Sterling Township
© Sterling Township 2015
Frequently Asked Questions We hope the following questions and answers will prove valuable to you. The list below represents many of the most commonly asked questions we receive from the residents of Sterling. Remember that we welcome the opportunity to serve you and answer any other questions you may have. Feel free to contact us if you need additional help. Q: Who pays the property tax ? Residential Commercial Industrial Farms Railroads Minerals Q: What is Market Value ? “Market value” is the most probable sale price (in terms of money) in a competitive, open market. This is under the assumption both buyer and seller are acting prudently and knowledgeably, and allowing sufficient time for the transaction which is not affected by undue pressures. In Illinois, most real property must be assessed based on its market value. The Illinois Property Tax Code uses the term “fair cash value” to describe market value.  Q: How does my assessment relate to market value ? State of Illinois requires that all property be assessed at one-third (33.3%) of market value for property tax purposes. To determine your home’s market value, based on the assessment, simply multiply your equalized assessed value by three. Q: What is the “Supervisor of Assessments Equalized Assessed Value" ?  The state property tax code requires that the Supervisor of Assessments apply an equalization factor to all property within a township (except for farmland or farm buildings) to make assessment levels uniform among Whiteside County’s 22 townships. This factor can increase the valuation, decrease the valuation, or leave it unchanged. The “Supervisor of Assessments Equalized Assessed Value” is your property’s valuation after equalization is applied. Your tax bill is calculated by applying a tax rate to this equalized value.  The equalizer is generally available the end of August/ beginning of September each year and is published in the local newspaper. Q: What is Tax Rate ? The amount of tax due, stated in terms of a percentage of the tax base. Tax rates are based on the levies of various local government taxing districts which include counties, townships, municipalities, school districts, special districts, etc.  Once each taxing body determines its budget and sets its levy, they file for their tax extension with the County Clerk. The County Clerk must calculate each taxing body's levy against its total Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) to derive the tax rate. The individual tax rates for each taxing body that serves your area form your overall tax rate; you can see the elements of your tax rate listed on your tax bill. Q: How is my tax bill calculated ? Your property tax bill is calculated as follows: Final Equalized Assessed Value minus Exemptions X Current Tax Rate = Total Tax Bill. Q: What is exemption ? An exemption may only be a portion of the equalized assessed value, such as a homestead exemption, or for the complete amount of the equalized assessed value, such as a church building used exclusively for religious purposes.  There are a number of different exemptions that are for a portion of the equalized assessed value and these can be taken advantage of only if qualifications are met. EXEMPTIONS AVAILABLE TO HOMEOWNERS: Q: Can I get assistance with the submission of Exemption forms? The Sterling Township Assessor Office can help with the Senior Renewal Exemption and the Senior Freeze, and these exemptions must be submitted yearly.  Application forms are not necessary for the Home Improvement Exemption.  All other exemptions, including the first time Senior Exemption, must be completed in Morrison at the Courthouse in the Office of Supervisor of Assessments.  The Sterling Township Assessor’s office is available to assist with and notarize Senior Renewal Exemption forms and Senior Freezes Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. and/or will get the forms to Morrison; they are due July 1.  The Sterling Township Assessor’s office staff is also present on Mondays at the Senior Center in Sterling from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. to assist with Senior Renewal Exemption forms and Senior Freezes.  Homeowners can get permits from the City or County when improving or demolishing a property.  A permit prompts the City or County to notify the Assessors office which initiates a field inspection to verify the details of the demolition or new construction.  To qualify for the Home Improvement Exemption the property must be owned and used exclusively for a residential purpose and be your permanent full time residence.  Assessed Values are modified to account for demolition and/or any new construction to your property that increases its market value.  If there is new construction, the Home Improvement Exemption is then processed. Submission of forms for the Home Improvement Exemption is not necessary. Q: Where do my taxes go? Property taxes are levied, collected, and spent locally to finance a major part of the services that units of local government provide to their residents. Services provided by the property tax: Education Municipalities Counties Parks Sanitary Districts Township Governments Other Special Districts Local government units (e.g., municipalities, townships, counties, schools, park districts) use property tax to finance the majority of services that they provide to their citizens. The largest share of local property tax (62 percent) goes to school districts for education. Other public services include police and fire protection, street maintenance, and recreation. Q: How can assessments go up if the market isn’t going up ? Even in a down market, assessments can rise for the following reasons: By state law, assessments reflect the past three year’s sales and are based on a valuation day of January 1st of the current year. Therefore, they would not reflect the current market conditions. If you had a recent addition or improvement to your property, the assessment will change accordingly. On homestead property a home improvement exemption will be granted for 4 years, this reduction will be reflected on your tax bill Q: What can I do if I feel I am being over-assessed ? The first step is to determine if your assessment is out of line with the market by using an appraisal, or reviewing sales of comparable homes. Remember that these sales should have occurred within the prior three years. If your assessment reflects a value higher than the market, contact the Whiteside County Supervisor of Assessments office. Q: How do I file a Complaint with the Board of Review ? All complaints (appeals) to the Board of Review must be submitted in writing within 30 days of township publications which is typically September or October. Q: Will my assessment increase because I recently purchased my home ? Typically, your assessment will not be increased simply based on a recent sale. Assessments generated for taxation purposes are to be valued using mass appraisal techniques, not on an individual property basis. This means we are required to look at trends in the market of similar homes. An individual sale may have unique influences that do not apply to other homes. Q: Why does my neighbor pay different taxes when we have similar homes ? It is important that you compare assessed values instead of tax bills. 1) There are different exemptions available and they do not apply to all taxpayers. Your neighbor’s taxes may be lowered due to an exemption that you are ineligible to receive. 2) Newly constructed homes are assessed based on a completion date. If the house was completed in the middle of a calendar year, the home will be assessed on a prorated basis for that first tax billing cycle. 3) Even if you have the same model of home as someone else, the property’s value can vary due to location and amenities. Developers often make upgrades/options available to their base homes. We need to account for these differences. Q: What will happen to my assessment if I put on an addition or add an improvement ? Any new construction to your property that increases its market value must be reflected in your assessed value. This may include decks, patios, sun rooms, finished basements, expanding living space, etc. Our office receives copies of building permits which initiates a field inspection to verify the details of the new construction. To qualify for the Home Improvement Exemption the property must be owned and used exclusively for a residential purpose and be your permanent full time residence.  The State of Illinois allows for an exemption on these improvements for a term of 4 years. The adjustment for this exemption will be applied on your tax bill. There is a $25,000 cap in assessed value (or $75,000 if full value) on the amount of value to be exempted.

Marcy Lawrence, Assessor

108 4th Avenue

Sterling IL 61081

815.625.7410

assessor@sterlingtownship.com

 

 

Assessor Office

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Frequently Asked Questions We hope the following questions and answers will prove valuable to you. The list below represents many of the most commonly asked questions we receive from the residents of Sterling. Remember that we welcome the opportunity to serve you and answer any other questions you may have. Feel free to contact us if you need additional help. Q: Who pays the property tax ? Residential Commercial Industrial Farms Railroads Minerals Q: What is Market Value ? “Market value” is the most probable sale price (in terms of money) in a competitive, open market. This is under the assumption both buyer and seller are acting prudently and knowledgeably, and allowing sufficient time for the transaction which is not affected by undue pressures. In Illinois, most real property must be assessed based on its market value. The Illinois Property Tax Code uses the term “fair cash value” to describe market value.  Q: How does my assessment relate to market value ? State of Illinois requires that all property be assessed at one-third (33.3%) of market value for property tax purposes. To determine your home’s market value, based on the assessment, simply multiply your equalized assessed value by three. Q: What is the “Supervisor of Assessments Equalized Assessed Value" ?  The state property tax code requires that the Supervisor of Assessments apply an equalization factor to all property within a township (except for farmland or farm buildings) to make assessment levels uniform among Whiteside County’s 22 townships. This factor can increase the valuation, decrease the valuation, or leave it unchanged. The “Supervisor of Assessments Equalized Assessed Value” is your property’s valuation after equalization is applied. Your tax bill is calculated by applying a tax rate to this equalized value.  The equalizer is generally available the end of August/ beginning of September each year and is published in the local newspaper. Q: What is Tax Rate ? The amount of tax due, stated in terms of a percentage of the tax base. Tax rates are based on the levies of various local government taxing districts which include counties, townships, municipalities, school districts, special districts, etc.  Once each taxing body determines its budget and sets its levy, they file for their tax extension with the County Clerk. The County Clerk must calculate each taxing body's levy against its total Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) to derive the tax rate. The individual tax rates for each taxing body that serves your area form your overall tax rate; you can see the elements of your tax rate listed on your tax bill. Q: How is my tax bill calculated ? Your property tax bill is calculated as follows: Final Equalized Assessed Value minus Exemptions X Current Tax Rate = Total Tax Bill. Q: What is exemption ? An exemption may only be a portion of the equalized assessed value, such as a homestead exemption, or for the complete amount of the equalized assessed value, such as a church building used exclusively for religious purposes.  There are a number of different exemptions that are for a portion of the equalized assessed value and these can be taken advantage of only if qualifications are met. EXEMPTIONS AVAILABLE TO HOMEOWNERS: Q: Can I get assistance with the submission of Exemption forms? The Sterling Township Assessor Office can help with the Senior Renewal Exemption and the Senior Freeze, and these exemptions must be submitted yearly.  Application forms are not necessary for the Home Improvement Exemption.  All other exemptions, including the first time Senior Exemption, must be completed in Morrison at the Courthouse in the Office of Supervisor of Assessments.  The Sterling Township Assessor’s office is available to assist with and notarize Senior Renewal Exemption forms and Senior Freezes Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. and/or will get the forms to Morrison; they are due July 1.  The Sterling Township Assessor’s office staff is also present on Mondays at the Senior Center in Sterling from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. to assist with Senior Renewal  Exemption forms and Senior Freezes.  Homeowners can get permits from the City or County when improving or demolishing a property.  A permit prompts the City or County to notify the Assessors office which initiates a field inspection to verify the details of the demolition or new construction.  To qualify for the Home Improvement Exemption the property must be owned and used exclusively for a residential purpose and be your permanent full time residence.  Assessed Values are modified to account for demolition and/or any new construction to your property that increases its market value.  If there is new construction, the Home Improvement Exemption is then processed. Submission of forms for the Home Improvement Exemption is not necessary. Q: Where do my taxes go? Property taxes are levied, collected, and spent locally to finance a major part of the services that units of local government provide to their residents. Services provided by the property tax: Education Municipalities Counties Parks Sanitary Districts Township Governments Other Special Districts Local government units (e.g., municipalities, townships, counties, schools, park districts) use property tax to finance the majority of services that they provide to their citizens. The largest share of local property tax (62 percent) goes to school districts for education. Other public services include police and fire protection, street maintenance, and recreation. Q: How can assessments go up if the market isn’t going up ? Even in a down market, assessments can rise for the following reasons: By state law, assessments reflect the past three year’s sales and are based on a valuation day of January 1st of the current year. Therefore, they would not reflect the current market conditions. If you had a recent addition or improvement to your property, the assessment will change accordingly. On homestead property a home improvement exemption will be granted for 4 years, this reduction will be reflected on your tax bill Q: What can I do if I feel I am being over-assessed ? The first step is to determine if your assessment is out of line with the market by using an appraisal, or reviewing sales of comparable homes. Remember that these sales should have occurred within the prior three years. If your assessment reflects a value higher than the market, contact the Whiteside County Supervisor of Assessments office. Q: How do I file a Complaint with the Board of Review ? All complaints (appeals) to the Board of Review must be submitted in writing within 30 days of township publications which is typically September or October. Q: Will my assessment increase because I recently purchased my home ? Typically, your assessment will not be increased simply based on a recent sale. Assessments generated for taxation purposes are to be valued using mass appraisal techniques, not on an individual property basis. This means we are required to look at trends in the market of similar homes. An individual sale may have unique influences that do not apply to other homes. Q: Why does my neighbor pay different taxes when we have similar homes ? It is important that you compare assessed values instead of tax bills. 1) There are different exemptions available and they do not apply to all taxpayers. Your neighbor’s taxes may be lowered due to an exemption that you are ineligible to receive. 2) Newly constructed homes are assessed based on a completion date. If the house was completed in the middle of a calendar year, the home will be assessed on a prorated basis for that first tax billing cycle. 3) Even if you have the same model of home as someone else, the property’s value can vary due to location and amenities. Developers often make upgrades/options available to their base homes. We need to account for these differences. Q: What will happen to my assessment if I put on an addition or add an improvement ? Any new construction to your property that increases its market value must be reflected in your assessed value. This may include decks, patios, sun rooms, finished basements, expanding living space, etc. Our office receives copies of building permits which initiates a field inspection to verify the details of the new construction. To qualify for the Home Improvement Exemption the property must be owned and used exclusively for a residential purpose and be your permanent full time residence.  The State of Illinois allows for an exemption on these improvements for a term of 4 years. The adjustment for this exemption will be applied on your tax bill. There is a $25,000 cap in assessed value (or $75,000 if full value) on the amount of value to be exempted.
© Sterling Township 2015
Sterling Township

Marcy Lawrence, Assessor

815.625.7410

assessor@sterlingtownship.com

 

 

Assessor Office

When    reassessment    notices    are    mailed    in    the    fall    we    start getting   calls   from   property   owners   whose   first   words   are   “My taxes    are    too    high!”    or    “Why    did    you    raise    my    taxes!”        The Township   Assessor   DOES   NOT   RAISE   YOUR   TAXES.   The   job   of the   assessor   is   to   come   up   with   a   fair   market   value   of   all   the property    in    the    township.    From    that    fair    market    value,    the assessment    is    computed    as    33.33%    of    that    value.    All    of    the assessments are given to the     Supervisor     of     Assessments     in     the     county     seat     for equalization   and   then   to   the   County   Clerk.   The   County   Clerk   has been   provided   all   the   levies   from   the   taxing   bodies   and   the   tax rate   is   determined   by   dividing   the   Total   Levy   by   the   Equalized Assessed   Value.   Finally   the   tax   rate   is   applied   to   each   individual assessment to come up with individual tax bills. If   you   look   at   this   chart   you   will   see   who   levies   for   tax   monies and what percentage of your bill they receive.