Deeds, Splits, and Mapping Information


Deeds/Ownership

Every year, the Assessor processes over 127,000 documents from the Recorder's Office. After a document is recorded with that department, it takes 4-6 weeks for the change in ownership to appear on the Assessor's Web site. Recordings that are a portion of a Parcel (a Parcel split) will take longer to process.

Note 1: Please do not use our information as a title report. Assessor's information is for tax assessment purposes only. The Assessor's office staff cannot give legal advice, but will direct you to the appropriate agency for additional assistance. We do not prepare deeds, chains of title or conduct title research for the public or other county departments: Please contact a title company or attorney for assistance in these areas. If you have additional questions, please contact our office at 520-724-4384.

Note 2: The Title Department's function is to process transfer-of-ownership documents, for tax assessment purposes, on a daily basis. Due to time requirements to close the Assessment Roll, documents recorded after June 1 may not appear on the tax statements for that year. Consequently, the current year's tax bill will be sent to the seller (prior owner). (See Splits below)


Document Errors

Occasionally transfer documents are recorded with incorrect ownership information, no legal description, legal description errors, or a variety of other title issues. When this occurs, the Assessor staff will prepare a letter to be mailed to the involved parties stating where the apparent discrepancy is. We may request additional documentation to complete the chain of title or make corrections. This will delay the transfer of ownership or parcel split until the issue is resolved.


"Combos" (Parcel Combinations)

I own two or more lots and want to receive one tax statement. What do I need to do and how long will it take?
The taxpayer or assigned agent is required to complete a "Combination Request Form" specifying which parcels are to be combined. They must meet the following criteria:

  1. all taxes paid current,
  2. parcels are contiguous,
  3. have the same ownership type (JT/RS, SP/RS, Trust etc.) and
  4. in the same taxing authority.

Combo request forms are a courtesy to the taxpayer. Deed processing and recorded property splits take priority over the completion of your request. If you choose to proceed with combining your property into one tax parcel, return the completed form to the Assessors' office. If the combo request is approved, the request will be processed on a first come, first served basis and could take several weeks for completion. To determine the status of your submitted request, Contact (520) 724-4384 for information. Download the combo request form.

Acceptance by the Assessor of a combination request does not include approval by your local jurisdiction or private lender. Always check with them first before submitting a request to our office.

**Note: Once you combine your property, you may be required to meet the standards for splitting that parcel later if you choose to do so. Check with your local jurisdiction's permits department.

*Refer to A.R.S. § 42-13404(C) concerning combining common area parcels for a Homeowner's Association.


Splits

I want to sell a piece of my property to one of my children. How do I split a property to get two parcel numbers for taxes?
For taxation purposes, you will need to prepare a deed conveying the property to the new owner with an appropriate legal description describing the part of the property that you are conveying to the new owner. The document must be signed and notarized; then submitted for recording to the Pima County Recorder's Office. The Recorder's Office forwards all documents transferring property to the Assessor; and the Assessor splits the property according to the description on the recorded document. The Assessor's Office suggests you seek the professional help of a title company or an attorney when transferring property. Mistakes acn sometimes be very costly to correct. Its better to pay a bit up front than pay a lot later to fix problems professional help would have avoided. You should also contact your local jurisdiction prior to splitting property to make certain you comply with any local ordinances as well as State requirements.

How long does it take to split a property or have new tax code numbers assigned?
After you record the documents, it should take 9-12 weeks to have a split processed and released to the website, subject to the constraints of our tax assessment calendar. If you need documentation for Development Services Permits, our splits staff will prepare a "Split" letter for you. The recorded document image MUST be available for viewing in the Pima County Recorders' Office BEFORE the letter can be prepared. Contact 520-724-4384 for information.

Note: Conveyance documents to split the property recorded on or after January 1 of the current calendar year, will not appear in the tax roll until the following tax year. Consequently, the current year's tax bill will be sent to the seller (prior owner). It is the responsibility of the property owners to allocate the tax liability equitably.


Frequently Asked Questions

(Click on question to display answer)

Can you tell me what uses are allowed on my property, or what my agreement with my neighbors is all about, or if I can use this private road, or whether I have grandfathered rights to continue a certain activity, etc…?

The Assessor's Office records serve the property tax system and our valuation estimates related thereto. We do not offer any opinions regarding the status of private rights and obligations, nor compliance information regarding obligations imposed by other arms of government.

How can I correct a real estate document that recorded with errors?

A real estate attorney, title company, real estate broker, etc. should be able to provide you with an adequate solution for your situation.

What about Aerial Photos?

We find aerial photos useful to our processes in a general, non-definitive way. They help our appraisers decide which parcels the improvements should be assessed to in a split and whether appraisers should visit a site to take a closer look. Aerial photos can also help our sketches make more sense to the inquiring public. However, there are limitations to the usefulness of our aerial photos: Differences in scale, rotation, location, camera angle, etc. of the photos versus the line work in our sketches can produce suggestions of overlaps and other physical anomalies that may simply not be there on the ground. Our aerial photos are fine for generalities, but for actual specifics, on site measurement by skilled surveyors is the better option.

Can I buy copies of recorded deeds and other real estate documents from the Assessor?

No. Official copies of recorded deeds and other real estate documents can be obtained from the Pima County Recorder on the 1st floor of the County Public Service Center at 240 N. Stone Avenue in downtown Tucson. Call (520) 724-4350 for information.

How can I sell property to, or buy property from, Pima County? Or how can I get the County to acquire property for a road or officially abandon a road?

Contact Pima County “Real Property Services” on the 6th floor of the Public Works Center at 201 N. Stone Avenue in downtown Tucson or call (520) 724-6763.

Can you tell me what easements run across my property and show me where they run?

“Easements” are merely rights others have to use portions of your property, such as rights to run utility lines or private roadways within your boundaries. The Assessor does not keep track of easement rights, nor can we interpret an easement document for you. The name indexes at the Recorder’s Office can be helpful if you know which names to search and how to interpret what you find. Otherwise, you might consider consulting with real estate professionals in the private sector, (such as real estate attorneys, brokers, land title companies, surveyors) who have the expertise and resources to pursue these matters.

Why can’t Assessor employees provide me with legal advice?

State law prohibits persons who are not licensed by the Arizona Supreme Court from rendering legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult an attorney skilled in the area of your need.

How do I add another person to my deed, or to my property?

The most common way to expand the owners of your property is to have someone create a new deed transferring ownership from the current owners to themselves and the new person in whatever format meets their new need. Then, record that deed with the Pima County Recorder. This is not as simple as it seems because there are various types of deeds, various ways to own real estate, and various elements to consider (community property, boundary, inheritance considerations, etc ) that could cause you a lot of problems later if not handled properly. If you are not comfortable with this process, you should consult a real estate professional (such as a real estate attorney, a broker, a land title company, etc.) before recording a new document with the Pima County Recorder.

I need a “legal description” to put on a deed. Can I use the little “DESCRIPTION” in the Assessor’s record of my parcel?

No. The brief Assessor’s description is not a proper “legal description.” It is a short phrase intended only to help people find a parcel on our tax maps and nothing more. A real “legal description,” on the other hand, is a written description of your property complete enough to stand up “legally” in court. If you are not familiar with how to create a strong “legal description” of your property, you should consult a real estate professional (an attorney, a surveyor, a broker, a title company) who can do that for you.

The property address you show for my parcel does not match the one I use, or is my neighbors. Can you fix that?

This would depend on what is causing this mismatch:

  1. We misread your deed and applied it to the wrong parcel.
    Fix: we will remove your name from the wrong parcel and apply it to the correct parcel.
  2. We applied your deed to the correct parcel, but the property address is incorrect.
    Fix: bring this to the attention of Pima County Addressing on the first floor of the Public Works Center at 201 N. Stone Avenue in downtown Tucson. [Development Services: (520) 724-900].
  3. We applied your deed to the parcel it actually described (with the address appropriate for that description), but your deed described the wrong property.
    Fix: You will need to work out a solution with whoever prepared your deed. (Until a corrected deed records in the Pima County Recorder’s Office, we will continue to list you as the apparent owner of the property described in your uncorrected deed.)

What is the official version of a Pima County Tax Assessor’s Parcel?

The official version of a Pima County Tax Assessor’s Parcel is its portrayal on the Assessor’s Record Maps and in the parcel records of our Assessment Roll in the Assessor’s Office. Other versions of “parcels” purporting to be our tax parcels but not produced by the Pima County Assessor, such as those found in county address and GIS maps, are not official tax parcels.

If I record deeds splitting my parcel, would those splits be legal?

Presumably, you are really asking whether splitting your parcel would violate governmental or private rules or regulations. Unfortunately, since the Assessor is part of the taxation system, rather than part of an enforcement arm of government, we are not the proper entity to answer that question.

In fact, whether such rules are violated or not, the Assessor is required by the taxation system of which we are a part to adjust (split) our tax parcel boundaries to match the recorded deeds because statutes require us to send valuation notices to the current owners. Therefore, our parcels are intended to identify apparent ownership and boundaries for tax valuation purposes only. They are not intended to imply approval of any kind.

Taxpayers should always discuss potential deed recordings with the enforcement side of the applicable government first (zoning, permitting, ordinance enforcement, etc), to avoid running afoul of government regulations and to make sure that uses allowable after the recordings would still satisfy the owners.

Doesn’t the Assessor’s Office and its parcels speak for (or represent) Pima County as a whole?

No. The Assessor's parcels were designed solely to serve our tax assessment purposes. Therefore, we can only speak from the point of view of the Assessor’s tax assessment duties. Questions regarding all other aspects of county government should be referred to the appropriate county department.

For example, the Assessor does not enforce county real estate regulations. That’s the function of Pima County Development Services on the south side of the Public Works Building at 201 N. Stone Avenue. (520-724-9000). Questions concerning county rules for potential parcel splits fall within the responsibility of the Pima County Permitting and Zoning departments, and/or would involve speaking with their “planner on duty” regarding taxpayer obligations under the Minor Land Split Ordinance, etc.

Reliance upon our data for uses beyond our tax assessment purposes is neither intended nor recommended.

My survey shows a different parcel size for my acreage property than shown in the Assessor’s records. Will you adjust your records to match my survey data?

  1. We will seriously consider revising our size estimate to match your survey, if
    • It is a boundary survey.
    • It has the surveyor’s seal & signature with the surveyor’s size estimate clearly indicated.
  2. If we determine that your surveyed size estimate represents the boundaries we are assessing for your parcel (or if not, provides enough relevant data for us to calculate an updated size estimate), then we will adjust our parcel record accordingly, subject to the constraints of our assessment calendar.

If I submit a parcel combination form to the Assessor’s Office, does that mean my mortgage company and the enforcement arms of government (permitting, zoning, ordinance enforcement, etc) will be okay with the result?

No. Paperwork filed with the Assessor is accepted solely for our tax valuation purposes. You should always check first with your mortgage company and the real estate regulation side of your appropriate local government (zoning, permitting, etc.) before submitting a parcel combination request to the Assessor’s Office. If your combination request meets our tax assessment criteria for valid parcel combinations, we will combine your parcels without regard to any other issues.

When we combine parcels at your request, we will value, after the initial year or so, the resulting parcel as a single parcel independent of its multiple parcel history. So, if you later decide to split your properties back out again, you will need to record new deeds splitting the new parcel just as you would record deeds to split any other parcel. Since later split deeds might be viewed as violations by an enforcement arm of your local government, you should always check with that government before submitting a parcel combination request in the first place.

Can you help me find my property boundaries so I can put up a barrier, or counter my neighbor’s claim that my boundary is not where I thought it was?

Although you are welcome to obtain a copy of our official Assessor’s Record Map from our Public Service Counter, or to download a copy from the assessor’s web site, please be aware than they are estimates provided for tax assessment purposes only. If you wish to identify the exact location of your boundaries on the ground, consult a competent surveyor who can apply the data in your deeds to your actual situation on the ground. In the event of boundary conflicts, you should also seek competent legal advice from your real estate attorney.

I was told I had to obtain a 20 year chain of title (or deed history) to prove I had the right to split my property. Can you provide that to me?

This sounds like a requirement from a real estate enforcement arm of local government, and not the Assessor. The deed history of your property will not prevent the Assessor from splitting your tax parcel if you record the appropriate deeds.

As far as chains of title go, the Assessor does not provide chains of title (deed histories). We suggest you consult a land title company, since searching chains of title is a key aspect of that business.

Can you help me prove I have legal access to my property, or show me on a map the route of my property’s legal access?

Although you are welcome to obtain a copy of our official Assessor’s Record Map from our Public Service Counter, or to download a copy from the Assessor’s web site, please be aware than they are estimates provided for tax assessment purposes only. Our tax maps are designed solely to show the apparent boundaries of deeded properties so those properties can be valued for tax purposes. Use of them for any other purpose is neither recommended nor authorized by the Assessor.

For help determining property access and interpreting the words in your deeds’ property descriptions, we suggest consulting professionals in the private sector such as title companies, surveyors, or rights of way agents.

I bought a single acreage property (or a single lot in a subdivision) but the Assessor is assessing its value by two or more tax parcels. How can I get it taxed as a single parcel?

If the tax parcels meet the Assessor’s criteria for a parcel combination, you can submit a parcel combination request and we will combine them into one parcel beginning with the next appropriate tax year.

On the other hand, if one or more taxing jurisdiction boundaries (school, fire, irrigation, municipality, etc.) cut through your parcel, we have to apply separate tax rates to each portion because each district has a separate tax rate. In such cases, the multiple tax parcels represent our application of those separate tax rates. We know you actually own a single piece of real estate - our multiple parcels represent how you are being taxed, not how you own the property.

Can I get a break on my taxes by submitting a “homestead” form to the Assessor like I did in my prior state?

The designation of a “homestead” is not associated with the Assessor’s Office.

However, we do have various programs available to qualifying taxpayers through the Pima County Assessor's Office Exemption Section which might prove helpful to you. (520) 724-7500.

If your Pima County tax parcel is your sole primary residence, you may also be entitled to receive the “State Aid to Education” tax rate reduction. This reduction is automatic if your property assessment classification is Class 3. If it isn’t, you can submit an Affidavit for Primary Residence Classification for our review.

Can I get a new deed from your office since I paid off my mortgage? Or should I bring you a new deed to show that I have paid off my mortgage?

The Assessor does not keep track of loan documents, so we do not need to know when you have paid off a loan. Nor can we provide you with information about a loan, or provide verification that a loan has been paid off.

Your ownership deeds do not change because you have paid off a loan. They continue being your ownership deeds as far as the Assessor is concerned until you record new deeds changing how and who owns your property.

The other person I owned the property with (or the person who solely owned the property) has died. I just recorded their death certificate. So can I get the tax records changed to my name?

  1. How we view the recording of the deceased person’s death certificate depends on the kind of ownership we feel they had:
    1. If they owned the property “with rights of survivorship”, then we will remove their name and only show the surviving co-owners as current owners.
    2. If they owned the property without rights of survivorship, and did not have a beneficiary deed recorded, then we will consider their estates as owning their shares, pending the recording of probate documents transferring the estate’s share to their heirs or devisees.
    3. If they owned the property without rights of survivorship and did have a beneficiary deed recorded, then we will consider the beneficiary deed activated, and list the people who were receiving the property in the beneficiary deed as the new owners.
    4. If the person owned the property through a trust, then we will continue to consider the trust as the owner until whoever has the right to sign as trustee (or successor trustee) on the trust’s behalf deeds the property out of the trust. If the deceased person was one of the trustees, we will remove their name from the trustee’s list. If the deceased person’s name is part of the trust name, we will still retain it in our listing because the name of the trust is not changed by the death of a named person.
  2. We ask that relevant out-of-state death certificates be recorded at the Recorder’s Office, since no record of the death would otherwise be available in Arizona. However, we can scan unrecorded Arizona death certificates into the Assessor’s records if the parties prefer, since official copies are available through the state.

I just got married and want my tax parcel to show my married name.

If you bring in a copy of your marriage license to scan into our parcel record, or record a deed from your former name to your new name, we will adjust our ownership listing accordingly. However, most people leave the Assessor’s records unchanged, and just add the appropriate “formerly known as” reference to any new deeds they have to sign later.

My tax parcel’s description lists a subdivision name I don’t recognize, or is no longer used in reference to my neighborhood.

The subdivision name in the Assessor’s Parcel Record is not intended to indicate the current neighborhood name, whether that was created formally by an association of owners, or informally over time by area residents, or as a more attractive advertising name by real estate developers. Instead, the Assessor’s description is intended to match the subdivision name used on the actual deeds that transfer ownership in your subdivision. These deeds invariably reference the original recorded name of the subdivision map that established your boundary lines and lot numbers. Adjusting the Assessor’s Parcel Records to match changes to ownerships and boundaries caused by these deeds is the primary function of the Deed and Split Sections of the Pima County Assessor’s Office. Reliance upon our data for uses beyond our tax assessment purposes is neither intended nor recommended.

What kind of deed would be best for me to record in my situation?

Ultimately, you are asking for specific legal guidance and we cannot provide you with that because we are not attorneys. If you are not sure what to do, you should seek competent legal advice from a real estate attorney.

What kinds of deeds are there and what kinds of ownership formats are there?

Since state law requires the Assessor’s Office’s to send valuation notices to the owners of our parcels, we have had to develop a “working” understanding of the apparent effect of various deed types and ownership formats involved in the creation and transfer of real estate ownership. The following list of common deed and format types reflects our current version of that understanding; which we hope is correct, but which may well be flawed or incomplete. Reliance upon this data for uses beyond our tax assessment purposes therefore is neither intended nor recommended. Inquirers seeking information to apply to their own situation should always consult with a real estate attorney instead.

Common Deed Types:

  • Gift Deed (where the valuable consideration is love and affection)
  • Deed, Grant Deed (simple generic deeds)
  • Joint Tenancy Deed (has special language to secure valid Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship)
  • Deed in Trust, Trustee’s Deed (involves real-estate-trust property)
  • Sheriff's Deed, Trustee’s Deed, Trustee’s Deed Upon Sale (foreclosure deeds)
  • Warranty Deed (has strong protections for the buyer-grantees)
  • Special Warranty Deed (limits buyer protections to actions of the seller-grantor only; so is really a “limited warranty” deed)
  • Quit-Claim Deed (transfers whatever and all interests the seller happens to have at the time, if any)
  • Patent (special deed of unsubdivided land from State or Federal government that may include surface rights, mineral rights - both, or only one, depending on what is reserved by the granting government)
  • Beneficiary Deed (transfers only upon the death of the owner, if owner still has interests in the parcel)
  • Contract or Agreement for Sale (real estate installment contract where a deed to a parcel is being purchased over time by a buyer from a seller)
  • Vendor’s Deed, Vendee’s Deed (assigns and transfers interests in real-estate-installment contracts: vendor’s for seller, vendee’s for buyer)
  • Order of Immediate Possession (court order allowing government to make use of specific property before transfer of ownership to government has actually taken place. Property becomes temporarily tax exempt once the order records in the county Recorder’s Office)
  • Final Order of Condemnation (court order transferring ownership to government at end of a court case. often used to acquire road and drainage rights of way)
  • “Deed of Release and Reconveyance” (This is NOT a deed at all, but a satisfaction of a streamlined “Deed of Trust” mortgage)

Common Ownership Formats:

  • Life Estate (person gains the right to live out their life on a specific parcel)
  • Tenants in Common (multiple owners with distinctly separate interests)
  • Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship (multiple human owners whose interests transfer to the survivors upon death)
  • Real Estate Trust (artificial person who owns property through its trustee on behalf of specific beneficiaries according to terms in a specific trust agreement)
  • Community Property (ownership by married couple conferring certain legal rights)
  • Community Property with Right of Survivorship (ownership by married couple with community property benefits whose interests transfer to the survivor upon death)

Am I correct in assuming that the ownership record in the Assessor’s Office is government’s official confirmation of who owns real estate in Pima County?

No. Our ownership listing is merely our tax-assessment-related estimate of who appears to own property as we pursue our statutory mandate of sending valuation notices to the owners of our parcels. Actual ownership is the weight of evidence produced by real estate documents, laws, court decisions, and so forth, relevant to specific parcels. If you suspect we have erred in our ownership listing for a parcel, please provide us with the evidence you feel we are missing for our review.

Since the Assessor merely lists the apparent owner of property, where can I go to obtain an opinion of the actual ownership a property?

If you would like to obtain an opinion as to the actual ownership of a parcel, please contact your real estate attorney. Land title insurance companies can also provide you with title search and analysis services along with insurance policies to back up their opinions. Or, if you would really like government to officially confirm ownership, have your attorney pursue a “quiet title” court action resulting in a court order that does just that. (Once a court order has been issued, please record a certified copy of the order with the Pima County Recorder, so we can discover the court order and adjust our ownership records accordingly.)

Someone transferred a property to me that I did not want, by a deed I knew nothing about, but the Assessor used it to change the tax record into my name.

Since we used a deed recorded on the public record at the Recorder’s Office to transfer the tax record to you, we will need you to provide us with some sort of counter document on the public record at the Recorder’s Office that will provide us with the authority to treat the offending deed as erroneous. This counter document could be something as simple as an affidavit signed by you attesting to your lack of acceptance of that deed, or as formal as a certified copy of a court order voiding that deed. Once we have reviewed what you have recorded in response to that problem deed, we will restore the parcel’s ownership listing to how it read before; and send a letter to whomever recorded the offending deed, citing your counter document as the reason for that restoration.

Someone forged my signature on a deed and the Assessor used it to change the tax record out of my name.

This is a very serious charge to make, so we suggest you consult with law enforcement and your attorney right away. As far as the Assessor goes, since we used a deed recorded on the public record at the Recorder’s Office to transfer the tax record away from you, we will need you to provide us with some sort of counter document on the public record at the Recorder’s Office that will provide us with the authority to treat the offending deed as erroneous. This counter document could be something as simple as an affidavit signed by you attesting to your lack of participation in the creation of that deed, or as formal as a certified copy of a court order voiding that deed. Once we have reviewed what you have recorded in response to that problem deed, we will restore the tax parcel to your name and send a letter to whomever recorded the offending deed, citing your counter document as the reason for that restoration.

I own a time share in a time sharing project (aka interval interest) but my name does not show in the Assessor’s Records.

The Assessor’s values are applied annually for the whole year to a parcel that does not “float,” so our annual valuations, and the county’s annual tax assessment, are applied to the project itself in the name of the managing entity of your project.

I own an interest in a Co-Op project, but my name does not show in the Assessor’s Records.

The Assessor’s annual value estimates (and the annual tax for your project) are assessed in the name of your Co-Op project. We consider the Co-Op project as the owner of the tax parcel, and the interests of the members as internal private matters managed through the Co-Op’s business office.

I received approval from the county, or my municipality, to split my parcel but the Assessor has not split my tax parcel to match.

The Assessor’s splits its tax parcels based on recorded deeds. If you have recorded deeds that the Assessor’s has missed, or not processed yet, please provide us with the recording information (sequence numbers). Once we confirm that they split your parcel, we can start the process that will replace the current tax parcel with new ones. If you have not recorded deeds splitting your parcel, please do so and provide us with the recording information.

I was told all I needed to split a tax parcel was to obtain approvals, then record legal descriptions or a survey.

Obtaining the appropriate approvals, legal descriptions, and surveys does not create a tax parcel split from the Assessor’s point of view. Recorded deeds create tax parcel splits. However, these elements do play an essential part in the creating of most deeds for splitting tax parcels. Once you have recorded your new deeds, please provide us with the recording information (sequence numbers). Once we confirm that they split your parcel, we can start the process that will replace the current tax parcel with new ones.


For more information, see the following jurisdictions:

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