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Assessment appeals begin in Coral Township

Residents of Coral Township have 30 days to appeal their property tax assessments.

If you live in Hartland Township, you have until the close of business today.

The deadline to appeal for property owners in Coral Township, which includes Union and a sliver of Marengo is Oct. 29. Property owners have a 30-day window to appeal from the day their township assessments are published. These assessments, or one-third of a property’s value, determine the owner’s share of taxing districts’ extensions for property tax bills due in 2013. The township’s assessments were published today in the Northwest Herald.

Call your township assessor or visit to learn more about how to file an appeal.

All but five of the county’s 17 townships have published their assessments, and the appeal deadline for four of them has passed. The next deadlines are Nunda Township on Oct. 9, Dorr Township on Oct. 12, and McHenry Township on Oct. 15. The townships include all or parts of Woodstock, Crystal Lake, Bull Valley, Prairie Grove, McHenry, Holiday Hills, McCullom Lake, Ringwood, Wonder Lake and Johnsburg.

Assessment challenges are filed with the county and go before a board of review to determine whether, and by how much, assessments should be lowered.

Reducing your assessment does not mean that a taxing body receives less money. Because your assessment dictates your share of a taxing district’s levy, all other property owners in that district have to make up the difference if your assessment is lowered. Likewise, you pick up an equal share of the slack for every other successful appeal in that taxing district.

The number of property owners challenging their assessments has leaped by record amounts in recent years as property tax bills have increased despite significant drops in home values. McHenry County fielded 8,893 assessment appeals last year for this year’s property tax bills, up 51 percent from 2010. The 5,885 appeals filed that year were up 40 percent from 2009.

Taxing bodies on next year’s taxes will be able to collect 3 percent more than they did this year under the tax cap. This inflationary increase is double the 1.5 percent on this year’s taxes.

The tax cap, which is supposed to rein in local government spending by limiting how much more they can collect to the rate of inflation, helps government and hurts taxpayers when property values fall. When values decline, a possibility state lawmakers never considered when they capped the collar counties in 1991, the tax cap works against taxpayers by guaranteeing that taxing bodies can collect the inflationary increase if they choose to take it.

Townships that have not yet set a date to publish their assessments are Algonquin, Grafton, Marengo, Riley and Hebron.

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