Will County and Chicagoland Property Taxes: What, Where, How, Why

Will County and Chicagoland Property Taxes:  
What, Where, How, Why

     The topic of  property taxes  is always an important one when speaking to my clients ... either because it will show as a proration needing to be paid on their home purchase ... or because it effects their  escrow  account for future monthly payments.

     What property taxes do or pay for ... and the perception of such, are often two completely different things.  But the fact is, that in Illinois ... local governments alone levy and collect property taxes.

     The tax cycle extends over a 2-year period.  The first year being the assessment year, and the 2nd year being the one where actual tax bills reflecting on that assessment are paid.  In other words, taxes paid in 2014 reflect the property assessment of 2013.

     How is real estate property assessed in our State of Illinois?  The required assessment level for tax purposes on any parcel of real property (excluding farmland and farm buildings ... and except that in Cook County) is 33 1/3 percent of the property's fair market value.

     If a property has been reassessed, that change must be published in a newspaper within the individual property's county notifying the public of the changes.  Every four years, a complete listing of assessments must be made for notification purposes.  

    The property's taxpayers themselves must receive a mailed notice of changes made to the assessment of their property (unless the change is due to the application of an equalization factor by the Assessor).  If your taxes are paid for through an escrow account or by a bank, etc., those entities are required to forward a copy of assessment changes to you.

     Once received, the real property owner should check the assessment for its accuracy and fairness.  How can you do that?

     #1:  Compare the Fair Market Value of the property with comparable properties within your neighborhood.  Fair Market Value is defined as:  The amount for which real property would be sold in a voluntary transaction between a Buyer and Seller, neither of whom is under any obligation to buy or sell that property.  

     -  or  -

    #2.  Compare the assessed value of the property with similar properties as it pertains to uniformity.  

     If you think your assessment unfair ... contact your Township Assessor within the time constraints allowed.  Should you wish to file a complaint or protest your assessment, you file your complaint with your county's Board of Review.  There is a string of further actions that can be followed, should you remain dissatisfied with the decision reached by that Board. 

     Throughout this procedure, continue to pay your property taxes.  Should you not pay them, a lien will be placed upon your property.  Liens can be sold by the County to recover tax due.  If your property is a  residential property, you have up to 2.5 years from the tax sale to redeem the property.  (Other properties, such as commercial or agricultural, have other time periods to adhere to.)

     Should you not redeem your property within the stated time period, you can lose it.  So time is of the essence, when taking this path.

     Please keep in mind that there are several forms of  tax relief  available to owner-occupied residential property owners, depending on your location with the State of Illinois. 
Some exemptions might include:

     *  Senior Citizen Tax Freeze Homestead Exemption
     *  Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral Program
     *  Homestead Improvement Exemption       
     *  Disabled Veterans Exemption
     *  Senior Homestead Exemption
     *  Senior Citizens Circuit Breaker Grants
     *  Homestead Limited Exemption
     *  General Homestead Exemption
     *  Alternative General Homestead Exemption (AGHE) - Cook County only
     *  Disabled Persons' Homestead Exemption (DPHE)
     *  Returning Veterans' Homestead Exemption (RHVE)

     How do they turn the property's assessment factors into the amount of tax I pay?

     Tax bills are factored on these two basis:

     *  The amount of money your local taxing districts need to operate during the coming year.  That's called your "tax base", or "levy"
     *  The Equalized Assessed Value of your property

     Remember that your taxes can increase or decrease even if your assessment does not change.  If the "tax base" increases or decreases, so do your taxes.

     Property Taxes:  What, Where, How, Why.  If you have questions or concerns regarding your real estate property assessment or taxes, please ... contact your local Assessor to get answers and assistance.  And again, pay strict attention to time limitations for filing complaints or protests.  Also, remember that bottomline, it is the responsibility of the property owner to make sure that tax payments out of escrow have been made.  Be aware of tax payment deadlines and gather proof that payments have been made on your behalf.

     **  I recommend that you bookmark or save this post for reference at least two times per year ...

     *  Thinking of Buying a Home or Refinancing within Illinois, Will County, or elsewhere in the Chicagoland region?  Contact me!  I'll put my 35+ years of mortgage experience and expertise hard to work on your behalf.
     I can be conveniently found at the following:
Direct:  815.524.2280
Cell/Text:  708.921.6331
eFax:  815.524.2281    Skype:  630.219.1316
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