FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
What role do property taxes play?
Property taxes have played a major role in financing government since Illinois' early days. In fact, until the depression of the 1930s property taxes were the main source of funding for state government. Today, however, only local governments levy and collect property taxes.
Approximately 6,800 local government units (e.g., municipalities, townships, counties, schools, park districts) use property taxes to finance the majority of services that they provide to their citizens. The largest share of local property taxes (57-percent) goes to school districts for education. Other public services include police and fire protection, street maintenance, and recreation.
What is Illinois' property tax cycle?
The property tax cycle in Illinois generally extends over a two-year period. A tax year is the year of assessment and reflects the value of real property as of January 1 of that year. The actual tax bills are paid in the year following the tax year. For example, taxes on a 1999 assessment are paid in 2000.
How is real property assessed in Illinois?
The required assessment level for tax purposes on any parcel of real property in any county is 33 1/3 percent of the property's fair market value, excluding farmland and farm buildings.
How is farmland assessed?
A parcel of land used for agricultural purposes for at least two consecutive years is eligible for a preferential assessment. Farmland is assessed based on its agricultural economic value (AEV) (i.e., its ability to produce income) rather than on 33 1/3 percent of its fair market value. The AEV is a calculation of an average of prices paid for agricultural products, production costs, and interest rates that are charged by the Federal Land Bank over a five-year period.
Department of Revenue value all farmland in the state based upon its productivity, taking into account the land's actual use, slope, erosion, flooding, and other factors that affect productivity. These values are certified to all counties.
Farm buildings are assessed at 33 1/3 percent of their contributory value to the productivity of the farm. Farm homesites and residences are assessed at 33 1/3 percent of their fair market value.
What is a multiplier?
Non-farm property is, by law, supposed to be assessed at one-third of its market value. However, due to differences in assessing methods and changes in the real estate market from year to year, assessed values for a jurisdiction do not always meet this statutory requirement. When overall assessments in a jurisdiction are determined to be above or below the statutory level (based on annual sales-ratio studies of actual sale prices compared to assessed values of properties), a multiplier (factor) is applied to all non-farm assessments in that jurisdiction. The result is that assessments overall in that jurisdiction are now at the statutory level and the taxing districts that generate property tax revenue from those assessments now have the proper base on which to levy.
How do I appeal the multiplier applied to my property?
Whenever multipliers are applied to individual assessments within a local jurisdiction (such as a township), an assessment notice is mailed to the property owner. If the property owner feels that the multiplier has caused the property to be overvalued, then an appeal may be filed (within 30 days) to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB) to contest the increase in assessed value caused by the multiplier. Please note that evidence of overvaluation must be submitted with the appeal form. The appeal form is available here.
Is there a year-by-year history of all the township multipliers in the County?
For a list of Capital Township multipliers, click here. For a listing of all township multipliers in the county, click here.
What is the difference between the assessed value, market value, and equalized value of a property?
The market value, or fair market value, is the estimated full value of the parcel should that parcel sell in a normal, arms-length transaction. The assessed value is one-third of the market value, as estimated by the assessor. The equalized assessed value is the assessed value, as determined by the assessor that has been adjusted with a multiplier (discussed above). The equalized assessed value forms the basis for property tax bills and is the value from which all applicable homeowner exemptions are deducted.
Will I be notified if my assessment is going to change?
Yes. Any change in real property assessments must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in each county every year. Every four years when all property is reassessed, a complete list of assessments must be published for notification purposes. In addition, taxpayers must receive a mailed notice of any changes in their assessment from the previous year, unless the change was due to the application of an equalization factor by an assessor. Banks, savings and loans, and other mortgage lenders also are required to forward copies of all assessment change notices to affected borrowers.
When is my property reassessed?
All non-farm properties are reassessed once every four years. Individual parcels may be reassessed more frequently if there are new properties added from new subdivisions, etc., physical changes in a property, or corrections that need to be made.
How can I tell if the assessor has placed a fair value on my property?
Once you have verified that the information on your assessment record is accurate, you can use one of two methods to quickly determine whether or not your assessment is fair.
The first method is to compare the fair market value of your property with recent sales of similar properties in your neighborhood. The fair market value of your property is defined as the price you would accept if a willing and able buyer would offer to purchase your property at today's prices. This method is appropriate if you have either recently purchased your property on the open market or obtained a professional appraisal..
The second method is to compare the assessed value of your property with similar properties in your neighborhood to determine uniformity in assessments. You can get the assessed value of your property from the township or multi-township assessor. You have the right to inspect the assessment record for any parcel of property subject to reasonable regulations set by local officials.
How can I compare my assessment with other properties?
All assessment information is a matter of public record and you may access this information by contacting your township assessor or by researching much of this information through the Sangamon County website. If you are unable to locate the information you are seeking, please contact your township assessor for assistance.
I am unable to find an address on the Property Tax Search option. What am I doing wrong?
Here are a few tips on searching by address:
- A numbered street must be entered with 2 digits. For example 1st Street will be found by entering 01st Street.
- Most streets, avenues, roads, boulevards, etc. are spelled out, not abbreviated.
- If you had entered with a direction and were unable to find the parcel, try again without the direction.
- Some streets are entered as the street name only, ie Monroe Street is just entered as Monroe.
What can I do if I think my assessment is unfair?
If your property is outside Cook County, you can file a complaint with that county's board of review. If you are dissatisfied with the board of review's decision, you may appeal to the State Property Tax Appeal Board.
Note: If you think your assessment is unfair, it is important to pursue administrative remedies discussed above in a timely manner. Your "notice of assessment change" form lists the filing deadlines. Once you receive your bill, it is generally too late to challenge your assessment.
How do I appeal the assessed value of my property?
Please note here that you are appealing the assessed value of your property and not your property taxes. If you feel your property is valued incorrectly, you should start by contacting your township assessor. Review the property information with your assessor to be sure all information is correct. If you have had a recent purchase or have had an appraisal done for your property, you may also provide this to your assessor for review. If you cannot resolve your differences with the assessor, you may then file an assessment complaint with your local county's Board of Review. The appeal documents are available in the Supervisor of Assessment’s Office and the filing period is typically held between July 1 and September 10 of each year. Check with your Supervisor of Assessments Office to verify your filing period. As with the multiplier appeal previously discussed, evidence must be filed with your complaint to support your position. A set of detailed rules for filing an assessment complaint is available in the Supervisor of Assessments Office.
Why did my property value increase when all I hear on the news is that property values are dropping?
While it is true that nationwide many areas are experiencing severe drops in property values, Sangamon County values have remained stable. This is partially due to over-inflated property values in some parts of the country – even within Illinois – that was not experienced here in Sangamon County. Additionally, when determining the equalization factor, the Board of Review and the Illinois Department of Revenue are using assessment values from three previous years, not the current year. For example, the 2008 (payable 2009) equalization factor averaged 2005, 2006, and 2007 assessment-to-sales data.
What factors determine the amount of property tax I will pay?
Your tax bill is based on two factors:
- the EAV of your property, and
- the amount of money your local taxing districts need to operate during the upcoming year (i.e., levies).
The assessment on your property is set by local officials and is merely a method of fairly distributing the tax burden among all property owners in your community (i.e., the tax base). Your tax bill can remain the same or decrease even though your assessment is increased if the tax base increases or the taxing districts do not increase their levies. Conversely, your tax bill can increase even though your assessment remains the same or decreases if the tax base decreases or the taxing districts increase their levies.
Why are my taxes increasing?
Individual taxes may increase for a number of reasons. The most common reasons are: 1) the tax rate for some (or all) of the individual taxing agencies has increased; 2) the assessed value of your property increased; or 3) an exemption which was applicable in a prior year is no longer applicable.
How are tax rates calculated?
All taxing agencies (school districts, townships, fire protection districts, etc) file an annual levy with the County Clerk that details the property tax revenue that is needed to meet budget requirements. The County Clerk uses these levy amounts with the overall taxable value of each agency to calculate a rate that will be applied to each property within each agency. There are many and various statutory guidelines that govern this process, including limits and restrictions on the rates and the amount of revenue each agency may receive.
For which year am I paying property taxes?
Taxes paid in one year were accrued from the prior year. For example, taxes paid in 2009 were accrued in calendar 2008 based on the value of the property as of January 1, 2008.
I received my property tax bill and don't understand what it means?
Here is an illustrated example of a Sample Property Tax Bill with explanations.
How do I get a duplicate tax bill?
Contact the Treasurer's Office, at (217) 753-6800.
My mortgage company pays my tax bills. Why did I get a bill?
Many mortgage companies pay electronically, and do not require a bill. We suggest that you contact your mortgage company to confirm. A bill is mailed to you for your records. Many park districts and libraries require you to show your tax bill for proof of residency.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Board of Review, you may, within 30 days of the notification mailed to you by the Board of Review, file an appeal to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB). As a final step, should you be dissatisfied with the decision of PTAB, you may file an appeal in circuit court.
How can I change my mailing address on my tax bill?
You may contact the Supervisor of Assessment's Office or click here to download the form.
I did not live in my home for all of the tax year, so why am I paying the property taxes?
Please refer to your closing papers. Typically, at a closing, you will be given a proportionate allowance for the months you did not have ownership of the property and this allowance is to be used by the new owner when the property tax bill comes due.
How can I get the square footage and/or the year my house was built?
If you are in Capital Township (City of Springfield), you may contact the Capital Township Assessor's Office or click here for a listing of other township assessors.
How can I get a Senior Citizen's Freeze on my assessment?
You may contact the Supervisor of Assessments's Office to apply for a freeze on your assessment.
How can I apply for a Homestead Exemption?
You may contact the Supervisor of Assessment's Office to apply for the exemption or click here for the application.
Who do I contact for:
Will I receive another tax bill for the second due date?
Property taxes are due in two installments, but only one notice is sent. Separate bills are not mailed for the second installment. Failure to receive your bill, or receiving it late for any reason, does not relieve the taxpayer of penalties if taxes are not paid by the due dates.
What do I do if I receive a bill and my mortgage company pays my taxes?
If a mortgage company pays your real estate taxes, please forward this bill to them. However, many mortgage companies pay tax bills electronically and no longer need a paper copy of the bill.
What if I sold the property?
If you are not the present owner of this property, please forward the bill to the owner.
What if the bill says I have a refund coming?
If you are due a refund, please contact the Treasurer’s Office for instructions. Refunds are not automatic and need to be verified and documented.
How do you pay your taxes?
You may pay each installment separately or both at the time of the first installment. CASH, PERSONAL CHECK, CASHIER’S CHECK OR MONEY ORDERS are acceptable. The detachable coupon from the tax bill must accompany all payments. Please write your parcel number on the front of your check. Please make checks payable to TAX COLLECTOR. If paying by mail, retain the top portion of the bill for your records. If paying in person, bring the entire bill with you. Tax payments are delinquent if they are not received (or postmarked) by the due date FOR ANY REASON. The collector is not liable for erroneous payments.
What if I pay my taxes late?
A 1.5% per month interest is charged on all late payments. Interest is calculated by the month, not by the day
What if I don’t pay all of my taxes?
NONPAYMENT of your property tax will result in accruing interest, additional fees, reduced payment options, publication in the newspaper and taxes sold or forfeited by court order.
Will I get a receipt?
Your cancelled check is your receipt. When you provide a check as payment, you authorize us either to use information from your check to make a one-time electronic fund transfer from your account or to process the payment as a check transaction.
Will my check be deposited promptly?
All checks will be deposited when received, including post-dated checks.
Do you take third party checks?
We do not accept third-party checks
What happens if my check is returned by the bank?
Payment is void if not honored by your bank. A $25 charge will be assessed for all returned checks. Checks will be deposited a second time and taxes will remain unpaid until valid payment is made. If a check is returned for insufficient funds and remains unpaid for 10 days, it will be referred to the States Attorney’s Office for collection.
Where do you pay your taxes?
Tax payments for the FIRST INSTALLMENT may be made to either your Township Collector or the Treasurer’s office. Tax payments for the FIRST or SECOND INSTALLMENT can be made as follows to the Treasurer’s office:
How do I pay by mail?
Payments may be mailed to:
PO Box 19400
Springfield, IL 62794-9400
Who do I make the check payable to?
Please make checks payable to TAX COLLECTOR. DO NOT SEND CASH IN THE MAIL
Can I pay in person?
Tax payments can be made in person at Room 102, Sangamon County Complex, 200 S. 9th St., Springfield, Illinois during regular business hours (Monday thru Friday, 8:30 AM- 5:00PM). Public parking is available for a nominal fee in the lot directly across 9th Street.
Is there a Drive thru Facility?
Taxes can be paid for a period of five business days prior to each installment due date at the drive thru facility at Sangamo Chapter Credit Union, 310 South Grand Avenue East, Springfield, Illinois during their normal business hours.
Can I pay using the Internet and my bank information?
Log on to tax.co.sangamon.il.us to pay taxes by E-Check. Use the search function to find your property. Click on the pay now button to pick the parcel you want to pay and then follow the prompts. E-check requires a bank routing number and an account number for either a checking or savings account.
Can I pay using a Credit Card?
Log on to www.illinoisepay.com and follow the prompts. A convenience fee will be charged based on your tax amount. The county receives no portion of this fee. Call the Treasurer’s Office for current non-internet credit card payment options. The availability of credit card payments is subject to change without notice.
What If I don’t have access to the internet?
Credit card and e-check payments can be made in the lobby of the Treasurer’s office at 200 S. Ninth St. during normal business hours.
Can I pay over the phone using a Credit Card?
Call 1-877-455-3729 and follow the prompts. You will need your parcel number and payment amount. A convenience fee will be charged based on the amount paid.