Jeri J. Barr
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The Grant Township Assessor’s Office is CLOSED
Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be a growing concern around the world and remains an extremely fluid situation. We feel it is important to temporarily limit public access to allow for social distancing to ensure we are protecting each other and eliminating exposure to the public.
Due to the current situation, the Chief County Assessment office at the County Building, 18 N County St, Waukegan on the 7th floor is also CLOSED.
Senior Freeze forms are not due until July 1, 2020
The Senior Citizen's Assessment Freeze Renewal Notice letter mailing has been postponed. No date for the mailing has been determined.
The big change this year is a paper copy of the PTAX-340 Assessment Freeze Application form will not be included in the mailing to senior citizens. The County has elected to have the annual renewal application be completed on-line.
To ensure our Seniors stay safe & healthy we encourage you to file for the Senior Freeze Exemption from your home computers. We have instructions on our website to help you through the process. Please call or email us if you need assistance. The Grant Township Assessor’s office will also be taking appointments for those who do not have access to a computer or someone to help them once it is safe to do so.
If you have the ability to have someone help you from home, please do so and allow our office to help the people who truly need our assistance.
There is no need to rush in.
Qualified Seniors Encouraged to Apply for Senior Freeze Exemption
Property owners age 65 and older who have total household incomes of $65,000 or less are encouraged to apply for the Senior Citizen’s Assessment Freeze. This program may reduce property tax bills by freezing the property's equalized assessed value, which impacts the total tax bill. It does NOT freeze taxes, but it protects a property owner from tax increases due to rising property values.
Even if a property owner has applied for and been granted the freeze exemption in prior years, the application must be renewed annually.
All Lake County residents who have a Senior Homestead Exemption should receive a letter in the mail with information about the program and how to file online. The County is no longer accepting paper applications.
However, Grant Township has the paper form Illinois PTAX-340 here and we will still help you fill it out and then file it online for you. We can also walk you through the online process over the phone. Download copy of form here
Who Should Apply:
To apply for the senior freeze exemption, the applicant must:
- Be 65 years or older
- Have a total household income of $65,000 or less for 2019
- Have owned and occupied the home on Jan. 1, 2019 and Jan. 1, 2020
How to Apply Online:
In 2020, all applications must be submitted online
- Have a copy of your 2019 tax return handy, as well as your property PIN number
- Go to the Chief County Assessment Office Smart E-Filing Portal at www.assessor.lakecountyil.gov
- Log in to your account, create a new account, or log in as a guest
- Click “Available Filings” and choose “EX – Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption”
- Click “Begin Filing”
- Enter the tax year, 2020, and your property PIN, and follow the instructions
- Note that while you do not need to submit proof of income, the Chief County Assessment Office may ask for additional information from you when reviewing your application.
- If the property is owned in trust, proof of beneficiary of the trust may also be required.
Where to Get Help Completing the Online Application:
Assistance is available from the Chief County Assessment Office, here at Grant Township, and at the three Senior Freeze Assistance Days in April at the College of Lake County in the University Center, please refer to your letter for tentative dates and times. Please call ahead to confirm office hours and staff availability prior to your visit.
What if I qualify one year and do not qualify the next year?
If you qualified for this exemption in any given year, but in a subsequent year did not qualify, you will not continue to receive the exemption. However, the base year value remains in effect in the event that you qualify for the exemption again (as long as you remain in the home).
The Grant Township Assessor is responsible for a fair and uniform system of property valuation that will equitably distribute the revenue requirements of our local governments among the township property owners.
- Value all non-exempt properties
- Assist in filing Senior Homestead Exemptions
- Assist in filing Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemptions
- Distributes literature concerning assessment and tax bill process
- Provides information requested for Assessment Appeals
- Homeowners Exemption (monitor and grant for owner occupied residential properties)
- Home-Improvement Exemptions (monitor qualifying properties for $75,000 full market value or $25,000, assessment reduction)
- Request tax bill address changes
- Assist in filing agricultural valuation
- Free notary public for Grant Township residents
- Tax bill amounts
- Cross-reference of permanent real estate number and address
- Name and address supplied for properties applying for variances
- Attend both County and State level hearings for properties within Grant Township
- Adjust assessment for factual errors in documentation and records keeping of all real estate transfers
- Educating property owners on the complex property tax system
- Visit, photograph and measure all properties in the township to continually update records
- Recording/Follow-up on all permits issued
From the Assessor...
Please call or visit our office for assistance with filing for exemptions:
- Senior Homestead
- Disabled Homestead
- Home Improvement
- Returning Veteran
- Senior Assessment Freeze
- Disabled Veteran
If you are filing for the first time, please bring your photo ID showing the address for the exemption you are applying for.
The assessor's office provides information for and represents the township during assessment appeals at the county and state level.
We also provide literature regarding the assessment and tax bill process.
We welcome all Grant Township property owners to visit the office with questions and we will be happy to share information regarding the process of determining your assessment.
Assessment Appeal Process for 2019
2019 is a quadrennial re-assessment year. All properties are required to be viewed and values adjusted based on the previous 3 years of sales in your neighborhood. This years's assessments will be based on qualified sales from 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Due to the across-the-board increases applied by the County Assessor for the past 3 years (which totaled 27.38% increase) we will be adjusting neighborhoods up and down based on sales data.
As I have explained over the past 3 years, some neighborhoods are still too low and many are too high. Annual changes to assessments should not be done across the board. The CCAO, Martin Paulson, is retiring effective May 13, 2019. Let's hope that his replacement will allow Township Assessors to do their jobs each year without interference.
Tax bills for 2019 payable in 2020 will be mailed from Lake County on May 1, 2020. The first installment is due on or before 6/6/20. The second installment is due 9/6/2020. Unfortunately, you can NOT appeal your property taxes. You can appeal your assessment during the 30 day appeal period each year. Make sure you are getting the exemptions you are entitled to.
Assessment Appeal Process
Property owners have an annual opportunity to appeal their assessments to the Lake County Board of Review. Property owners who question their assessments are encouraged to contact our office with evidence to support their contention prior to filing an appeal with the county to see if it can be resolved without a hearing.
An Assessment Appeal does not address the amount of the property tax bill. It is an attempt to prove the assessed value overstates the property's value, or is higher than the estimated value of similar properties.
If a property owner believes their property is over assessed, Grant Township has a new website www.imslake.org which is your best and most accurate resource for viewing property characteristics and generating grids. Prepare a grid to support your claim. When choosing comparables, you should use only similar properties in your neighborhood. A ranch is not a good comparable to a two story home - the characteristics, baths, basement, and square footage of living area should all be similar to your property. Bring the grid to the township or you may come in and we will help you prepare one.Click HERE for instructions.
One of the better forms of evidence is a recent appraisal or sale of the property and we will be happy to review a copy of yours to help determine assessed value.
We are required by law to use the previous 3 years sales (which for the 2019 assessment will be 2016, 2017 and 2018) to determine assessed value.
You do not have to retain the services of an attorney to protest your value. You can do this free of charge by following these guidelines:
During the appeal process you may:
Drop off your evidence for review at our office 8:00am to 4:30pm Monday - Friday.
E-mail your evidence to our office. JBarr@granttwpassessor.com
Set-up an appointment to meet with the assessor or staff member for information or assistance with the appeal process. We will make every effort to accommodate all property owners who may not be able to come to our office during normal office hours.
File your appeal with the county.
2019 Assessment notices will be mailed sometime in August or September.
During the appeal period, you may submit evidence that your assessment is incorrect. Now you can file on Lake County's smartfile E-Filing Portal. When you are at the comparable section of the portal, go to the attachements tab at the top of the page and upload your previously generated grid from www.imslake.org as evidence. Do not use the comparable grid in Smartfile as this data does not contain the most current and accurate data for Cuba, Ela, Grant, Libertyville and Vernon Townships.
You can not appeal your TAXES - only your ASSESSMENT
When you receive your tax bill in May, 2020 your 1st installment is payable by June 6, 2020.
Check the lower left hand section of you bill. Under Taxing Body, you will see the amount of your property tax paid to each taxing body and the change from the prior year is the increase or (decrease) in the amount payable to the taxing body listed. This is to show you where your money goes.
Typically we hear from many homeowners during the month of May who are unhappy with their property tax bill. My suggestion has been and still is to contact the taxing body with comments/questions so that they are aware of your concerns when they are working on their levy for the next year.
We do not determine or control the amount of property taxes you must pay.
Taxes are the result of spending, not assessments, and if spending doesn't go down, taxes won't go down either.
Property taxes exist because of local government spending. Taxing bodies schools, villages, townships, county, police and fire districts, libraries, park districts, ect. depend on property tax revenues to provided local services. Each year they submit a request for property tax funds, known as the "levy". The combined "levies" actually create the tax burden, while assessments simply divide up that tax burden in an equitable way. So if government spending and the "levy" requests do decrease, most of us will see no relief in our tax bills. In fact, if levies go up because of increased spending, tax bill can actually go up, even when assessments go down.
To understand why, we have to look at the basic tax formula:
Levy divided by assessed value = Tax Rate
The levy is the amount of tax dollars that your taxing bodies request. The assessed value is the total of the assessments in the taxing district. The Tax Rate is nothing more than the calculation: the result of diving the LEVY by the ASSESSED VALUE. Taxes go up because Levies go up. Assessed values and tax rates are just the tools used to divide up the total tax burden created by the combined levies of our local taxing bodies.
Here is how it works - Our taxing body requests $100,000 (the Levy), and total assessments are 2,000,000. The tax rate now is .0500 ($100,000 divided by 2,000,000) If your assessment is 10,000 then your taxes will be 10,000 x .05 or $500. "If property values go down, won't my taxes go down?" Let's see...Our Taxing body is still requesting $100,000 (the Levy) but total assessments are 1,8000,00, down 10%. The tax rate now becomes .0556 ($100,000 divided by 1,800,000). If your assessment is 9,000 (down 10%), then your taxes will be 9,000 x .0556, still $500. Taxes didn't change - even though assessments went down - because the LEVY didn't change. The Levy drives the tax bill.
What if the levy increases but my assessment goes down?
The Levy is $110,000, 10% more, and assessments are 1,800,000, down 10%. The tax rate is .0611 ($110,000 divided by 1,800,000). If your assessment is 9,000 (down 10%), then your tax bill will be 9,000 x .0611 =$550. Up 10% like the levy, not down 10% like your assessment. The Levy drives the tax bill.
Generally, taxes do not go up because of increasing assessments and they will not go down with declining assessments. On an individual basis, if one assessment goes down substantially more than others, that one property owner may see more relief in their taxes, the tax burden has been redistributed. If one assessment doesn't change when most go down, that tax bill may increase - the tax burden has been redistributed. But, if assessments all decrease by a similar amount, there will be absolutely no change in your tax bill unless the levy changes.
Levies go up because local government spending goes up and taxes go up because Levies go up - even when assessments go down. Assessments and tax rates do not change the tax burden, they only distribute the tax burden that is created by the levies.
The only way to control taxes is to control local government spending.