By Cathy Yen
Oak Park property owners will receive their triennial reassessments within the next few days. River Forest property owners should have theirs by now.
What does this mean?
Your share of taxes levied in your community is based on the value of your property relative to those around you. The County determines that value, called the "assessed valuation." In Oak Park, those assessed valuations are the basis for apportioning the roughly $180 million in taxes that go to our nine governing entities. If your property is worth more than your neighbor's, you'll cover a larger slice of the pie.
Since property values change all the time, the County Assessor's office conducts a reassessment process every three years. Our area was last reassessed in 2014. We are up again this year.
Now, if everyone's property increased (or decreased) in value by the same amount, not much would change. Actual taxes paid would go up or down based on the levy (the amount the government gets) but your share of the levy would stay the same. However, if the assessor determines that your property value increased more than your neighbor's, your tax bill would go up and your neighbor's would go down.
Once the tax bill comes, there is little to do about it. But this year, when the reassessment notice arrives, you have an opportunity to appeal if you think it is too high.
This is especially important to commercial property owners, as the commercial rate is 2.5 times the residential rate. In Oak Park, although commercial property (excluding multi-family buildings) accounts for about 6% of total property value, these owners pay 14% of total taxes. Some experts believe that commercial property assessments will increase relative to residential in 2017 given low vacancies and recent investment. This could increase the already heavy tax burden on business.
Carefully review your 2017 assessment. If you believe it is too high, the time to appeal is now. Visit the Township office to meet with our local assessors. If you are interested in additional help, the Chamber is sponsoring a workshop for commercial owners on March 7. See our calendar for details.
Answer Book 2018
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2018 Answer Book, please click here.
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