Who is the Assessor?
The Township Assessor is an elected official who is responsible for estimating the Market Value/Fair Cash Value of most properties within their township for use in the Illinois Property Tax System.
The Assessor is the only Illinois elected official that has educational qualifications and certification requirements prior to filing to run for the office.
What does the Assessor/Assessor's Office do?
The assessor's office establishes the "Market Value or Fair Cash Value" (the amount for which a property can be sold, not under duress, between a willing buyer and a willing seller) of all properties as of January 1 of each year. The property is then assessed at 33.33% of the Market Value, as directed by the Illinois State Statutes. The assessor must ensure that assessments are fair and equitable. No property owner should pay more than their fair share of the tax burden. Each year the assessor analyzes the property sales to determine which properties may need a change in assessment. There is no limit as to how much an assessment can change, up or down, because the goal is to have equitable assessments at 33.33% of market value.
The assessor's office also collects property information and stores this on a property record card. This will include structure information, amenities, a drawing and photos, etc.
In order to estimate the market value of a property, an assessor may utilize any one or more of the three approaches to value. These methods to value are: 1) Market Approach 2) Cost Approach and 3) Income Approach.
The Market Approach is most reflective of what real estate is selling for in a Township and is utilized whenever possible to value a property. The market approach works well with residential properties as there are typically numerous sales available annually.
The Cost Approach utilizes what it would cost to build a structure today. However, one must remember the cost to build may not be indicitive of the market value . Think of it this way, you might be able to construct your home for $100,000, but when valued by the assessor it has a market value of $130,000. This is because, based on recent sales, the Real Estate Market indicates the property would sell for more than what it cost to build.
The Income Approach would typically be used when valuing commercial and industrial properties. However, it is difficult for the assessor to obtain income data from property owners.
The Assessor does NOT determine property taxes
The assessed value is used to determine each taxpayer's share of the tax burden created by the units of local government who are funded by the property tax. see the Tax Cycle
What type of properties are assessed?
Assessors only assess real property, commonly known as real estate. In 1979 the State of Illinois did away with Personal Property. Real property is defined as land and any improvements to the site. This may include structures of any kind. Attributes that can impact an assessment are: location, lot size, structure size and style, basements (finished/unfinished), decks, patios, porches, number of bathrooms, fireplaces, age of structure, quality of construction and the condition. Structure square footages are based on exterior measurements.
Interior inspections are done by request, either by the assessor's office or the property owner. At times this is necessary to validate the current assessment. If after inspecting a property the assessor's office adjusts the value due to condition, this value will be held for one year and the assessor will request a follow up inspection to see if the issues that lowered the assessment have been remedied. These properties are monitored annually until the property is brought back to average condition.