Chief County Assessment Office
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can the value of my property have increased when I haven't done anything to it for many years?
- Property value, or market value, is determined by many factors besides home improvements. Improving neighborhoods, how many houses are for sale, and inflation also affect the value of your property. Even though your house isn't for sale, it can be worth more because of these conditions. It is the township assessor's job to determine what your property would be worth if it was now for sale.
- 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, 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 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 Rock Island County Board of Review.
- Who is my township assessor and what does he/she do?
- Your 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.
- 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. You may appeal when you can prove at least one of three things:
- Items that affect value are incorrect on your property record card
- The estimated market value is too high. You have evidence that similar properties have sold for less than the estimated market value of your property.
- The estimated market value of your property is accurate but inequitable because it is higher than the estimated value of similar properties.
- How do I research my assessment to see if it is accurate and fair?
- You can use the Rock Island County assessment search page to find information on your assessed value. Contact your township assessor 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.
- I have done my research and believe my assessment is inaccurate or unfair. What is my next step?
- First, contact your local township assessor. He/She is 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 CCAO office so we can review the assessment.
If no adjustment is made here, you will need to file an assessment appeal with the Board of Review. The Board of Review is a three member panel appointed by the Rock Island County Board to review assessment appeals. The Board of Review examines evidence you have submitted and determines if an accurate and fair value has been placed on the property by the assessor or CCAO. 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).
The next step in the appeal process is the State Property Tax Appeal Board . This is a five member panel that reviews the local Board of Reviews assessments.
Note: 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 assessor and CCAO changes. In addition, any changes in assessments must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county. Every four years a complete list of all assessments has to be published. Taxpayers have 30 days from the date of newspaper publication to file an assessment appeal to the 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 Dept. of Revenue and forwarded to the Rock Island 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 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 Property Tax Relief page, or contact the CCAO 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 by law, certain responsibilities have been assigned to the State of Illinois, particularly the 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 Chief County Assessment Office.
- Why are my taxes are so high?
- The amount of your tax bill is determined by two things - a properties 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 bill 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 $55,000 or lower you can apply for the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption (SCAFHE). This will freeze the assessed value you are taxed on, so if your township revalues your property you continue to pay taxes on the amount it was valued at when you signed up for the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption (SCAFHE).
- 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 county board of review.
- When are the tax bills due?
- Contact the Treasurer's Office or visit the Treasurer's "Property Tax Bill" webpage.
- Where can I get information on tax sales?
- Contact the Treasurer's Office or visit the Treasurer's "Property Tax Bill" webpage.
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