How do I know what the current taxes are for my parcel?
The Champaign County Treasurer http://www.co.champaign.il.us/treasurer/treasurer.php is responsible for your tax bill. They have a Website to use to find the current taxes. Please follow the Champaign County Treasurer link above.
What are the different types of exemptions that are available?
Please see the Illinois Department of Revenue page https://www2.illinois.gov/rev/localgovernments/property/Pages/taxrelief.aspx
How can the value of my property increase when I haven’t made any changes to it for many years?
Property value, or market value, is determined by many factors besides physical improvements. Improving neighborhoods, how many houses are for sale, and inflation rates also affect the value of your property. Even though your house isn’t for sale. It can be worth more (or less) because of these conditions. It is the Township Assessor’s job to value all real property within Cunningham Township on a fair and equitable basis.
Why do similar houses in different neighborhoods have different assessments?
The houses are valued differently because their actual market values vary. The market values are different because the real estate market conditions are different. Location plays an important part in establishing market value. General location, distance from schools and commercial facilities, quality of surrounding properties, and neighborhood amenities are examples of factors that could and would cause a purchaser to pay more for a home in one neighborhood than in another.
What is the square footage, year built, etc. of my home?
The Township Assessor’s office has the information regarding the building on a property.
Can I examine the Township Assessor’s records to be sure they have the correct information on my house?
Yes. If you would like to review your Record Card, stop by your Township Assessor’s office. With a few specific exceptions, all assessment files are open to the public. Not only is information about your home available, but also the records about other homes in the area are also accessible. The Township Assessor’s personnel will help you retrieve the information needed, as well as answer questions regarding the assessment or how to read the information.
Does the Assessor raise the assessment if I paint my house?
No. Most normal maintenance of the home will not raise the assessment. Additions to the home, such as in ground swimming pools, decks, porches, or fireplaces, etc., may add considerable value to the home and may increase the assessment.
What do I do if I do not agree with the assessment?
The best place to start is by contacting the Township Assessor’s office or the Champaign County Board of Review in person or by phone. They will listen to why you feel there is a problem with the assessment, and explain their position. Most problems are cleared up after talking to the Assessor, but, if you are still not satisfied, a complaint may be filed with the Champaign County Board of Review. http://www.co.champaign.il.us/boardofreview/boardofreview.php.
Who is my Township Assessor and what does s/he do?
Your Cunningham Township Assessor is elected to a four-year term. They are the first step in the assessment process and have the responsibility of inspecting, listing and appraising your property. They are required to meet certain educational requirements before placing their name on the ballot.
How do I research my assessment to see if it is accurate and fair?
You can use the Cunningham Township Assessor’s webpage to find information on your assessed value and to inspect the assessor’s records, which contain assessed values as well as information on the square footage, lot size, age, sale information, etc. You may inspect the records for your property or any other parcel of property. This information is all available to the public, and we are constantly making updates to property records. Any discrepancy in property characteristics should be brought to the attention of the Cunningham Township Assessor’s office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have done my research and believe my assessment is inaccurate or unfair. What is my next step?
First, contact your local Township Assessor. They are most familiar with your property and the person directly responsible for the assessment of your property. Perhaps you can provide additional information regarding your property that would affect the assessment. If the assessor makes no adjustment, you should contact the Champaign County Board of Review to discuss your assessment.
The next step in the appeal process is the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board. This is a five-member panel that reviews the local Board of Review’s assessments.
What are the grounds for an appeal?
An assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher taxes. It is an attempt to prove that your property’s estimated market value is either inaccurate or unfair.
An appeal may be based on at least one (1) of three (3) things:
- The items that affect value are incorrect on your property record card. For example, you have one (1) bath rather than two (2), or you have 1,600 square feet not 2,000.
- The estimated market value is too high. (Market value can be determined by dividing your assessed value by .3333) You have evidence that similar properties have sold for less than the market value of your property or you recently purchased your property for less than the assessed value indicates.
- The estimated market value of your property is accurate but inequitable because it is higher than the estimated value of similar properties. You may note what homes are similar to yours and check their assessments at your assessor’s office. Compare the features of these properties to the features of yours. If there are differences, the values may be different.
If you believe that your assessment is incorrect, you should first talk with your assessor to review the information on file for your property. This informal review should be done sometime from January 1st until June 1st of the assessment year.
The purpose of an informal review should be to verify your property information, to make sure you understand how your value was estimated, to discover if the value is fair compared with similar properties in your neighborhood, to find out if you are receiving all exemptions you are entitled to and to understand how to file a formal appeal.
I have reviewed my property information and I still believe my assessment is wrong or inequitable, what’s next?
If the Township Assessor makes no adjustment, you will need to file an assessment appeal with the Champaign County Board of Review. The Board of Review is a three-member panel appointed by the Champaign County Board to review assessment appeals.
The complaint session for the Board of Review begins on or around July First (1st). The property owner has a minimum of 30 days from that date to file a formal complaint with the Board of Review. Specific forms are required to file a complaint. They are available at the Board of Review office, or on their website. Complaints not on the approved form will not be processed. There are separate forms for commercial, residential and farm properties.
The Board of Review examines evidence you have submitted and determines if the assessor has placed an accurate and fair value on the property. Evidence can be a number of things: a recent appraisal, sales in your area, photographs of the physical conditions, (if your issue is market value) or a chart of comparable property assessments (if your issue is equity).
Evidence that market value is too high may include a fee appraisal, a recent purchase documented by the closing statement, sales of similar properties in your township (you can obtain assessment information and property record cards for these properties at your Township Assessor’s office). The grid supplied for comparable properties requires three (3) similar properties. Supply pictures of your property and any properties that you feel are similar.
If you believe that your assessment is higher than similar assessments in your township, you must also use similar properties for your appeal. The process to check that you have been assessed similarly is to note the improvement assessment (not the land) and divide it by the square footage of the properties. Note that the properties must be similar in style (ranch, 2-story, split-foyer, etc.), age, and amenities for this method of comparison to be accurate because improvements take in additional features such as decks, garages, etc. which are not included in the square footage of the home. The properties’ assessments need not be exactly the same but if your assessment per square foot is substantially higher than similar properties, you may have the basis for an appeal even if the market value is correct.
**You will not win an appeal because you think your taxes are too high. Assessment officials can only determine assessments, not taxes.**
Will I be notified if my assessment changes?
Yes. Taxpayers are mailed a notice of change in their assessment reflecting Township Assessor and Chief County Assessment Officer changes. In addition, any changes in assessments must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in each Township. Every four years a complete list of all assessments has to be published. Taxpayers have a minimum of 30 days from the date of newspaper publication to file an assessment appeal to the Champaign County Board of Review. Appeal forms can be obtained from the Board of Review office.
When I get my tax bill, is it too late to appeal?
Yes, it is too late to appeal your assessment. We finalize our assessments around the end of each year. Final assessments are certified to the Illinois Department of Revenue and then forwarded to the Champaign County Clerk to begin the process of calculating the tax bills. At that point, our files are closed and it is too late to change assessments. However, it is possible that an error has been made in the calculation of your tax bill. For example, an exemption you qualify for may not have been applied on the bill. If you suspect an error, contact our office. It may be possible to correct the bill. An incorrect judgment or opinion on the value of your property is NOT justification for a corrected bill.
Are there any exemptions that provide property tax relief?
Yes. To review all exemptions and other available forms of property tax relief, see our exemptions page, or contact the Champaign County Supervisor of Assessments office if you would like additional information.
How is farmland assessed?
Illinois, like many other states, assesses farmland based on its agricultural use value rather than its market value. Section 10-115 of the Property Tax Code provides for an “agricultural economic value”. This value is based upon land use under average level management, relative productivity of soils, and the present worth of the net income accruing to the land from farm production.
In order to qualify for a special farmland assessment, Illinois law states the property in question must have been used as a farm for the previous two years. The statute defines farm as “any property used solely for the growing and harvesting of crops; for the feeding, breeding, and management of livestock; for dairying or for any other agricultural or horticultural use or combination thereof; … the keeping, raising and feeding of livestock or poultry,….fur farming.” A farmland assessment will not be given to property, which is primarily used for residential purposes even though some farm products may be grown or farm animals bred or fed on the property incidental to its primary use.
The assessment of real property, including farm property in Illinois, is the responsibility of your local county assessment officials. However, the law has assigned certain responsibilities to the State of Illinois, particularly the Illinois Department of Revenue. For example, the DOR is required to calculate soil productivity index use-value figures and certify them to county officials each year. These officials then apply the figures to the identified soil types on individual farms or parcels of farmland in order to establish an assessment.
For more information on the Farmland Assessment Law, contact the Champaign County Supervisor of Assessments.
Why are my taxes so high?
The amount of your tax bill is determined by two things – a property’s equalized assessed value and the applicable tax rates, which are dependant upon the level of spending of local taxing districts. If assessed values increase because of inflationary increases in property values, tax bills may not increase. If the taxing districts do not increase their levies, a general increase in assessed values means lower tax rates, and tax bills will not be affected. If taxing districts increase their levies, however, tax bills will increase regardless of changes in assessed values.
How can I freeze my taxes?
You cannot freeze your taxes, however; if you are 65 years or older, own and occupy your home, and have a total household income of $65,000 or lower, you can apply for the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption (SCAFHE). See the exemptions page.
When can I protest my taxes?
A property owner may object to all or any part of a property tax for any year by paying the taxes under protest and filing a tax objection complaint in circuit court. The complaint must specify objections to assessments, taxes, or levies. The court will hear the matter and make a decision. Generally, paying taxes under protest because the assessment is incorrect will not result in a favorable outcome if an appeal was not first filed with the Champaign County Board of Review.