Property Taxes in Illinois: Understanding Property Taxes and the Way They Are Billed
In the state of Illinois, property taxes are billed based on the following criteria:
- equalized assessed value (EAV) of your property, and
- amount of money your local taxing districts need to operate during the coming year (i.e., levies).
Everyone is not taxed the same and even if your home is assessed at the same value, the property tax that you are billed can change from year to year based on several different factors. Remember, property taxes are a revenue generator for local government. Various municipalities, townships, counties, schools, park districts and other government entities use tax revenue to finance the majority of the services that they provide to the citizens of their area. Increased taxation in a local government could absolutely affect your property tax bill.
How You Pay Property Taxes
Property taxes in the state of Illinois are billed the following year of the tax period. For instance, property taxes that you pay in 2015 are actually for the 2014 tax year. Real property in Illinois is assessed at 33.3% of the fair market value of the given property, excluding any farmland or any farm buildings. This percentage is the statewide standard, with the exception of Cook County. Cook County has different classes of property, and those classes are taxed at different percentages.
Can I Predict If My Property Taxes Are Going to Change?
What type of warning can you give yourself in regards to your property tax bill? If there is a change to the fair market value of your home, all real property assessments are published for access by the general public (via the newspaper) by the chief county assessment officer by each county.
Reassessments are done by each county every 4 years (3 years in Cook County). All real property values are a matter of public record. Also, taxpayers outside of Cook County must receive a notice in the mail of any changes to their prior year’s assessment, unless the change occurred because of an equalization factor that was applied by an assessor. In addition to this, if your house is financed, the holder of your loan is required by law to forward copies of any assessment changes to their borrowers.
If your property taxes changed because of a shift in fair market value, you will receive some sort of notification, as listed above. But the taxation changes in your local area can also have a direct impact on your property tax amounts.
Is My Property Tax Assessment Fair?
There are two ways that you can judge whether your property tax assessment was fair:
- Compare the fair market value amount of your property with the recent sales of similar properties in your neighborhood. This is good method if you’ve recently bought your home or if you’ve had a recent appraisal.
- Compare the assessed value of your property to the assessed value of similar properties in your neighborhood. Any property assessment information can be obtained from your township or local multi-township assessor, or the chief county assessment officer’s office. These assessments are public record and can be inspected at any time, with reasonable regulations.
What Can I Do?
Property taxes are very serious – not paying them could result in loss of your property. There are many different things that you can do if you question your property assessment or the amount you were taxed. You have the option to appeal your assessment. If you receive notification of the value of your property and you feel that it is an unfair assessment, it’s important to act quickly. Attempting to resolve the discrepancy after you’ve received your property tax bill is generally too late, since property taxes are assessed for the year’s prior value. Make sure you pay attention when you receive notices in regards to your assessed home value so that you can file an appeal in a timely manner.
Property Tax Relief is also offered to residents. Commonly referred to as exemptions, relief from your property taxes can be granted based on several different factors, including disability status, age, and other reasons. There are also deferment programs for property taxes that you may qualify for, based on specific criteria.
As the process to complete these tasks can be complicated, hiring a tax attorney that understands property taxes and property assessments would be beneficial when attempting to either file for relief or for an appeal of your property assessment. Consider www.chicagorealestatelawfirm.com if you need any help with appealing your property assessment or filing for exemptions. Our office would be glad to assist.