Frequently Asked Questions
How can the value of my property have increased when I haven’t done anything to it for many years?
Property value, or market value, is determined by many factors besides home improvements. Improving neighborhoods, how many houses are for sale, and inflation also affect the value of your property. Even though your house isn’t for sale, it can be worth more because of these conditions. It is the Assessor’s job to determine what your property would be worth if it was now for sale.
Why do similar houses in different neighborhoods have different assessments?
Market values vary between neighborhoods. Location plays an important role in determining market values in a neighborhood. Several location factors determine whether a purchaser would pay more for a home in one neighborhood verses another. For example, distance from schools and commercial areas, quality and condition of surrounding properties, neighborhood amenities are things that make similar homes sell for different prices. The real estate market helps assessors determine values for similar homes in different neighborhoods.
My taxes are too high!
Your taxes might be too high, but that doesn’t mean your assessment is too high.
The amount of property taxes you pay is determined by the tax rate. The tax rate is determined by the taxing bodies. The taxing bodies are listed on your tax bill. In order to complain about the amount of taxes you are paying, you need to attend the meetings of the taxing bodies. Taxpayers also need to vote on any referendums that might increase the tax bill. If your property is assessed at 1/3 of its market value, the assessor is doing his or her job.
How do I know if the Assessor’s records show accurate information about my house?
You are welcome to review your Property Record Card to determine if the assessor’s information is correct. Someone in the office would be glad to show you the information and explain how your assessment was determined. We can also show you information on other properties. Most of the records in the Assessor’s office are public information.
If I paint my house, will the Assessor raise the assessment?
Most normal maintenance will not raise the assessment of the property. The assessor won’t review your home until the next quadrennial year. If the condition of the home is changed because you painted the home, the assessment could increase in the quadrennial year. If you get a permit to add something to the property, the Assessor must view and value the improvement. You would then be eligible for a Home Improvement Exemption.
What do I do if I don’t agree with the assessment of my property?
If you don’t agree with your assessment, you should first contact the Assessor’s Office to find out how your assessment was determined. We will let you explain why you feel your assessment is wrong. Someone from the office may need to view your home to determine the correct value. If you still don’t agree with your assessment you would file a complaint with the Board of Review.
How do I file a complaint with the Board of Review?
You must complete an appeal form to file a complaint with the Board of Review.
The appeal form requires you to list three comparable properties with assessments less than yours, three similar properties that sold for less the prior year or you can submit an appraisal. The Board of Review will hold a hearing with you and the assessor to determine the correct assessment.
What if I don’t agree with the Board of Reviews decision?
If you don’t agree with the Board of Reviews decision, you can file a complaint with the Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB). The complaint forms are available at the Assessor’s office, the Chief County Assessment Office or the PTAB website. The Property Tax Appeal Board will hold a hearing to determine the correct value.
Why are my neighbors taxes lower than mine if our houses are identical?
If the assessment of the two houses is the same, the neighbor must have more exemptions, or there are multiple taxing districts within your township, and your particular tax rate depends on what taxing bodies provide services to your property.
Is it too late to complain after I get my tax bill?
Yes. It is too late to complain about the assessment of the tax bill, but you should contact the Assessor’s Office to find out about the current year assessment.
If I purchase my home for more than it is assessed, will my assessment be increased to the sale price?
Not necessarily. Frequently amenities are listed that the Assessor had no record of (i.e., finished basement, extra bath, fireplace or remodeled kitchen/bath). The assessment would be increased to reflect the value added by those “extras.” Generally, properties are studied in neighborhoods, not individually. If other sales besides yours in the neighborhood were typically higher, then an assessment increase would be warranted. If the Assessor was to increase individual assessments because of sales, inequity would be created in the neighborhood.