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What is a Tax Collector, Treasurer, and Assessor in a County?

Have you ever wondered what is a tax collector and what is the difference between Tax Collector, Treasurer, and Assessor in a county? We answer these questions in this post.

Many people have doubts when it comes to the collection of taxes and how it works. Yet, tax collection is how local governments can guarantee public revenues that make it possible to finance investments in human capital.

In countries like the U.S.merica, this is done by county departments through a county tax collector like the Tax Collector, Treasurer, and Assessor.

If you want to understand how tax collection works, the difference between these positions, and how you can reach the right tax collector in your county in case of any tax-related problem, keep reading this article.

Tax Collector, Treasurer, and Assessor: What Are They?

We’ve gathered all the information on what each of these professionals does and what kind of service you can reach them for to keep your fiscal obligations in order. Check out!

What is a Tax Collector?

A Tax Collector works for the county government and is responsible for collecting and billing secured, unsecured, supplemental, and transient occupancy tax.

They are also in charge of many other particular assessments for special districts, the county, community colleges, and schools.

In countries like the U.S., the Tax Collector is elected by the electors of the county within each state, serving for a four-year term.

What is a Tax Collector, Treasurer, and Assessor in a County?

They are an agent for public funding and revenue for many local government agencies and states.

The Tax Collector is also responsible for investing these funds and revenues and distributing them late to various local agencies, taxing authorities, and the state.

They operate as a “free officer,” meaning that the Tax Collector earns a fee or commission for the services rendered.

These are outlined in the Statutes of the State and established by the State Legislature where they serve.

After the annual budget is determined, the State’s Department of Revenue must approve it. Then, the budget includes any of the amendments made in that fiscal year term.

At the end of every fiscal year term, as they are paid, the excess fees are at the same time remitted to every government agency.

The volume of tax bills varies according to each location. For example, at County Riverside in California, in the United States of America, the property tax bills represent nearly $4.4 billion mailed and processed through its office every year term.

These include property tax, being secured, unsecured, delinquent, and supplemental.

The Tax Collector’s office is responsible for assisting and providing information on the site and by phone to mortgage professionals, businesses, and individual taxpayers.

Following state law and approval of the County Board of Supervisors, the Tax Sale Operations division is responsible for securing tax sales at the public auction.

The Tax Enforcement division assists them and is also in charge of collecting delinquent unsecured property taxes.

What is a Treasurer?

The Treasurer-Tax Collector is responsible for collecting all property tax bills in the county of their respective state.

They are also the elected officials in charge of the Administration of the County Investment Pool.

In the United States, the treasurer is a state-mandated function governed by the state’s Government Code. For example, The California Government Code governs the Riverside County Treasurer.

Treasurer’s Pooled Investment Fund (TPIF) is responsible for paying the budgeted expenses of special districts, discretionary depositors, community colleges, and schools from the state.

The treasury receives the tax money and then invests and safeguards all the public funds into the investment fund.

The treasurer serves as a financial advisor to the county for debt issuance, investment of certain bond proceeds, and community college and school districts’ proceeds.

The Treasurer’s Pooled Investment Fund investments must follow the Treasurer’s Statement of Investment Policy and proceed according to state law.

TPIF has as its goal to safeguard investment principal and maintain sufficient liquidity within the portfolio in order to meet cash flow requirements. TPIF is managed to reach a reasonable rate of return on the portfolio in order to achieve these goals.

What is an Assessor?

The Assessor is also an elected official. They are responsible for assessing all property within the county of each respective state.

The valuation of the property (or assessment of property) is one of the elements used to establish the amount of taxes owed.

The property taxes are calculated according to the property’s value being taxed. Therefore, the Assessor’s responsibility is to locate, describe, and determine the value of the properties that are subject to taxation.

It is part of their responsibility to determine the value of all taxable property in their county for official property tax purposes, which is required by law.

They also are in charge of completing a change for property assessment forms, like the Change of Ownership Statement.

Valuation Notices for Property Owners

The Assessor provides valuation notices to property owners and is in charge of the information published on assessment reports.

They can update your mailing address for property tax bills and valuation notices, apply for many different exemptions and provide an understanding of taxable value upon consultation for taxpayers.

The Assessor can also find an assessor parcel number (APN). However, they are not responsible for collecting property taxes or establishing tax rates.

It is possible to contact the Assessor of each county by phone or by visiting their official website, which can vary according to each state in their country.

They can also help people who think their property may have been assessed a too high of a value to get information about programs that can help lower taxes, like the Homeowner’s exemption available in the United States of America.

The Assessor can find properties through property descriptions like building permits, deeds, etc. In addition, they are responsible for maintaining assessment maps that show each parcel of land.

Property Assessments

The Assessor also has an assessment roll that reveals the ownership of that property and describes its improvements.

If a property is reappraised because of a change of ownership, the appraiser searches for comparable sales of similar properties.

If the property produces income, they will then make an income approach. The appraiser may use historical cost (the owner’s construction cost) if the property is unique.

They can also use replacement costs (based on industry-wide studies). Once they finalize the evaluation, the property owner gets a notification about the new value.

The owner can then discuss the value with the Assessor, and if they disagree, they may apply for a changed assessment. This process happens through the local assessment appeals board.

Blue Book

Each year, personal property and equipment used in a trade or business are assessed based on “blue book” data gathered from market sales.

Boats and aircraft are considered personal property items. Therefore, the equipment used in a trade or business has its value determined by using a formula based on the original cost and age of the equipment.

Tax Collector vs. Tax Assessor: The Main Differences

The Tax Collector can help with problems related to payments or receipt of fees and bills. They are in charge of collecting, billing, and enforcing property taxes based on that value.

On the other hand, the Tax Assessor can help file an appeal and value a house. That is because they are responsible for the value assessed to a property.

Treasurer vs. Tax Collector: The Main Differences

When it comes to the differences between a Tax Collector and a Treasurer, we can say a Treasurer works as the chief investment officer with the fiduciary responsibility for all funds in the county treasury.

These professionals are in charge of receiving, investing and safeguarding all public capital into the Treasurer’s Pooled Investment Fund (TPIF).

Later, on behalf of the county, these funds are used to pay for the budgeted expenses of special districts, discretionary depositors, and school and community college districts.

A Tax Collector also provides funds for the county, special districts, and school and community colleges. But they do it through billing and collecting secured, unsecured, transient occupancy tax, supplemental, and various other unique assessments.


It may seem challenging to understand well how each tax works. However, it is essential to be aware of your tax-related obligations and how to resort to the right professional when you need to fulfill your obligations.

As you could see in this article, you can do this by looking for the official offices of your state and learning who are responsible for collecting taxes in your county.

You can find this information on official websites, addresses, and telephone numbers provided in public service media.

Now that you know what Tax Collector, Treasurer, and Assessor in a county are and the main differences between them, you can easily find the right professional to attend to your tax-obligations needs and stay on top of your tax-paying or questions.

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