Understanding your Buffalo Grove Property Tax Bill

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Property taxes are a contentious topic in Illinois and they are pretty complicated to understand, and even more difficult to explain. What follows are the results of the research I performed by chatting with the Tax Assessors representing Vernon Township and Wheeling Township in Buffalo Grove and the Lake County Treasurer with the hope of providing some clarity.

Buffalo Grove is split between Lake and Cook counties, each taxing residents differently. The Lake County portion of Buffalo Grove is in Vernon Township which has 12 different tax rates ranging from 8.119465 to 9.972825.  The three major tax groups are for District 96 – Kildeer Countryside School District, District 102 – Aptakisic Tripp School District and District 103 – Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District, with multiple sub groups for each different school district.

The portion of Buffalo Grove that is located in Cook County, Illinois is in Wheeling Township and District 214, which flows into Buffalo Grove High School.  There are 3 tax rates for Cook County Buffalo Grove residents from 11% to 12%.

To help understand how property taxes are calculated, I am including some examples below for the most common tax rates, with some descriptions of the key terms – all examples are for homes with fair market value of $400,000:

Lake County – the tax bill comes out in late April / early May and is payable 50% on June 1st and 50% on September 1st. If you pay your taxes through escrow via your mortgage payment, your lender pays the taxes for you.

Full Fair Cash value – as determined by the Lake County Assessor which is based on sales transactions over the most recent 3 year period. This is typically published in the August – September timeframe and this is what is often grounds for appeal based on an incorrect value.

Assessed value – equals 1/3 of the full fair cash value.

Exemptions – the state of Illinois offers various exemptions to home owners – the most common is the General Homestead exemption which you can deduct for your primary residence. In Lake County, it is $6,000. There are also exemptions available for Seniors, Disabled and Veterans.

Example – Buffalo Grove – Lake County – Vernon Township – D96 – Kildeer Countryside School District

Full Fair Cash Value                                  $400,000

Total Assessed Value (1/3)                        $133,333

General Homestead Exemption                    $6,000

Taxable Valuation                                      $127,333

Tax Rate                                                 9.386768%

Real Estate Tax                                      $11,952.48

District                  Taxable Valuation        Tax Rate             Tax Bill

D96                       $127,333                       9.386768            $11,952.48
D102                     $127,333                       9.222720            $11,743.57
D103                     $127,333                       8.601049            $10,951.97

Cook County – Property tax bills are mailed twice a year. The first installment is due at the beginning of March. By law, the First-Installment Property Tax Bill is exactly 55% percent of the previous year’s total tax amount. The Second-Installment Property Tax Bill is mailed and due in late summer; it reflects new tax rates, levies, assessments and any dollars saved by exemptions for which you have qualified and applied.

Example – Buffalo Grove – Cook County – Wheeling Township – Township High School District 214

Estimated Market Value                            $400,000 as determined by the Cook County Assessor

Assessment level                                              10%

Proposed Assessed Valuation                    $40,000

State Equalizer                                            2.9627

Equalized Assessed Value                         $118,508

Homeowners Exemption                            $10,000

Adjusted Equalized Assessed Value          $108,508

Tax Rate                                                   11.41%

Estimated Tax Bill                                   $12,380.76

So, in the Village of Buffalo Grove, there are 15 different tax rates. For reference, Cook County is higher than the three Lake County jurisdictions.

If you need any assistance with homes outside of Buffalo Grove, feel free to reach out to me or go to the Cook County or Lake County Assessor websites.


Appealing DuPage County property taxes

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Did you fall out of your chair when you received your property tax bill? Do you think your assessor is wrong? Did you know you CAN do something about it?

In Illinois, property taxes are based on the market value of your home. Assessed values are required by law to be based upon the three prior years of actual sales transactions within the jurisdiction. For example, the 2013 assessed value was based upon sales occurring during the 2010, 2011 and 2012 calendar years.

Property taxes collected are used locally to fund and support community services such as fire protection, schools, park districts and construction, among others. We all want to contribute our fair share to keep these services, but what if you think they’ve over-assessed your property value?

If you want to appeal your DuPage County property taxes, you should start with your local Township Assessor’s office. They will review your information and files and provide you their results. If you still feel you’re tax bill isn’t accurate, you can file an appeal with the DuPage County Board of Review. You will need to provide evidence to support your claim, which should include three (3) or more comparable properties, preferably from the same neighborhood.

Once your appeal has been filed, you will have a hearing with the Assessor and County Board of Review. You may be asked questions about your property, as will the assessor. Once the hearing is concluded, the board will make its decision which will be mailed to the property owner after all Board of Review action is completed for the tax year. If you still think the assessment is inaccurate, you can appeal to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board or the Appellate/Circuit Court.

To prepare for your appeal, you should:

  • Have a recent appraisal, recent sale of property or recent sales of comparable properties
  • Review your property characteristics at the assessor’s office before filing an appeal
  • Understand that Fair Market Value is not the highest or lowest selling price of a property but the most probable selling price
  • When comparing properties in your area, use only similar properties (i.e. same design, same size, etc.)

Are you interested in how your township compares to others? You can view DuPage County property tax rates for all the individual townships here.