Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Will an increase in your assessment cause your tax dollars to increase?
Answer: One of the biggest accomplishments that I see as a result of assessments increasing is taxpayers having questions and coming in to get answers. One of the worries was the percentage of increase in the assessments would directly reflect the same increase in taxes. This is one worry that was dispelled when it was explained to the taxpayers when assessments go up, tax rates typically go down. This means taxpayers should only see a minor change in their tax bill as a result of assessment increases. In fact, some may even see savings. However, please be aware some taxing bodies may schedule special meetings where their boards will approve additional increases that exceed the usual 1-5% increase in their levy. It would be wise to keep an eye on this activity from your major taxing bodies including the School districts and Villages.
Question: How do assessments relate to taxes?
Answer: All taxpayers are affected by decisions that are made for anyone else in the township. The Assessors’ office is responsible for applying fair assessments for the entire township. When assessments go down, the rates usually go up so that the taxing bodies can receive at least what they received the previous year in their levy to meet their budget.
Example: If an old assessment was 50,000 with rates at 10%, then taxes = $5,000, but if the assessments are reduced to 25,000, then the rate that would have to be increased to 20% in order to raise the same $5,000 in tax revenue. And if assessments increase to 60,000 then the rate would be expected to be lower to about 8.4% to get the same $5,000.
Question: Should foreclosure sales prices represent market value since that is what houses are selling for currently?
Answer: Foreclosure prices, by definition, are prices that are less than market value. These are the prices that are accepted in a situation where you have a motivated seller or bank-owned inventory that needs to move fast. Buyers of foreclosures and short sale homes will receive discounts when buying homes. Then, they fix them up so a profit can be made when they resell, or they may decide to rent them out. The problem here is that market value cannot move downward as fast as foreclosure prices do. Still, even if they did, the following year the new foreclosure prices would be even lower. Also, the sale price from the resell would tend to increase the market value of some homes. There has to be a limit established that separates market price from foreclosure prices; they should never be the same number.
Question: How do investor purchases affect residents of the Township?
Answer: Sometimes appeals are primarily made by investors who do not live in the township. They can purchase properties at low values and then resell within a year to make a significant profit, sometimes 2-4 times their purchase prices. They do have the right to appeal just as other property owners in the township, and they generally do so by hiring attorneys. However, they sometimes do not qualify to file. Our job is to provide supporting evidence for the subject property's current assessment. Also, many times the property may have had multiple owners in the current year, and the person filing is no longer the current owner. When assessors go to appeals to defend the assessments, if there was no agreement between the property owner and the assessor, the purpose is to be fair. At the same time, assessors must be cognizant of certain circumstances that may exist around the subject property. If a thorough job is not done in these instances and a reduction is granted giving an unfair advantage to any property owner, then the difference in taxes not paid by the appelant will eventually be obtained from the homeowners who live in the township. This is why I stand my ground to encourage and ensure that fairness and equity remains.
Question: What else can be done to help taxpayers lower their tax bill?
Answer: Assessors advocate options to help taxpayers save on their tax bill. Assessments have been lowered so you can see some saving in the past years. Keeping in mind, if the taxpayers in the tax base are diminishing, then there is less revenue for any of the taxing bodies like your schools, police and fire departments, parks, libraries, community colleges and forest preserves. However, I continue to fight for seniors to be fairly treated with their Senior Assessment Freeze and minimize increases to their taxes in their retirement years. Every year, I review thousands of assessments to ensure neighborhood equity. I am constantly trying to arrive at resolutions that will lend to the best solution for all involved.
Exemptions: Check your tax bill for exemptions to see if you have all that is due to you. The list of exemptions include General Homestead exemptions, Senior Homestead exemptions (65 years or older) and Senior Assessment Freeze (based on income of $65,000 a year or under for the entire household), Disabled Person or Disabled Veteran, Returning Veterans and Home Improvement exemptions. If you are not sure which exemption you should have on your property or what is your current exemption, then call us during office hours and someone will be able to assist you in obtaining this information. Do you know anyone 65 years or older, then contact us ASAP!