Research & Analysis

Glossary

Terms and definitions used in Research and Analysis publications

A
  • Alaska Employment Security Tax - Taxes collected by the State of Alaska, Department of Labor and Workforce Development to support the Unemployment Insurance Program.

  • Alaska Municipal League - An organization that helps Alaskan municipalities primarily by lobbying for or against state legislation that affects cities and boroughs. Members of the Alaska Municipal League are Alaskan cities and boroughs that have decided to join (members must pay a membership fee, based on the size of the municipality). The Alaska Municipal League also provides municipalities with general municipal information, training, and technical assistance.

C
  • City - A city government is a municipal corporation and political subdivision of the state of Alaska that exercises powers and provides services within an established boundary that normally includes a single community. There are three different classifications of city governments in Alaska - home rule, first class and second class.

  • City Council - In a city, the governing body is the city council. The purpose of government is to manage public funds and resources and provide services that the public wants provided. The governing body also establishes policy and procedure for the municipality, which may be in the form of ordinances, resolutions, formal manuals, etc.

  • City Manager - An appointed official who directs the administration of a city.

  • City Organized Under Federal Law - Metlakatla was organized by authority of federal statutes and has adopted a form of government similar in many respects to a municipality, but is recognized as a city under federal law only.

  • City Powers and Duties - General law city powers include general governmental powers (financial, administrative and legal), powers to provide public facilities and services, and regulatory powers.

  • Classification of Municipalities - There are two classifications for municipal governments in Alaska: Home Rule and General Law. General law municipalities are further subdivided into four classes: first class boroughs, second class boroughs, first class cities, and second class cities.

F
  • Federal Tax Lien - A Notice of Federal Tax Lien may be filed to secure the government’s interest against other creditors. Liens give the IRS a legal claim to property as security for payment of the owner’s tax debt. The federal tax lien arises when the IRS sends a bill for taxes owed and the taxpayer neglects or refuses to fully pay the debt within 10 days after the notice is sent.

  • First Class Borough - First class boroughs can acquire additional area wide powers by ordinance rather than referendum.

  • First Class City - Cities must have a minimum population of 400 in order to incorporate as a first class city. The mayor is elected by the voters and is not a member of the council. The mayor may vote only in cases of a tie or to veto action of the council. If a first class city is located in an unorganized borough, it has the added responsibility of providing education, planning and zoning services for its residents.

H
  • Heating Fuel #1 - Grade 1 is a light distillate intended for use in burners of the vaporizing type in which the oil is converted to a vapor by contact with a heated surface or by heat radiation. High volatility is necessary to ensure that evaporation proceeds with a minimum of residue.

  • Heating Fuel #2 - Grade 2 is a heavier distillate than Grade 1. It is intended for use in atomizing type burners which spray the oil into a combustion chamber where the tiny droplets burn while in suspension. This grade of oil is used in most domestic burners and in many medium capacity commercial-industrial burners where its ease of handling and ready availability sometimes justify its higher cost over the residual fuels. The Grade 1 is sometimes mixed with Grade 2 to improve winter cold flow properties in cold climates.

  • Home Rule Borough - The following boroughs in Alaska are home rule boroughs: City and Borough of Sitka, City and Borough of Juneau, Municipality of Anchorage, City and Borough of Yakutat, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Denali Borough, Haines Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough, North Slope Borough, Petersburg Borough and Wrangell Borough. See also Home Rule Municipality. 

  • Home Rule Municipality - A city or borough which has adopted a home rule charter through an election. The adoption of such a charter gives the local government "all legislative powers not prohibited by law or charter" (Article X, Sec. II - Constitution of Alaska). The charter provides for the governing structure, functions and services, and restrictions on municipal powers in accordance with the conditions, needs and desires of the community. AS 29.10.200 (Limitation of Home Rule Powers) defines provisions of the State Municipal Code that apply specifically to home rule municipalities.

  • Hospital's, Physician's, and Nurse's Lien - An operator of a hospital in the state, a licensed special nurse in a hospital, or a physician who furnishes service to a person who has a traumatic injury has a lien upon any sum awarded to the injured person by judgment, settlement, or compromise.

  • Household - A household is an occupied housing unit. It may be a single-person household, a household where unrelated persons live together, or a family household.

  • Housing Unit - A housing unit is one or more rooms intended for permanent occupancy as separate living quarters. A housing unit is a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room occupied (or vacant, intended for occupancy) as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live separately from any other people in the building and which have direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall. The occupants may be a single family, one person living alone, two or more families living together, or any group of related or unrelated people sharing living arrangements.

I
  • IRS 6721 - Refers to the portion of the Internal Revenue Code authorizing the IRS to penalize employers for providing false or incomplete information on an information return, such as a wage statement, filed with the IRS.

  • IRS 6723 - Refers to the portion of the Internal Revenue Code authorizing the IRS to penalize employers for failure to comply with a specified information reporting requirement within a specified time frame.

  • IRS 730 - Taxes owed to the IRS by organizations that accept wagers from others, conduct wagers on the behalf of others, or operate betting pools.

  • IRS 940 - Taxes owed to the IRS based on the federally mandated employer contributions under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA).

  • IRS 941 - Taxes owed to the IRS based on employee withholdings relating to federal income, social security, and Medicare taxes.

  • IRS 990 - Taxes filed by nonprofit organizations and owed to the IRS based on failure to comply within a specified time frame.

  • IRS 11C - Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering, to register and to pay the occupational tax before wagers are accepted and annually thereafter.

J
  • Judgment - Refers to the judge’s decision (this written decision is required in order to collect the money).

  • Judgment on Confession - Judgment entered where the defendant confessed action. The act of a debtor in permitting judgment to be entered against him by his creditor for a stipulated sum. In Alaska, a confession judgment can be entered before or after the commencement of action in Superior Court.

L
  • Lien - A right given to another by the owner of property to secure a debt, or one created by law in favor of certain creditors.

M
  • Mayor - The chief executive officer of a municipality, as well as chief administrative officer if the municipality is not organized under a manager form of government. The executive power of the municipality is vested in the mayor. The executive duties of the mayor include but are not limited to presiding over meetings, signing official documents and acting as a ceremonial head of government.

  • Multi-family Units - Housing units contained in multi-unit structures such as apartment buildings.

  • Municipal Clerk - The municipal clerk is responsible for providing administrative support for the governing body as identified in AS 29.20.380 or assigned by the chief administrator or governing body.

  • Municipal Manager - If the municipality has adopted a manager form of government, the municipal manager is the chief administrative officer of the municipality with general oversight and responsibility for all operations of the municipality as set forth in AS 29.20.500. The municipal manager position is created by the adoption of a manager plan by the voters of the municipality in accordance with the procedures set out in AS 29.20.460.

  • Municipal Manager Form of Government - In a municipal manager form of government, the mayor remains the chief executive officer and fulfills the executive duties while a municipal manager serves as the chief administrative officer, assuming the duties established in AS 29.20.500 that would otherwise be assigned to the mayor.

  • Municipal Officials Directory (MOD) - This is a survey conducted annually from October to December in order to provide the most current municipal contact information for 163 municipalities and boroughs across Alaska.

  • Municipality - A city, borough, or unified local government established in the manner set forth in state law.

N
  • Non-unified Home Rule Borough - The following boroughs are non-unified home rule boroughs: City and Borough of Yakutat, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Denali Borough, Haines Borough, Northwest Arctic Borough, North Slope Borough, and Petersburg Borough.

O
  • Occupational Tax - The occupational tax is imposed on those who receive wagers that are subject to tax. The tax applies to persons receiving taxable wagers, whether they receive compensation or are volunteers.

  • Occupied Housing Unit (also called a Household) - A housing unit is occupied if a household of one or more resident persons usually live and sleep there. A housing unit is considered occupied if the residents are only temporarily absent.

  • Offer in Compromise - An offer in compromise allows an entity to settle their tax debt for less than the full amount they owe if they are unable to pay their full tax liability. The IRS considers ability to pay, income, expenses, and asset equity in making the decision to make an offer in compromise.

  • Organized Borough - A regional municipal corporation and political subdivision of the State of Alaska. Includes four different classifications: unified home rule, non-unified home rule, first class, second class. Alaska includes 19 organized boroughs, with about 87% of the state's population.

P
  • Planning Commission - A board appointed by the mayor, subject to confirmation, to formulate land use and subdivision regulations and, in some cases, public facility plans for the community. The planning commission is both a decision making body for the community when it issues permits and variances and approves plats, and an advisory body to the council or assembly when it makes recommendations on the comprehensive plan, land use regulations and community development issues in general. The planning commission is expected to provide an informed perspective on development needs and issues in the community, and be an honest advisor to the council, assembly, and community. Alaska state law requires that home rule, unified home rule, first-class and second-class boroughs, and first-class and home rule cities outside of boroughs provide for planning, platting and land use regulation.

  • Property Tax - A property tax is a levy on property that the owner is required to pay. The tax is levied by the governing authority of the jurisdiction in which the property is located.

R
  • Release of the Notice of Federal Tax Lien - The IRS will issue a notice of release: (1) if it is in the best interest of the government, (2) immediately after a taxpayer satisfies the tax due with a certified check or money order, (3) within 30 days after a taxpayer satisfies the tax due (including interest and other, additions) by paying the debt or by having it adjusted, (4) within 30 days after the IRS accepts a bond that the taxpayer submits, guaranteeing payment of the debt.

  • Resident - Residency is determined on the basis of where a person usually resides on a weekly basis or for the majority of the year, if a person divides his/her time between two or more residences. Also, non-citizens that are living in the United States are included, regardless of their immigration status. Persons who sleep consecutive nights in one locality to be near their place of work and sleep in another locality on weekends or during other non-work periods are considered residents of the housing unit in which they spend most of their nights during the week.

S
  • Second Class Borough - The governing body of a borough consists of an assembly and a mayor. The second class boroughs in Alaska are the Bristol Bay Borough, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Kodiak Island Borough, Kenai Peninsula Borough, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, and Aleutians East Borough.

  • Second Class City - One of two general law classes of city authorized by state law, the other being a first class city. Second class cities are the most common form of municipal government found in Alaska. Communities with at least 25 registered voters can petition the state to incorporate as a second class city in order to provide services and facilities to their residents. Second class cities are required to conduct regular city council meetings, codify city ordinances and establish local election procedures. The mayor of a second class city is elected by and from the council, and may vote on all matters. Second class cities may provide city services and raise revenue through a sales or property tax.

  • Single-family attached unit - A single-unit housing structure that has one or more unbroken wall extending from ground to roof separating it from adjoining structures, such as a townhouse.

  • Single-family detached unit - A housing structure with open space on all four sides.

  • Strong Mayor form of Government - The strong mayor form of government is headed by the mayor who serves as the city’s chief executive and the city council who serve as the city’s legislative body.

  • Subordination of Federal Tax Lien - An agreement between an entity and the IRS which allows other liens to take precedence over the debt owed to the IRS.

T

  • Tax Liability - The total amount of tax that an entity is legally obligated to pay to an authority as the result of the occurrence of a taxable event.

U
  • Unified Home Rule Municipality - Unified home rule municipalities are established when an organized borough and all cities within the borough unite following an election to form a single unit of government with a home rule charter. The following boroughs are unified home rule boroughs: City and Borough of Sitka, City and Borough of Juneau, Municipality of Anchorage, and Wrangell.

  • Unorganized Borough - That area of the state that is located outside organized boroughs constitutes a single unorganized borough (AS 29.03.010). The state legislature may establish, alter, or abolish service areas within the unorganized borough to provide special services such as schools, utilities, land use regulations, and fire protection (AS 29.03.020). Over fifty percent of the area of the state is designated as the unorganized borough. The state legislatures is the governing body in the unorganized borough and has oversight of services that would otherwise be provided by an organized borough. Much of Alaska's rural regions are included in the unorganized borough, and in these areas cities and tribal organizations typically provide community services, while education is delivered by the state through Regional Education Attendance Areas (REAAs).

V
  • Vacant Housing Unit - A housing unit is vacant if it is either without occupants or is temporarily occupied by persons whose usual place of residence is elsewhere. A unit from which the occupants are temporarily absent (on vacation etc.) is not considered a vacant unit.

  • Vintage Year - Refers to the year that demographers begin production on a set of population estimates. For example, the vintage 2009 estimates are estimates whose production was begun in 2009.

W
  • Wastewater Collection System - A system of sewers, valves, fittings, pumping stations and appurtenances that is used to carry wastewater from homes and business to a wastewater treatment facility. Collection systems can be either of two types: (1) Separate sewer systems that are designed to convey only municipal sanitary sewage and industrial wastewater, or (2) combined sewer systems that are designed to convey stormwater runoff in addition to municipal sewage and industrial wastewater.

  • Wastewater Treatment Plant - an industrial structure designed to remove biological or chemical waste products from water.

Y
  • Year-round housing units - All occupied and unoccupied units, regardless of design, that are intended for occupancy at all times of the year. 


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