- Mark D. Armstrong, CIAO, Kane County’s supervisor of assessments since 2006, has nearly 30 years’ experience in property valuation. Click here for more about Mark. To Ask Mark a question, email it to KaneSOA@co.kane.il.us or mail it to: Mark at 719 South Batavia Ave., Geneva, IL 60134.
In the first part of this two-part series of columns, Kane County Development & Community Services Department Director Mark VanKerkhoff offered 4 Really Good Reasons to Get a Building Permit if you’re thinking about a remodeling project in 2015.
VanKerkhoff also “asked Mark,” his colleague, Kane County Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong, to say why it’s also true that improving your home doesn’t translate to an increase in your property taxes. Here’s two answers to those questions, courtesy of Mark Armstrong.
Q: I own a single-family home, and I’d like to do a few projects in the spring: I want to put on a new roof, install new kitchen cabinets and we have been on the lookout for hardi plank siding in Atlanta. Will these projects increase my property taxes?
A: No. Work of this type, which is designed to prolong the life of existing improvements by replacing the original materials with similar materials, is considered maintenance and repair.
The Illinois property tax code specifically provides that “Maintenance and repairs to residential property owned and used exclusively for a residential purpose shall not increase the assessed valuation of the property.” In this way, the property tax code encourages owners to keep up with maintenance and make cosmetic improvements to their homes and does not reward people who do not.
Q: Our daughter is 14, and I would like to finish our basement so she can have a place to hang with her friends. I know that will increase my house’s value, but how soon will my taxes go up?
A: Not for several years because of the Homestead Improvement Exemption.
This exemption reduces taxable value attributable to the new basement finish for four years, up to $75,000 of new fair cash value.
For example, let’s say your new basement room adds $3,000 to your property’s taxable value in 2015. With the Homestead Improvement Exemption, this value will be exempt from taxation in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018; it will become taxable in 2019, and the taxes for that year won’t be due until 2020. Other types of new improvements may also qualify.
In general, the property must be the principal dwelling of the owner, and have new taxable improvements that increase the value of the home in order to receive this exemption. Perhaps the best part is that you don’t ever need to apply for it; if you have a new improvement for your home, your Township Assessor will certify the exemption to my office.