The Chief County Assessment Officer gave a presentation to the county board at our recent meeting explaining details around the assessment process, and specifically the equalization process, which has led to in an increase in 2016 assessments.
It’s important to note that the “equalization factor” can result in an increase to your assessment, but it does not necessarily result in an increased tax bill next year. Board members also asked many questions that may help taxpayers understand this complex issue a little better.
Property owners in Ela Township may have questions as to why their 2016 assessments increased to 4.99% compared to last year. The entire property tax process is defined in State law and it dictates that each year, the Illinois Department of Revenue (DOR) provides its analysis of the assessment level in a township using recent sales transactions. The next step in the process is for the CCAO to apply a township “equalization factor” when market sales are higher than the assessment value levels in place to bring them to a uniform level.
The equalization factor ensures the tax burden is distributed fairly from township to township by bringing assessment values in line with market values. Conversely, in general assessment years - the next one will be in 2019 - your township assessor will review individual assessment values and make adjustments.
If everyone’s assessment went up (by any percentage) and taxing bodies (schools, cities, townships or county) did raise their taxes, the equalization itself would not impact your tax bill. This is complicated because some taxing bodes overlap multiple townships, but essentially, the equalization factor ensures the tax burden is distributed fairly from township to township.
There are opportunities to appeal an assessment if you meet certain criteria. To learn more, contact your township assessor. You can also visit assessor.lakecountyil.gov, or call the office and talk to one of the taxpayer advocates. Please note, the deadline to appeal is 30 days after the date of publication of current assessments, which is Sept. 26 for Ela Township properties.