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What's the difference between real estate tax, property tax, and personal property tax?

Real estate tax and property tax are the same thing. The IRS uses the term "real estate tax," but most people call it "property tax."

Property (real estate) tax is charged on immovable property—land and structures that are permanently attached to the ground such as a house, building, or land. If you own a home, you pay property (real estate) tax directly to your local tax assessor or indirectly with your monthly mortgage payment.

On the other hand, personal property tax is an annual tax imposed on movable assets—mobile homes, RVs, vehicles, boats, planes, etc. The portion of your vehicle's registration or license fee that's based on the value of the vehicle is considered a personal property tax.

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