Deadlines nearing for townships' tax bill appeals

Deadlines are looming in August for property owners in five McHenry County townships to appeal their assessments.

Owners in Grafton Township have until the end of business Monday, and the deadlines arrive throughout the month for property owners in Alden, Coral, Hebron and McHenry townships.

Property owners have 30 days from when their township’s assessments are published in a newspaper of record to appeal if they so choose. The deadlines for four townships – Greenwood, Hartland, Richmond and Seneca – have passed.

The record number of appeals that the McHenry County Assessor’s office has received in recent years has prompted it to ask the county’s 17 township assessors to push up their timetables. The office has received the assessment books from five other townships for review, which likely will be published this month, Supervisor of Assessments Robert Ross said.

“We’re in a good position because the assessors have gotten their work in early. We’re in a much better position than we’ve been at this time before,” Ross said.

In past years, the first townships typically weren’t ready to publish until late July. Last year, the two largest townships by population, Algonquin and Grafton, did not publish until the end of October and mid-November. This resulted in a last-minute deluge for the Board of Review because those two townships made almost half of the appeals it had to process.

Assessments, or one-third of a property’s value, determine a property owner’s share of county, municipal, school, township and other taxing districts’ extensions for property-tax bills due the next year.

Property-tax bills cannot go out until the value of every parcel in the county is finalized.

Last year the county fielded almost 10,000 assessment appeals for this year’s tax bills. Frustrated property owners have broken consecutive records as property-tax bills have stayed the same or increased despite the fact that home values have plummeted.

By comparison, a decade ago, the county received only 677 appeals.

The tax cap, which was meant to help taxpayers by keeping taxing bodies to an inflationary rate of increase, hurts taxpayers when property values go down. When values decline, a possibility that state lawmakers never considered, the cap ensures that governments can receive the inflationary increase if they so choose.

While some governments have spurned the increase, many others have taken it. The rate of inflation taxing bodies will be able to use for next year’s bills is 1.7 percent.

Assessments for Nunda and Dorr townships should be published over the next few weeks, with Chemung, Dunham and Riley townships to follow later this month, Ross said. His office has not yet received the assessment books from Algonquin, Marengo and Burton townships.

A new state law would allow Ross, if needed, to seize a township’s books and finish the job if they are not turned in by the Oct. 15 deadline.

The second and final installment of 2012’s property-tax bills payable this year is due Sept. 5.

Tax appeal deadlines

Deadlines are approaching for property owners in several McHenry County townships to appeal their assessments.

• Grafton Township property owners have until Monday.

• Alden Township property owners have until Aug. 19.

• Coral Township property owners have until Aug. 21.

• Hebron Township property owners have until Aug. 28.

• McHenry Township property owners have until Aug. 30.

The deadlines for property owners in Richmond, Greenwood, Seneca and Hartland townships have passed.

On the Net

Visit co.mchenry.il.us/departments/assessments/Pages/UnderstandingAssessments.aspx for information on the property-tax process, as well as information on how to appeal an assessment.

Source: McHenry County Office of Assessments

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