The property tax is the largest single source of revenue under the control of state or local governments in the United States. Property taxes provide a fundamental fiscal foundation for all types of local governments, but structural characteristics that make the property tax different from other types of taxes can lead to confusion and misunderstanding. Additionally, the gap between public and political perceptions of property taxes, and the views of tax analysts, can be especially wide. Therefore, improved education and understanding of property taxation is especially valuable for policy makers, homeowners and renters, business owners and operators, community leaders, those involved in adjudicating issues about the tax (lawyers and judges), students, and others. This paper helps to inform the public about the property tax by examining its importance to local governments, how the property tax impacts homeowners, and how property tax burdens are distributed.