmental agencies that oversees property taxation in California. The Treasurer/Tax Collector bills and collects all secured, supplemental, and unsecured property taxes levied by the taxing governmental agencies and disburses the funds accordingly.

Trustee - A bank designated as the custodian of funds and official representative of bondholders. Trustees are appointed to insure compliance with the trust indenture and represents bondholders to enforce their contract with the issuer.

Underwrite - An agreement to purchase an issuer's unsold securities at a set price, thereby guaranteeing the issuer proceeds and a fixed borrowing cost.

Variable Rate Bond - A bond whose yield is not fixed but is adjusted periodically according to a prescribed formula.

Water Standby Charge - This is a charge levied on all parcels within a specific improvement district to which water services may be made available. The amount of the standby charge which is to be levied on each parcel of land is based upon and will not exceed the reasonable cost of the proportional special benefit conferred upon that parcel. This charge typically applies to undeveloped parcels that have access to water service, but has yet to use that water service.