Understanding How Your Property is Assessed
Some think that the job of the Assessor is to tax people. But nothing could
be further from the truth..
In fact, the Assessor neither sets nor collects taxes. The Assessor is responsible only for the mass-appraisal and valuation of all real property in his or her jurisdiction. The goal of this process is equity and accuracy in assessments, which in turn distributes any property tax burden (levied annually by your area's taxing bodies) fairly over all property owners.
This process is mandated by statute; the State of Illinois requires that property assessments be done "ad valorem" ("according to value"). The Assessor must:
- Assess all classes of property to meet the statutory overall assessment level of 33.3333% of market value
- Discover, inspect, and record all real property in the Township
- Assess properties accurately and uniformly with like properties
- Work with property owners on issues of value and, if necessary, defend assessments at appeal hearings
These duties involve a range of tasks. Field inspections, sales studies, database management, and statistical studies are all part of the Assessor's responsibilites, as are market research, trending, data analysis, and the development and application of uniform cost tables. The Assessor may be assisted in these duties by his or her deputy assessors. These duties drive the annual assessment process.
The assessment process has multiple components. Every year, the Assessor's Office must inspect all new construction and assess it. New homes, additions to existing homes, decks, porches, and a range of other improvements require field work to record property characteristics and determine correct assessments. At the same time that new construction is being inspected, the Assessor's Office must also monitor the market values and assessments of existing properties and, if necessary, reassess them. Typically, all properties in the Township are reassessed every four years. However, issues of equity or accuracy may necessitate the reassessment of specific neighborhoods, property classes, or even individual properties outside of the four-year cycle. Additionally, once the Assessor's books are closed each year, all assessments are finalized by the Kane County Supervisor of Assessments and Board of Review, a process which includes the application of annual township-wide Assessment Equalization Factors.
All classes of property are subject to an annual township-wide Assessment Equalization Factor, which typically increases all assessments by some percentage each year. The Equalization Factor is based on the Kane County Supervisor of Assessments' annual sales ratio study. Each year, the Supervisor of Assessments determines the overall median level of assessments for a particular township.. If the overall level is below the state-mandated level of 33.3333%, then the Supervisor of Assessments must recommend a township-wide Assessment Equalization Factor for the Township Assessor to apply to all assessments in his or her jurisdiction.
Following the application of the Equalization Factor, the County publishes all non-Factor assessment changes in a local newspaper and sends notices to the property owners in question. This annual publication date (which varies from year to year) begins the 30-day assessment appeal filing period during which property owners, if necessary, may appeal their assessments to the Kane County Board of Review. Note that only assessment changes resulting from reasons other than the annual township-wide Equalization Factor are published in the newspaper and have notices of reassessment mailed..Since most assessment changes in a typical assessment year result only from the township-wide Equalization Factor, this means that most homeowners will not receive a notice of reassessment nor will their assessments be published in the newspaper.
The above-mentioned assessment appeal process allows property owners to protest their assessments directly to the Kane County Board of Review. The best way to start, however, is by calling the Assessor's Office to discuss your assessment. Many times assessment issues can be addressed or corrected right at the Assessor's Office with no need for an appeal to the Board of Review. However, if after discussing your assessment with us you still disagree with your assessment, you still have the right to appealing the assessment to the Board of Review.
Property owners who file an appeal with the Kane County Board of Review receive a formal hearing before the Board at which they can present evidence supporting their claim. The Assessor's Office also attends the hearing to explain how the assessment was determined. The Board then decides the case based on the evidence presented. If the property owner disagrees with the decision, they then have the right to appeal to the State of Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.
The above is merely a summary of the Assessor's tasks in fulfilling his or her assessment duties. Once the assessment process is completed and finalized, the County Clerk derives property tax rates based on the property tax levies submitted by the taxing bodies for each area (such as school districts) and the total assessed value for each area. The new tax rates and assessments are then used to determine individual property tax bills. By that point, however, the Assessor is already well into the work of the new assessment year as the assessment process begins anew.