TAX NEWS - June 2010

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Illinois Tax: For most, taxes rise in McHenry County

If you're a McHenry County property owner, your first installment of property taxes - just in case you misplaced your bill - was due June 7.

The next is due Sept. 7.

For most, our homes are the largest and most significant investment we'll ever make. The taxes we pay on them is a chief source of revenue for local public schools. It also supports numerous other taxing bodies, including townships, cities, the county, the McHenry County Conservation District, public service pension funds and, in some cases, park, fire and library districts.

As noted in a Northwest Herald series that published Sunday and Monday, more and more local residents are appealing their property tax assessments - or the amount to which the total tax rate is applied. In 2009, 4,056 parcels were brought before the McHenry County Office of Assessments Board of Review. That number is up from 1,182 in 2007 and up from 758 in 2006.

County officials said they did not track how many of the appeals were successful, but Algonquin Township Assessor Robert Kunz estimated about 80 percent of the 1,544 parcels challenged in Algonquin Township last year received a reduced assessment.

Those who do successfully appeal their assessments receive a reduced property tax bill.

Those who haven't appealed their tax assessments not only likely saw a slight increase due to tax rates ebbing upward in part because of the poor economy, but also thanks to the neighbors who successfully appealed for redistributing the tax burden in their directions.

That's right. The effect of numerous successful property tax appeals is not felt - at least not yet - at the taxing bodies' level. Their tax nets continue to pull in levies that are at least slight increases over previous years. So if your neighbor is paying less, you're paying more.

If real property tax relief ever were to be had, it would stem from taxing bodies actually cutting expenses to the point where they would cast their nets in search of a smaller haul, resulting in reduced tax rates.

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