For any property owner, it’s vital to know how to find a parcel number for land. This is the legal identifier used by the local government for the parcel.
Finding the parcel number is as simple as looking at your property tax bill. The parcel number is listed there next to your name. If you don't have the tax bill, you can check the deed or title for the parcel. Or, you can ask your country tax assessor for the number if you can’t find it.
Your parcel number is a unique identifier assigned to the parcel by your local tax assessor. It has many important legal uses and is often considered a better identifier than other things like the street address. The parcel number is used for identifying property lines and charging property taxes, among other things. If you don’t know how to find it, you need to learn how to do that.
Most people don’t know what a parcel number is, let alone where to find it. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about finding your parcel number.
Table of Contents
What is a parcel number?
The parcel number is an identification code assigned to a parcel of land by the tax assessor's office. It’s assigned to a parcel when the parcel is created, so if you sell part of your parcel you may be assigned an entirely new number for the portion of it that you keep, or they may choose to simply assign a new number to the portion that was sold and update their records to reflect the new boundaries of your parcel.
The parcel number is used on parcel maps, which are organized into books. Each parcel number consists of three or four sets of numbers, depending on which book your parcel number is in. The first set of numbers identifies the book your parcel is in, while the remaining sets are the actual number assigned to your parcel. Each set of numbers is separated by a hyphen. The length of each set of numbers will vary based on where the property is located.
Why do I need my parcel number?
Your parcel number is the official legal identifier for your parcel. It’s what the tax assessor uses to identify the parcel for tax purposes, and it’s also used on the title and deed. That means it’s important to have when buying or selling property, or when trying to determine property lines.
You may also need it if you’re seeking a permit for work being done on your property, such as remodeling or land development. In this case the parcel number is used to keep county records accurate, and also to ensure that your property is taxed accurately. If you're remodeling a home, having landscaping done, or developing a piece of undeveloped land, there will likely be tax implications. Your property taxes may go up, or there might be tax breaks offered for certain kinds of development. Either way, you’re probably going to need the parcel number.
The parcel number is used along with your address, but the parcel number is often preferred because it’s a more permanent, accurate identifier. Addresses can change over time as streets are renamed and municipal boundaries are shifted, but the parcel number is only changed by the tax assessor's office, and then only if parts of the parcel have been sold.
Because a parcel can include more than one lot, and therefore more than one address, a parcel number is a more reliable way to identify the property. Once you have the parcel number you can easily identify your parcel on the map, which will clearly show the property lines even if the parcel includes multiple, non-adjacent lots.
If you ever want to sell your parcel, you’ll need the parcel number then, too. That number is the only sure way to clearly identify all of the property being sold, so it’s vital that you have it. It’s used to identify property lines, so it’s required for the land survey.
How to find a parcel number
As you can see, knowing your parcel number, or knowing where to find it, can be important. Not having it can cause a lot of problems for property owners. You may be unable to sell your parcel, or verify the accuracy of your property taxes. Fortunately, finding your parcel number is very easy.
One simple way of finding your parcel number is to dig out your property tax bill. The parcel number should be listed right next to your name on that document.
Of course, not everyone has their property tax bill. Many land owners, especially first-time homeowners, have their property taxes escrowed into their mortgage bill, and never see their property tax bill. If that’s you, don’t worry- it’s still quite easy to locate your parcel number.
All you need to do is contact your county tax assessor’s office and request the parcel number for your property. If your tax assessor’s office has a website, you should be able to find your parcel number through the website. If not, you’ll need to go to the office in person and request the number. Either way, this is a free service provided by the county, so you won’t have to pay anything.
Finally, you could check the deed and title for your property. Both of these documents should have the parcel number on them. If you can’t find these documents, and plenty of long-time homeowners lose track of them, you can renew them to get your parcel number. There’s a cost involved in this, but you’re going to want to have those documents anyway, so it’s worth it.
Even if your parcel is undeveloped land, most of these methods of finding the parcel number should still apply. After all, you’re still paying property taxes, still paying a mortgage, and/or you still have the deed and title to the land. If you’ve got any of those, you can find the parcel number.
About THE AUTHOR
Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down because of COVID-19. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.Read More About Brittany Melling