Moraine Township Assessor
 
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Cynthia R. Plouche

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How To Research My Own Property

Hours: 8:30am-4:30pm Mon-Fri

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MORAINE TOWNSHIP
ASSESSOR’S OFFICE
777 Central Avenue Highland Park
847-432-2100
Hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm M-F

Cynthia R. Plouché, CIAO
Assessor

Welcome to the Moraine Township Assessor's Office Home Page. We are committed to serving the people of Moraine Township fairly and equitably.

The Moraine Township Assessor’s Office estimates the market value of all taxable property and assesses that property at approximately 33.33% of its market value (in accordance with the Property Tax Code). Mass appraisal techniques are used to insure uniformity criteria of the statutes. The ultimate purpose of the assessed value is to apportion the tax burden, as established by the taxing bodies, over all property in a fair and equitable manner based on the value of the real estate. All persons are to be treated with patience, courtesy and respect. The Assessor’s Office must be fair, transparent and accessible.

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Staff Contact Directory
phone 847-432-2100

Cynthia R. Plouché, CIAO,
   Assessor,cplouche@moraineassessor.org
Mark McCraren, CIAO,
   Deputy Assessor,mmccraren@moraineassessor.org
Sheila Platt, CIAO,
   Deputy Assessor,splatt@moraineassessor.org
Barb Werhane, CIAO,
   Deputy Assessor,bwerhane@moraineassessor.org

Property owners are invited to contact us in person at the Moraine Township Office or call us at (847) 432-2100 during regular business hours (M-F 8:30am to 4:30pm). Or, you can email us. We will do our best to provide you with information that is available to our office. Most of our records are considered public information.

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TURNING 65 THIS YEAR?

Senior Homestead Exemption

If you turned 65 at any time during the tax year, the equalized value of your home will be lowered by $5,000. You must notify the Moraine Township Assessor's Office to initiate this exemption. Once you have registered, you do NOT have to renew as long as you remain at that address and it is your primary residence.

Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption

If you are 65, qualified for the (above) Senior Homestead Exemption, AND have a total household income of $55,000 or less, the assessed value on your property is frozen. Please note that this does NOT affect the tax RATE. Contact the Moraine Township Assessor's Office to initiate this exemption. This Freeze Exemption must be renewed annually.

NEW PROPERTY OWNER?

If you purchased your home in 2016 or 2017, call us if the Township's value is HIGHER than your purchase price.

COMMERCIAL VACANCY?

If you have a vacant commercial property, a vacancy reduction on the property is not automatically granted. Supporting data is required for a vacancy reduction to be considered. Call us or click for a copy of the Township's vacancy guidelines and vacancy affidavit.

ABOUT THE ASSESSOR'S OFFICE

An assessment involves identifying the real property within a jurisdiction, listing it, appraising it and placing a value for it on the tax rolls. This value is known as the assessment and is the basis for determining what portion of the total tax burden each property owner will bear. In Illinois, the statutory assessment level is normally one-third (33.33%) of the market value of a property.

We are eager to help residents understand their assessment, answer any questions, and provide the resources needed to evaluate their assessment and decide if filing an appeal is necessary. If you provide evidence that your assessment is not correct, our office may be able to make a change to your assessment without further appeal.

Take the time to verify the information we have on your property (the "property record card").  You can stop by our office or visit the Lake County website HERE.

Record review can take place any time during the year. However, depending upon the exact timing of the review, a correction may be retroactive for one year or applicable only for the following year.

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Our Services

In addition to determining the market value of all property within the township, we provide the following services:

  • Assist in filing the Senior Homestead Exemption
  • Assist in filing the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze
  • Homeowner's Exemption
  • Disabled Person's/Disabled Veterans Exemption
  • Home Improvement Exemption
  • Provide information requested for Assessment Appeals
  • Adjust assessments due to factual errors
  • Address Change:  Click HERE
  • Names and address supplied for properties applying for Variances
  • Free Notary Service

The Role Assessments in Allocation of Tax Dollars

Local taxing bodies (such as our schools, parks, libraries) depend on property tax revenues to provide local services.

Every year local taxing bodies submit a request for property tax funds, known as the "levy". The combined "levies" actually create the tax burden, while assessments simply divide up that tax burden in an equitable way.

To understand how a tax bill is derived, look first at the basic tax rate formula:
tax rate forumula

LEVY is the amount of tax dollars that local taxing bodies request.
ASSESSED VALUE is the total of the assessment in the township.
TAX RATE is the result of dividing the LEVY by the ASSESSED VALUE.

Levies go up because local government spending goes up and taxes go up because levies go up. Assessments do not create the tax burden and they do not change the tax burden; assessments only distribute the tax burden that is created by the levies.

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PROPERTY ASSESSMENT CALENDAR YEAR

For both residential and commercial properties, the time to appeal an assessment is immediately following the official publication of Assessment Notices. Appeals must be filed within 30 days of publication.

The Assessor's Office works all year around to estimate property values. Once our local office makes its determinations, information is sent on to the County, where adjustments are made before they mail out the Assessment Notices.

The Assessor appraises all property as of January 1 of the tax year.

Assessment Notices are mailed in late Summer. Upon that publication, the 30 day appeal "clock" starts running. Taxes are levied, with bills coming due starting the following June, based upon those assessment values.

Tax Bills are mailed in May by the County Treasurers
Due dates: June 2017 and September 2017.
All bill information is available on-line with theLake County Treasurer.

If you have questions about the tax bill or payments please contact the Lake County Treasurer's Office, (847) 377-2323 or www.lakecountyil.gov/treasurer/pages/default.aspx.

Click HERE for graphic showing the Budget & Tax Levy Cycle.

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ASSESSMENTS AND APPEALS

What Is An Assessment?
An assessment involves identifying the real property within a jurisdiction, listing it, appraising it and placing a value for it on the tax rolls. This value is known as the assessment and is the basis for determining what portion of the total tax burden each property owner will bear. In Illinois, the statutory assessment level is one-third (33.33%) of the market value of a property, unless set otherwise by law. (See Property Tax Code, Section 9-145).

The ultimate purpose of the assessed value is to apportion the tax burden, as established by the major taxing bodies, over all property in a fair and equitable manner based on the value of the real estate.

Reassessments are mandated by statute every four years. This is known as the general assessment year. The Property Tax Code does allow assessors to reassess any and all properties each year where necessary. Periodic reassessment generates more accurate, and consequently, more uniform values. It can enable the Assessor to react to changes in the marketplace in a more timely fashion.

It is always a good idea to verify the information we have on your property (your Property Record Card). You can stop by our office or visit the Lake County website.

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Assessment Appeals Process
Property owners may appeal the assessed value of their property. When going through the appeal process the property owner is appealing the assessed value of the property, not the tax bill. An assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher taxes, but an attempt to prove the value is either incorrect or unfair relative to similar property.

What to do if you feel your property is over assessed....

Illinois statutes provide an administrative review process for property owners who believe their property assessment is not fair. The review procedure begins with the Township Assessor and if necessary, further appeals may be filed sequentially with the Lake County Board of Review, the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board, and finally the Circuit Court.

This table summarizes the Appeals Process:

Office

Filing Deadline

ASSESSOR

Factual errors and missed exemptions can be corrected through the year.

New property owners: Purchase Price vs. your first assessment. Contact the office with questions.

BOARD OF REVIEW

30 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION

PROPERTY TAX APPEAL BOARD (PTAB)

30 DAYS AFTER BOARD OF REVIEW

Timing is a critical element of any appeal as there are specific time periods within which appeals must be filed. Failure to file a timely appeal will result in the taxpayer having little chance for relief until the subsequent year.

If you are considering filing an appeal, our office can show you how to do this yourself. Within the first week of receiving your assessment notice, we encourage you to contact our office.

Property owners should begin by reviewing the property record card on file in the assessor's office. This is the public record of the characteristics used to determine the assessed value of the property. We encourage you to verify factual information our office has about your property.

Factual Errors such as square footage, number of fireplaces or bathrooms are easily corrected by our office. In many cases, no further appeal is necessary. (The Assessor may require an on-site inspection of the property to verify property characteristics.)

Record review can take place any time during the year. However, depending upon the exact timing of the review, a correction may be retroactive for one year or applicable only for the following year.

If you miss the deadline for an appeal, our office may still be able to adjust for missed exemptions and factual errors.

After going over your information, we will either give a response with an offer of a reduction, or if there is no reduction, we will explain why.

If you choose to file a formal appeal with the Lake County Board of Review, they will schedule your appeal for a hearing in Waukegan. Our office will review your evidence and submit additional information when necessary. We may be able to make a recommendation to the Board on your behalf prior to your hearing. If you have a hearing, the Board will make a decision based upon all of the evidence and testimony provided.

Because of the additional work required on your part for the formal appeal, we recommend that you contact our office during the filing period and allow us to review your property and help guide you through the process. We are here to help you.

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Lake County Board of Review

  • A formal appeal of the assessed valuation may be filed with the Lake County Board of Review on or before 30 days after the publication of the township assessment roll in a local newspaper of general circulation.

  • All complaints to the Board of Review must be on the prescribed forms and conform to the established rules of the Board.

  • Late filings are not accepted.

  • Once all the hearings have been held, the Board of Review notifies each appellant in writing as to their decision.

Uniformity/Equity Complaints: These complaints are filed when comparable properties (land or building portions of the assessment) are assessed less than that of the property under appeal. The most important aspect of these appeals lies in the similarity of the comparables selected for review. Comparable houses are those properties displaying similar characteristics as to those of the property under appeal. Areas of comparability include:

  • Style of the house
  • Square footage
  • Exterior materials
  • Amenities (pools, decks, basements, garages, etc.)
  • Neighborhood location
  • Condition
  • Land comparables should be similar as to location, size, zoning, and external influences.

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Market value complaints: These complaints are filed when the equalized assessed value (EAV), when converted to market value, exceeds what the property might reasonably sell for if listed for sale in the open market. This claim can be supported if the property has recently been purchased on the open market or if a professional appraisal is supplied.

  • The best evidence of value is a recent sale that conforms to the criteria of an arm's length transaction and the definition of market value. Some of these criteria include adequate market exposure, willing buyer and seller, no pressure to sell and the parties to the transaction being unrelated.

  • Appraisals by licensed real estate appraisers are acceptable as evidence. The appraiser should be present at the hearing to explain methodology, reasoning and value conclusions.

  • In lieu of an appraisal, taxpayers can submit data on comparable sales, doing their own market analysis. Because of the additional work required on your part for the formal appeal, we recommend that you contact our office during the filing period and allow us to review your property and help guide you through the process. We are here to help.

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Contention of Law Complaints: These complaints focus on a violation of a specific requirement of the Property Tax Code. The area of the Code should be cited and an explanation of how the statutes were not followed as they pertain to the assessment under appeal should also be presented.

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Property Tax Appeal Board
A property owner who is dissatisfied with the results of the Board of Review assessment challenge has 30 days from the date of the Board's decision to file an appeal with the Property Tax Appeal Board.

The name Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB) is a misnomer since a taxpayer is not appealing the property tax but rather the equalized assessed valuation placed on the property by the Board of Review. The PTAB is a quasi-judicial state agency comprised of five members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The PTAB is empowered to hear appeals from local Boards of Review on the valuation of property for tax purposes. Hearings before the PTAB are considered de novo, meaning, they are viewed as if the Board of Review had never heard or decided the case.

Decisions of the PTAB can be moved into the courts under the Administrative Review Law. The court will make a ruling on whether the PTAB's decision was contrary to the evidence or if the decision was just.

Property tax is governed by the Property Tax Code, 35 ILCS 200/1-2 through 32-20.

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HOW TO RESEARCH MY OWN PROPERTY

Click HERE to view information about your property and what our records show about your property and to view your property tax assessment information.

Create a Grid of Comparable Properties using Internet Explorer
Using your PIN click here: http://assessor.lakecountyil.gov/Assessments/Pages/Assessment-Information.aspx
Using your Address click here: http://assessor.lakecountyil.gov/Assessments/Pages/By-Address.aspx

Use the above link(s) to create a grid of comparable properties.

The following are steps to guide you in comparing your property to others in your assessment neighborhood.

PLEASE NOTE: This web application is optimized for use with Internet Explorer. Users of other browsers such as Mozilla FireFox or Safari may not be able to access all of the features of this application.

Using Internet Explorer follow these steps:

  • Enter your address or PIN number and your Property Tax Assessment Information by PIN will come up.
  • Check the property characteristics shown on the right half of the page.
  • At the bottom under "Property Sales History" you can select properties to compare to your own.
  • Select comparables* (up to three properties) to determine assessment equity OR by recent sales. You have three options for your search:

Option 1: Search within assessment neighborhood (default).
Option 2: Search properties by distance from the subject property.
Option 3: Combine best results from Options 1 and 2 or use three parcels of your choosing.

*Comparables should be located near the subject and/or in the same neighborhood. They should be similar in style (e.g., ranch, 2-story, split-level, etc.), construction (e.g., brick, frame, with or without a basement, etc.), age, size (e.g., square footage of lot and building), quality and condition to the subject.

When submitting recent usable sales of comparable properties as evidence for a fair cash value appeal, it is preferable to select the best three (3) comparables which have closed as close to the lien date, January 1st of the current year, as possible.

  • Make sure Sales Validation says "Qualified".
  • Click Generate Comparable Form for a printable version.
  • Your property is the "Subject" and is displayed in Red.

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HELPFUL INFORMATION

Click HERE for a detailed, color PDF (1.6MB) map of Moraine Township, with color shaded municipal boundaries, parcels and roads. It also includes the locations of schools, libraries and other features.

Follow the links below to helpful information from the Lake County Chief Assessment Officer

Home Page http://assessor.lakecountyil.gov/Pages/Default.aspx

Be sure to look at the headings listings as well as the links on the main page to get the most out of the site.

Click HERE for Property Tax Assessment Information
Click HERE for Tax Assessment FAQs
Click HERE for Lake County Public Map Gallery
Click HERE for detailed Property Tax Relief

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EXEMPTIONS IN BRIEF

Illinois law provides homeowners with certain homestead exemptions–if you are the owner of record and live in the home as a primary residence. Using these exemptions will lower the amount of property tax you owe.

Click below for a more detailed review of available exemptions click HERE or go to http://assessor.lakecountyil.gov/Property-Tax-Relief/Pages/default.aspx

  • Homestead Limited Exemption
  • This exemption lowers the equalized value of the property by $6,000. An owner of record who lives in the home as a primary residence is entitled to this exemption. Look for it on your tax bill.

  • Senior Homestead Exemption
  • If you turned 65 at any time during the tax year, the equalized value of your home will be lowered by $5,000. You must notify the Moraine Township Assessor's Office to initiate this exemption. Once you have registered, you do NOT have to renew as long as you remain at that address and it is your primary residence.

  • Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption
  • If you are 65, qualified for the (above) Senior Homestead Exemption, AND have a total household income of $55,000 or less, the assessed value on your property is frozen. Please note that this does NOT affect the tax RATE. Contact the Moraine Township Assessor's Office to initiate this exemption. This Freeze Exemption must be renewed annually.

  • Homestead Improvement Exemption
  • If an improvement or addition is made to the home, the assessment increase due to the alteration is kept off the tax rolls for four years. There is a maximum of $25,000 of assessed value which can be kept off the tax rolls for that period.

  • Disabled and Veterans Exemptions
  • For details, consult the Chief County Assessment Officer links.

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TAX SAVINGS PROGRAMS

Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Program
The Senior Citizens Real Estate Deferral Act (320 ILCS 30/1 et seq.) allows qualified senior citizens to elect to defer all or part of the property taxes and special assessments on their principal residences.

The principal residence is the homestead portion of the property and is the only portion of the property for which you can apply for deferral of taxes.

The property taxes and special assessments do not become due until after the death of the property owner or when the real estate is sold or no longer qualifies.

A lien is placed on the property and interest is assessed at 6% simple interest rate per year.

Who is eligible?
To qualify for the tax deferral you must:

  • be 65 years of age or older by June 1 of the tax year;
  • have a total household income of no more than $55,00;
  • have lived in the property or other qualifying property for at least the last three years;
  • own the property, or share joint ownership with your spouse, or you and your spouse must be the sole beneficiaries of an Illinois land trust;
  • have adequate insurance against fire or casualty loss; and
  • have no unpaid property taxes and special assessments on the property.

Note: The filing deadline for the program is March 1 of the tax year. Applications are available from the Lake County Treasurer 847-377-2323.

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777 Central Av, Highland Park IL 60035, 847-432-3240