Assessor’s Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Does DeKalb Township have Individual Property Information available online?
Q. Why are my taxes so high?
A. Property taxes are based on 2 factors: 1.) The Assessed Value of your property, 2.) The Tax Rate (the amount of money being spent by the various taxing bodies). The Assessed Value is set by the Township Assessor using mass appraisal techniques, and distributes the tax burden among the property owners. The actual dollar amount of the tax bill depends on the amount of money budgeted by the School District, Local Community Colleges, Park District, City, County, etc. All property tax dollars are used locally by these taxing bodies to educate children, maintain streets and county roads, provide recreational facilities, provide for fire safety and response, and many other services which our community depends on.
Q. Why do my taxes keep going up?
A. Assessed values, which reflect a percentage of market value, have increased over the past few years, in response to increasing prices in the real estate market. Assessment increases alone don’t mean higher taxes, but when they are combined with increased spending by local taxing bodies, individual tax bills will go up.
Q. Will I be notified if my assessment changes?
A. Yes, if your property is re-assessed by the Township Assessor, you will receive notice of assessment change in the mail. The new assessment will also appear in the paper. If the only change to your assessment is due to a multiplier or equalization factor (usually applied township-wide, based on sales data), the factor will be published in a local newspaper, but no individual notices will be sent. In DeKalb County, all such notifications and publications are handled by the Chief County Assessment Officer (Supervisor of Assessments).
Q. What can I do if I disagree with my assessed value?
A. First, contact your township assessor’s office for an explanation of your assessment. The assessor will probably ask you for data supporting your opinion of your property’s value. Such data could include such things as comparable properties with supporting sales data, a recent appraisal of your property, or a request for inspection if poor condition is claimed. You may also file a complaint with your local Board of Review, on forms available at the Chief County Assessor’s Office. Such a complaint or appeal must be filed, per state law, within 30 days of the publication of the assessment list in the local paper. The Board of Review must hear your appeal and make a ruling. If you are then dissatisfied with the Board of Review’s ruling you may further appeal to the State of Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, OR you may take your appeal to the Circuit Court (but you may not do both).
Q. I just got my tax bill. Is it too late to complain about my assessment?
A. Yes, it is too late to complain about your assessment (for the tax bill in your hand), unless you filed an appeal with the Board of Review (during the complaint period). You MAY be able to pay your taxes under protest and present objections to the circuit court, However, a favorable ruling is unlikely unless you have exhausted the appeal process (i.e. filed a complaint with the Board of Review). If you disagree with your assessed value, you Must file an assessment appeal within 30 days of the publication of assessments in the local paper. You must take action no later than 30 days after the publication of assessments in order to have any effect on your next tax bill.
Q. What will happen if I don’t pay my property taxes?
A. If you do not pay your property taxes when due, the delinquent taxes will by sold by the county. You will then have a specific period of time within which you may redeem your property taxes. You WILL have to pay penalties and interest. If the sold taxes are NOT redeemed within the time frame set in State Statute, the buyer of the delinquent taxes may apply for a tax deed to the property. If the buyer of your delinquent taxes applies for and is granted such a deed that person will then OWN the property. For specific questions about delinquent tax sales please contact the DeKalb County Collector’s/Treasurer’s Office, 110 East Sycamore Street, Sycamore, IL 60178, phone – (815) 895-7112.
Q. My neighbor’s house is just like mine. Why are his/her property taxes so much lower than mine?
A. Property tax amounts are difficult to compare for several reasons, i.e. the number of allowable exemptions for each property or the potential for each property to be in a different taxing district. Instead of comparing taxes, property owners should only compare the assessed values of like properties. If you live in a ranch and your neighbor lives in a two- story home, they are not like properties. Like properties are similar in terms of age, square-footage of living space, style of construction and amenities. As for exemptions, for more specific information see Property Tax Exemptions.
Q. I’m about to buy a house for more than 3 times the current assessed value. Will the Assessor raise my assessment based on that sale?
A. No, it is illegal in the state of Illinois to “chase sales” or revalue based on individual sale of properties, either up OR down. Assessors in Illinois use mass appraisal techniques, such as a sales ratio study, to determine the median value of groups of like properties. Property value will only be looked at individually, at the request of the owner of that property, if sufficient information is provided by the property owner to merit a review by the Assessor.
Q. What is General Re-Assessment?
A. General (formerly quadrennial) Re-Assessment refers to the physical inspection of every property, revaluing where necessary, within an assessor’s jurisdiction, done, at a minimum, once every four years (except in Cook County).
Q. My neighbor told me a deck won’t increase my assessment as long as I don’t attach it to my house. Is this true?
A. This is NOT true. A deck is assessed, as it is a structure permanently attached to the land, whether or not it is actually attached to your house.