Why Are Property Taxes Going Up When Property Values Are Going Down?

In spite of the decline in property values over the last few years, property taxes may not be falling for most taxpayers. This is due to the increases in government spending and declines in the value of the various homeowner, senior and long time occupant exemptions and low-income senior assessment freeze.

The main reason property taxes are not falling is that the cost of providing government services is not falling. Property taxes provide most of the funding for public schools and other local services, and these costs typically rise by about the rate of inflation every year.
Since the year for which you are paying taxes (2011) is not a reassessment year in New Trier Township, this article for the most part assumes your property assessment has remained the same and addresses the other factors in the tax bill.
Can You Do Anything To Reduce Your Current Bill?
If you are eligible for a homeowner, senior or other exemption but did not receive it, we can assist you in getting a revised bill, taking into account the exemption. If you have received all the exemptions for which you qualify, you likely will not be able to do anything about your current bill.
Can You Do Anything To Reduce Next Year's Bill?
The Cook County Board of Review will open for 2012 assessment appeals later this year, and we are always available to help you when they open. Watch their website, www.cookcountyboardofreview.com, for dates and deadlines.
Why Are Some Taxes Going Up and Some Going Down?
Because of the changes in the exemption calculations, it is difficult to make general statements about the tax changes. It is possible, however, to generalize for the following groups:
Seniors receiving the Senior Freeze will pay more. The Senior Freeze exemption provides special tax breaks for seniors with annual household income less than $55,000. The program freezes the assessed value, not the tax bill, and was designed to protect from increases in assessed value. It does not deal with a declining real estate market, nor increases in tax rates imposed by taxing bodies. Most seniors who have been in the program for a number of years will experience significant tax increases this year. Tax increases for seniors joining the program more recently will vary.
Homeowners with the Long Time Occupant or Expanded Homeowner Exemption will pay more. This exemption provides a special tax break for residents of more than 10 years with income under $100,000. Like the Senior Freeze, the exemption was designed to protect homeowners from increases in assessed value and not falling property values and increases in tax rates. For most of these owners, the value of this exemption has been reduced or eliminated by the declining home values.
Homeowners with no or minimal homeowner exemptions will likely not see any significant increases in their tax bills absent other factors, because they won't be experiencing a decline in the amount of their exemption.
If you would like to discuss your particular situation, please contact our office.


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