Every tax season, three Kane County leaders get together and publish answers to those pesky Frequently Asked Questions about the property-tax bills we get in the mail.
- RELATED ARTICLE: Property-Tax Bill Arriving in Mail; Due June 2 and Sept. 2
What’s kind of cool — and smart — is that government officials actually communicate with each other and publish the same information. Frankly, it wasn’t always that way. In years past, each department would publish its own set of FAQs, written by its own staff and published separately on the various web pages and printed materials distributed by the department heads or elected office-holders.
Now, Kane County Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong, Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham and Kane County Treasurer David Rickert co-author and co-publish one, simple FAQ letter for folks to peruse at their leisure.
Here are some of those fun facts for the 2013 Kane County property tax bills payable in 2014:
Q: My assessed value declined; why did my tax bill go up?
A: Your taxes may be higher than they were last year for any or all of four general reasons:
- The local governments (such as schools and municipalities) in your area may have approved a higher tax levy than last year.
- While most properties in the county have a lower value than last year, the rate of decline can be different. If your property’s value declined at a faster rate than the average decline in your area (say 20% as compared to an 8% average), your relative tax burden will be less than it was last year. If your property’s value declined at a slower rate than the average decline in your area (say 5% as compared to an 8% average), your relative tax burden will be more than it was last year.
- You may not be receiving all homestead exemptions for which your property is eligible.
- Other properties in your area may qualify for one or more homestead exemptions for which you are not eligible.
Q: Where does the property tax money come from?
A: It comes from all types of property, according to its proportional value of the total property in the County:
Q: Where does the property tax money go?
A: The largest portion goes to the school districts; the remaining portions go to the other local governments in the County:
Q: Does Kane County decide how much in property tax that the local governments (such as
schools and municipalities) in my area can levy?
A: No; each local government makes this decision independently. Kane County has no authority to issue any property tax levy but its own.
Q: Did Kane County increase its property tax levy over last year?
A: No. The 2012 extended levy for Kane County government was $53,906,247.94; in 2013, it dropped to $53,890,709.29.
Q: How is my property’s assessment determined?
A: For most non-farm property, the Township Assessor estimates the fair cash value of the property, and then develops an assessed value based on 33.33% of that fair cash value of the property as of Jan. 1 of the assessment year, based on the three prior years of sales. The Supervisor of Assessments then equalizes all assessments to provide for uniform valuations in the County. Information about farm assessments can be obtained from the County Assessment Office.
Q: How does the Tax Cap law apply to Kane County?
A: Kane County is under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law which places a limitation on the total amount of property tax that can be levied by most local governments. Generally, the law limits the increase of a local government’s tax levy by 5% or the rate or inflation (whichever is less) over the highest levy of the prior three years. This law provides that a local government’s property tax levy is developed independent of property values, and property taxes can rise or fall regardless of what happens to property values. Also, it does not apply to:
- Increases due to newly constructed property;
- Bonded indebtedness of a local government;
- The Home Rule Communities of Aurora, Algonquin, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Batavia, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elgin, Hoffman Estates, St. Charles, and West Dundee; and
- Increases approved by the voters through referenda.
Q: What will happen if I don’t pay my property taxes?
A: Your taxes may be sold at the annual tax sale, which is held in October of each year. If your taxes are sold, you will retain the right to redeem your property for two and one-half years if it is your principal dwelling. Other property must be redeemed within two years. To redeem it, you will have to pay costs and interest in addition to any tax due. For more information, contact the County Clerk’s Tax Redemption Department.
There is a ton of additional, interesting information on that FAQ link. Click right here to see it.
We’ll follow up with specific information on School District and municipal tax information in a later post.