Special assessments are a charge to real estate property for needed public projects. Special assessments are charged only to the properties that receive a direct benefit from the project. 

Special assessments may include, but are not limited to, items such as ditch assessments, improvements (such as street paving, curb repair/replacement, lighting districts, sidewalks and sewer or water lines), code enforcement (such as weed and trash removal and demolition) and delinquent water and sewer bills.

The Auditor is required by law to keep an accounting of special assessments. The Auditor is required to place special assessments on the tax duplicate as a separate item on the real estate tax bill. However, special assessments are not part of the taxpayer's real estate tax. A special assessment is a charge from a government entity for a public project. The Auditor returns the money collected to the city, village, township or county office which levied the special assessment.

Each special assessment can be identified by a SPA Code which is essentially a project number. Special assessments can be continuous meaning that assessments such as some lighting districts and ditch petitions do not have a definite ending date to the project. Other assessments will have a definite beginning and end date.