Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ouch! High Property Taxes

I received the following letter from a Woodstock, Ill. resident this week:

"I have been a resident here in Woodstock for little more than 3 years, and have recently stumbled across your little spot here on the web. I seem to remember you having a rather detailed entry about challenging ones property taxes with the assessors office. Could you provide me with that blog entry and/or some sage advice on the issue?

"My home is at and I just don’t understand why my taxes are so high...$4900 + this year. I am escrowing them into my mortgage as I thought it would be easier to make sure I paid them on time. Of course this means that each year I see a small increase in that mortgage payment. That along with the PMI (less than 20% down payment) is really starting to hinder any chance of having extra cash for improvements on the home.

"Any advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated."

Property owners who dislike the high level of property taxes should contact the Assessor for the Township in which they reside. Find out about the procedure for objecting to your taxes and file the necessary paperwork. Do your homework.

County Treasurer Bill LeFew will accept your money with a smile and hearty laugh. Depending on your age and circumstances, he might even be able to help you lower your Assessed Valuation and corresponding taxes by helping you sign up for the statutory reductions based on age and/or disability. Regardless of all circumstances, call his office and ask how you can lower your tax bite.

Even if it won't apply this year, you can learn when statutory reductions will become available to you. All you have to do is live long enough to get them. For many, it won't be much longer. As a matter of fact, you might be there already. If you are, you don't want to miss them for lack of signing up for them.

Do some studying on how to get your Assessed Valuation lowered. It'll be worth your time. Don't assume that the Assessor will say "No".

Learn how the state law controls your Assessed Valuation. We may be hitting the zenith in the three-year rolling period, and Assessed Valuations may become to creep down. Sort of like gasoline prices at the pump. They go up quickly and fall slowly. But fall, they will.

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