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Supervisor of Assessments: Frequently Asked Questions

Common Assessment Concerns

How is market value determined?

I feel I was not treated courteously at a Board of Review hearing. What can I do?

Is Peoria County over-valuing property because of budget concerns?

My taxes are too high.

Should rental properties be considered differently than owner-occupied properties due to their condition?

The Board of Review does not explain the assessment process or its decision.

What is the relationship between the Supervisor of Assessments and the Board of Review?

Why don't they take the housing market slump into consideration when assessing property?


Common Assessment Concerns

How is market value determined?

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue's guide, "The Illinois Property Tax System" Value is a complicated concept with many definitions. Most real property in Illinois must be assessed based on its value on the open market, or its "market value." This value is the amount at which a property would sell in a competitive and open market, presuming that *Both the buyer and seller are knowledgeable about the sale and are using sound judgment by allowing sufficient time for the sale *The sale is not affected by undue pressures (e.g. foreclosure, bankruptcy) One or more of the following three methods is used to determine market value: *Market data - Similar, neighboring properties that have sold recently are compared to the property being assessed. *Cost - The cost to reproduce (or rebuild) the property is calculated, an amount for depreciation is subtracted, and land value is then added. *Income - The present worth of the income from an income-producing property is calculated by measuring the amount, quality, and durability of the future net income the property can be expected to return to an investor.

I feel I was not treated courteously at a Board of Review hearing. What can I do?

Steps are being taken to address this issue. Each Board of Review hearing is recorded. Further, staff recommends amending the Board of Review Rules to include instructions for filing a timely complaint regarding potential discourteous treatment.

Is Peoria County over-valuing property because of budget concerns?

Budget, or a need to maintain tax base, has no bearing on decisions made by township assessors, county assessors, or the Board of Review. Each case is decided on its merit regarding equity and fair market value. Taxing districts set levies each year that determine the amount of money they require to operate that year. Township assessors are responsible for valuing individual properties in the township. The township is mandated by the State of Illinois to have an overall assessed value of 33.33%, all properties combined. If a township is under the overall assessed value, the county is obligated to apply a multiplier to bring that township up to this valuation, or equalize the township, regardless if some individual properties are valued fairly or not. The county does not apply values to individual properties. Only township assessors can do that. The county applies multipliers to individual property classes in a township: residential, commercial, and industrial. If the county does not equalize a township, the county as a whole falls below the State's required value of 33.33%. In that circumstance, the State would put a multiplier on the entire county, regardless if there are townships that are fairly valued. Thus, the corrective measure taken at each level of government worsens exponentially for individual property owners if properties are not valued accurately. Assessments are compared to sale prices to determine the level of assessments in Peoria County. This information is reviewed by the State annually. If Peoria County overvalued property, the Illinois Department of Revenue would place a negative equalization factor on the entire county to bring the level into compliance of 33.33%. The attached table provides 2007 final equalization factors and three year averages for all Illinois counties. At last review, in 2008, Peoria County had a market value of 33.13%.

My taxes are too high.

Taxes are determined primarily through levies applied to the equalized assessed value of a property by the different taxing districts. Increased or decreased assessments typically do not have a direct impact on the tax bill. Decreased assessments do not necessarily mean tax bills will decrease. An assessment is simply a measurement used to evaluate the correct portion of a property owner's share of the overall tax obligations.

Should rental properties be considered differently than owner-occupied properties due to their condition?

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue's guide, "The Illinois Property Tax System" : Some possible grounds on which property assessments may be appealed include *Market value - Proof that the market value is less than the assessment as demonstrated by a recent "arm's-length" sale, a property appraisal, comparison of the property's assessed value to recent sales information for comparable properties, or actual construction costs. *Equity or uniformity - Proof that comparable or similar properties in the neighborhood have lower assessments than the taxpayer's property on a per square foot basis as demonstrated by presenting data for comparable properties from the neighborhood, including any income and expense data. The Board of Review considers each case individually and the appellant is responsible for presenting a market value argument or an equity argument, as outlined above.

The Board of Review does not explain the assessment process or its decision.

The Board of Review does not assess property; this is done at the township level. Questions regarding methodology should be directed to the township assessor early on, as recommended in the Board of Review Rules. A township assessor may be able to correct an assessed value, thereby eliminating the need for appeal. Questions may also be directed to the Supervisor of Assessments Office. Peoria County will continue efforts to encourage property owners to contact their township assessor with any concerns regarding assessed value. It is the duty of the appellant to prove his or her case by preponderance of the evidence for fair market value complaints, and clear and convincing evidence for equity complaints. The Board of Review bases its decision on this evidence. Currently, there is no explanation of the decision by the Board of Review on their decision form. Staff is recommending adding a field for explanation on the Board of Review's decision form.

What is the relationship between the Supervisor of Assessments and the Board of Review?

By statute, the Supervisor of Assessments is the clerk to the Board of Review. Township assessors and the Supervisor of Assessments assist in preparing and providing evidence as needed to the Board of Review. Attendance at Property Tax Appeal Board hearings and Board of Review hearings is encouraged. According to The Township Assessors' Guide , published by the Illinois Assessors' Association, assessment related duties include *Defending assessments appealed to the local Board of Review *Assisting county officials in defending assessments before the Property Tax Appeal Board *Public relations

Why don't they take the housing market slump into consideration when assessing property?

Peoria County is required by the Illinois Department of Revenue to use a three-year sales study for assessments. This is a retroactive value using 2005, 2006, and 2007 sales - when the market was still thriving - to determine 2008 assessments. While this requirement is advantageous in an upward market, it can be detrimental in declining markets. Peoria County's new CAMA system, however, does allow assessment officials to now track market conditions in a more timely manner and make appropriate adjustments on a neighborhood basis from year to year. Property owners can help themselves by making sure property characteristics such as square footage are accurately recorded. Owners should notify township assessors immediately if an inaccuracy is found. Peoria County will increase outreach efforts to raise awareness of the assessment process, placing particular emphasis on the three-year sales study.

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