Washington Township Assessor
(708) 946-2116 fax
Responsibilities of the Assessor
To assess means to determine the value of something. A Township Assessor usually an elected official, who determines the value of property for tax purposes. The Assessor does not estimate or compute the Real Estate Taxes, does not send out Tax Bills, and does not collect Property Taxes. The Assessor is responsible for the fair and equitable appraisal of every parcel of property in their jurisdiction
The Township Assessor keeps Property Record Cards that contain all the pertinent information about each parcel. The information includes; a brief legal description, land size, dimensions of all buildings, building type, and quality of materials used in construction of the structure. Most of this information is gathered when the property is first built and then updated after that by periodic field inspections. Property Record Cards are available for inspection by contacting the Assessor’s Office. Some of this information is available on line through this website.
The Township Assessor also receives copies of the Real Estate Transfer Declarations or "green sheets" for homes that have sold in the area. This sales information, along with other facts and figures about housing conditions, goes into the evaluation process. By comparing recent sales of homes in a neighborhood the Township Assessor estimates how much all homes in that area would be sold for on the open market. This is their Market Value. Market Value as used in the appraisal of real estate is defined by the Appraisal Institute as:
"The most probable price, as of a specified date, in cash or in terms equivalent to cash, or in other precisely revealed terms, for which the specified property rights should sell after reasonable exposure in a competitive market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, with the buyer and seller each acting prudently, knowledgeably, for self interest, and assuming that neither is under duress"
The appraisal of the property is made by using all of this data to apply the three commonly used approaches to value; Cost, Income Capitalization and Sales Comparison Approach. The three estimates of value are then tempered by the Assessor's experience and judgment into a final estimated value.
The basis for all assessments and reassessments is Market Value (occasionally the terms "full value" or "fair cash value" are used. According to Illinois State law, all property in Illinois (except Cook County) should be assessed at 33.33%, or one third of Market Value. This is known as the level of assessment. For example, if a home could be sold for $330,000, the Assessed Valuation would be approximately $110,000 ($330,000 x 33.33%). Once the Market Value of a property is determined, the Township Assessor places the value of the property at the required percentage, which results in the Assessed Valuation.
The Assessed Valuation is the base, which other county, city, township, and village officials use when they determine property taxes.
The Property Tax Cap
The Property Tax Extension Limitation Act (Property Tax Cap) is a direct result of the skyrocketing property taxes in Will County and other counties throughout the state.
The Property Tax Cap limits the increase in property tax levies to 5% or the percent increase in the national Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.
The levy is the money requested by the various taxing bodies to operate for the coming year. Even though Tax Caps are in effect in Will County, individual tax bills could increase more than 5% for any of the following reasons.
- A new building is constructed on the property.
- An addition is put on an existing building.
- Home rule units of government increase their levies by more than 5%.
- If the property was reassessed due to changes in the market.
- A tax exemption is lost.
Outside of these reasons, if your local taxing district requires more than a 5% increase in revenues, then the taxing district will have to go to the people in the form of referendum and ask your permission to raise your taxes.
Exemptions Available to Homeowners
- Residential Exemption
- Home Improvement Exemption (H.I.E.)
- Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption
- Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze
A Residential Exemption is available to all property taxpayers residing in their own homes as of January 1st of the taxing year. The Residential Exemption reduces the Equalized Assessed Value. The current amount of this exemption is $6,000. In most cases the Residential Exemption is automatically applied to each parcel eligible.
You should check the last line of your tax bill to ensure that this exemption is in place. If it is not shown please call our office to have the situation corrected.
Home Improvement Exemption (H.I.E.)
The H.I.E. is available to homeowners who have made a physical improvement to their property. I.e. added a deck or sunroom, built an in-ground swimming pool, finished a basement, etc. This tax break exempts up to $75,000 in Market Value ($25,000 Assessed Value) in improvements made to a property. The improvements will not be added to your Assessed Value for 4 years from the date of completion; i.e. a deck completed in 2016 should be added to the Assessed Value of that property for 2017. This addition will not be included in your Assessment until the year 2016, tax bill payable in 2017. Our office automatically applies this exemption after the inspection by Township field personnel.
Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption
The Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption is available to all taxpayers residing in their own homes as of January 1st of the taxing year and who have reached or will reach the age of 65 at any time during that year. This exemption will further reduce the Equalized Assessed Value of the property. The current amount of this exemption in Will County is $4,000. Homeowners may apply for this exemption at our office at Washington Township Center. The form requires a proof of ownership (Warranty Deed or Trustees Deed etc.) and a proof of age (Driver's License or Birth Certificate etc.) and must be signed and notarized.
The Homestead application is typically mailed by the County in March. If you would like any assistance filling out the application, we will be happy to assist you. In order to help you, please call for an appointment and bring your income tax records with you to our office.
Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze
This Assessment Freeze is for qualified seniors with a total household income of $65,000 or less in the previous calendar year. The freeze is applied to the Equalized Assessed Value of the year in which the senior turns 65. Applicant must occupy the property as their principal residence and be liable for paying the taxes. The Freeze is applied to the Assessment only, not the taxes. Taxes may increase or decrease depending upon the local tax rates. The Freeze is only on existing improvements and land.
If new improvements are constructed or additional land added, then the Assessment of this newly added property is added to the "frozen" Assessment. As property values in Washington Township increase and tax rates fluctuate minimally you could have substantial savings in just a few years. An application and affidavit of income must be completed and filed each year with the County Supervisor of Assessments.