Everyone thinks their property taxes are too high, but are they really? And what should you do if they are?
Property Tax Factors
Your property tax amount is influenced by two factors. One you can contest; the other you cannot. You can appeal the assessed of the value of your property, which is the amount the township determines your home is worth. You cannot contest the tax rate, which is the amount every home’s assessment value is multiplied by to get the property tax amount. Even if you can get the assessed value decreased, your total tax bill may go up if the tax rate is increased.
Discovering Assessed Value
The first step in dealing with your property taxes is to determine the assessed value. Assessed values are not published on the same day each year, so it is important to continually check the papers and website for the publishing dates. For York Township, for example, the assessor’s office says they are typically published any time from August to December. Your assessed amounts are only published in the paper if there was a dramatic change. If you do not see your property listed, that means that your assessed values were subject to the same increase or decrease as the majority of the properties in the township. There are 3 ways to discover the assessed value of your home:
- Go to the township website. In Elmhurst, you are in York Township (630-627-3354) if you are south of North Avenue and Addison Township (630-530-8161) if you are north of North Avenue.
- Look in local papers. Papers that publish the assessed values include the Elmhurst Press, the Lombardian, and the Villa Park Review.
- Call your LW Reedy Realtor. They’d be happy to look it up for you.
2013 Dates to Remember for York and Addison TownshipsYork Township: Assessed values published August 20, 2013. Filing deadline: September 23, 2013.
Addison Township: Assessed values expected to be published the first week of September. Watch the website. Filing deadline: 30 days after assessments are posted.
Evaluating Your Assessed Value
How do you know if your home is assessed at a reasonable amount?
- Multiply the assessed value by 3 to get the estimated market value of your home, or how much you think it might sell for if it were on the market today.
- Ask your local LW Reedy Realtor to run a report of comparable properties for you so you can compare your estimated market value against similar homes in your area. Your Realtor will find at least 3 homes that are of the same style as your home, have similar square footage, and are in the same neighborhood. Comparisons must be with homes that have been sold within the past 3 years. For example, if you are reviewing your assessed value today, the assessor’s office would consider homes sold in 2010, 2011, and 2012. They might consider one from January of 2013.
- If you’d prefer to do your own research, check assessed values of other properties in your neighborhood on the township website. Be sure the neighborhood code for the homes you are comparing against are the same as your neighborhood code and that the homes you are comparing against are of the same style and similar square footage. Assessed values are public information.
The Appeal Process
How do you appeal?
- Go to the township website to determine the deadline for appeals.
- Print the Board of Review Appeal form (residential).
- Call the township office and let them know that you’re going to be appealing the taxes and that you will be coming by to drop off your papers. It’s always a good idea to find out if there is a time that the office is the least busy.
- At least a week prior to the deadline, stop by the township office in person to deliver your appeal forms and comps. The deputy may not need your forms. They may simply look at the comps and make a decision at the time. They may also take your forms and say they will get back to you. Alternatively, it is also possible that they will ask you to mail the forms to the county tax office.
What happens next?
If you do not receive a decision on the spot, you will receive a decision from the township by phone within about a week of your request for review. If you are not happy with their initial offer, you have the opportunity to appeal at the county level. The county will set up a time for you to appeal before the Board of Review. However, it is important to note that any reduction offer made by the township assessor may be taken off the table if it is not accepted.
Property taxes are a large piece of the budget for home owners. It’s your responsibility to keep tabs on the amount you are being charged. Take the time to check it out. You could end up saving a lot of money. Check in with your LW Reedy Realtor with any questions. They’re always ready to help.