Frequently Asked Questions

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QDoes the Supervisor of Assessments supervise the Township Assessors?

A: No.  Township assessors are independently elected public officials, although in the case of a vacancy the township supervisor and trustees can appoint or contract with a qualified person.  They are elected for four-year terms with the next election taking place in the spring of 2017.

Q:  Is it true that farmland assessed values are much lower than the assessed values of similar land that is not farmed?

A:  Yes.  Under the state property tax code, the assessment of farmland is based on its agricultural economic value, not its fair cash value.  All 102 counties in Illinois use the same certified values provided by the Department of Revenue each year.  Major factors in farmland valuation include soil productivity, crop prices, and farm loan interest rates.

Q:  I heard that in Florida, your homestead exemption is $50,000 but you only give out $6,000 exemptions.  Can you raise the amount to match Florida?

A:  No.  Homestead exemption amounts are set by the state legislature, not anyone in Jackson County.

Q:  In 2004, I purchased a vacation home in Florida.  When I saw their large homestead exemption, I went ahead and applied for it.  But now they found out that I also kept my exemption on my house here in Jackson County, and they want me to pay back all the money I saved, along with interest and penalties.  Can I pay back the amount I saved here instead?

A:  No.  Unlike Florida, Illinois does not authorize counties to collect payments for homestead exemptions that were granted through error, omission, or fraud.  Without legislative authorization, we cannot accept this money. 

Florida, though, has a different statute:  If you are found to have more than one homestead exemption, Florida law provides “a penalty of 50% of the unpaid taxes for each year, plus 15 percent interest per year” for up to ten years.

When applying for Homestead Exemptions, taxpayers are certifying that the property upon which they are applying is their primary residence.  In the case of property in states such as Florida, it can be very costly to a taxpayer to have been found to have homestead exemptions on two properties.

Q:  My husband and I each own a home, and we do not live together.  Neither of us is named on the deed of the other’s home.  Can we both qualify for the $6,000 General Homestead Exemption?

A:  No.  The General Assembly has required that “Where married persons maintain and reside in separate residences qualifying as homestead property, each residence shall receive 50% of the total reduction in equalized assessed valuation.”  Therefore, regardless of whether you have any recorded interest in your husband’s property or whether your husband has any recorded interest in your property, this statute specifically limits the homestead exemption to $3,000 for each property.

Q:  I did not receive my tax bill and now my taxes are delinquent and penalties and fees have been added.  It is not my fault, shouldn’t the county remove the fees and penalties?

A:  No. It is the owner’s responsibility to make sure all information on the property is correct.  Not receiving your real estate tax bill does not negate your responsibility to pay.

Q:  Will the assessment on my house increase if I put new siding on?

A: No.  Most normal maintenance of the home will not raise the assessment.  Generally, work is deemed as maintenance and repair if it does not increase the square footage and does not materially alter the existing character and condition of the structure, but is limited to work performed for the purpose of prolonging the life of the property and keeping it in a well-maintained condition.  For example, asphalt shingles replaced with asphalt shingles, house painting etc. 

Q:  Will I be notified if my assessment changes?

A:  Yes. The tax code requires taxpayers be mailed a notice any time their assessment changes.   In addition, assessment changes must be published in the newspaper.   In a reassessment year all parcels receive a notice and are published in the paper even if there was no change.  Taxpayers have 30 days from the date of newspaper publication to file an appeal to the Jackson County Board of Review

Q:  When I get my tax bill, is it too late to appeal?

A:  Yes, it is too late to appeal your assessment.   Assessments are certified to the Dept. of Revenue and a final multiplier has been determined from that data.   However, it is possible to correct an error such as an exemption not being applied to the bill.   An incorrect judgment or opinion on the value of your property is NOT justification for a corrected bill.

Q:  Are there any exemptions that provide property tax relief?

A:  Yes. To review all exemptions and other available forms of property tax relief, see our  the county form page on the county web site or contact the Supervisor of Assessments  office if you would like additional information.

Q:  How can I freeze my taxes?

A:  You cannot freeze your taxes, however if you are 65 years or older, own and occupy your home, and have a total household income of $55,000 or lower you can apply for the Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption (SCAFHE), which freezes your assessed value.  This application can be found under county forms {link} on the county web site or in the Supervisor of Assessments office.

Q:  How do I change the address where my tax bills are sent and why can I not change it over the phone?

A:  The Illinois Tax Code states all address changes must be in writing and signed by either the owner of record, trustee or person holding Power of Attorney (copy of POA is required.)  Address change forms {link} can be obtained from the county web site.