Assessor's parcel number

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For a broader coverage related to this topic, see Cadastre.

An assessor's parcel number, or APN, is a number assigned to parcels of real property by the tax assessor of a particular jurisdiction for purposes of identification and record-keeping. The assigned number is unique within the particular jurisdiction, and may conform to certain formatting standards that convey basic identifying information such as the property type or location within the plat map.

In the United States, APNs are typically assigned by the local taxing authority, such as the city or county within which the property is located. Many taxing authorities will provide property tax information to the public, indexed by APN.

Alternative terms with the same meaning include:

  • Assessor's identification number (AIN)
  • Property identification number (PIN)
  • Property account number
  • Tax account number
  • Sidwell number

The term or terms used in any particular jurisdiction are as determined by the authority assigning the numbers.

APN numbers and the property boundaries that they describe have become particularly important for the oil and gas industry with recent discoveries of recoverable hydrocarbons in the Marcellus Shale and related geological formations. Because the geographic regions have no other land survey system (such as the US Public Land Survey System, parcels are the most reliable way to describe a particular area of land. This is especially important for the purpose of legally describing the area covered by an oil and gas lease.

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