One common question I receive goes something like this, “Since everything is shut down, my taxes should be reduced, right?” Although this may sound logical, it isn’t how property taxes work…Your property tax bill stems from two separate components: The first component is the assessed value, which is supposed to be one-third of the fair market value of your property on January 1 of the assessment year. For 2020, that was January 1, 2020, even though we are only now receiving the blue assessment notices. The second component is a compilation of the budgets of the various taxing bodies. Taxing bodies include everything from Lake County’s Forest Preserves and the College of Lake County to local libraries, schools, fire districts, etc..
Once these two variables are determined, the county clerk calculates tax rates based upon property values and approved budgets. The treasurer collects the payments.
Returning to the main topic, the second half of your property tax bill, which is due in September and November of 2020, is for the 2019 year. The 2020 property tax bill won’t be calculated until early spring, 2021. The taxing bodies, like schools, for example, still have teachers and other staff to pay, as they have even more work to do in order to teach our children. The expenses are higher because the schools have had to keep buildings in good condition, add increased cleaning procedures, partitions to rooms and find additional space to socially distance those children who will be participating in in-person learning. County offices, such as the assessor’s office, have had to adjust to remote working and adapt to ensure the safety of employees and the public.
My personal opinion is that 2020 (payable in 2021) property taxes will not go down due to the pandemic. I hope I’m wrong.