Property tax bills are out, taxpayers have extra time
Jul 31, 2013 | 661 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By Michele Longworth

Planet Reporter

reporter@metropolisplanet.com

On July 22, almost 12,000 property tax bills went out to property owners in Massac County. This year tax bills were mailed earlier in the year than in the last two taxing cycles in an effort to get the county’s tax cycle back on track.

The first installment date has been set for Friday, Aug. 23 and the second installment date is Tuesday, October 15.

Because taxpayers are getting tax bills earlier this year, Massac County Treasurer Dana Jones said there will be about a month and a half between the installment dates in order to help taxpayers have a little more time to pay their bills.

Jones said Illinois State law requires there to be 30 days in between the installment dates, as a minimum, but does not prevent there from being more time in between installment dates.

Jones said the late penalty would be applied to payments received after the first installment date.

According to Jones, postmarks are accepted as dates of receipt.

Taxpayers may pay the entire bill at one time before the first installment date, or they may pay in two installments.

Jones said any property owner who has not received a tax bill within two weeks needs to contact her office immediately at 524-5121. She said her office has been receiving a lot of tax bills back in the mail.

Property owners are responsible for their property tax payments whether they receive their bills or not.

“Failure to receive a bill does not remove a property owner’s responsibility to pay property taxes,” said Jones.

Anyone who receives a bill for which he or she is no longer responsible is asked to forward the bill to the new property owner, send it to the appropriate financial agency in case the agency pays the bill, or send the bill back to the treasurer’s office with the new owner’s name and address.

Tax bills that show increases can do so for several reasons. Among them are increases in levies and tax rates, an increased assessment, a local or state multiplier, the removal of exemptions or the completion of construction.

In tax terms, a levy is the amount of money a taxing body requests. In contrast, an extension is the amount of money the taxing body can actually be granted. The extension amount is based on tax rates, property assessments and other factors.

The tax rate is the number of cents per $100 of assessed valuation that a taxing body, such as the county general fund, requires in order to get the total amount that it wants to receive.

The tax rate for each taxing fund is applied to the equalized assessed valuation of a piece of property to determine how much that property owner must pay for each fund.

In some cases, taxing bodies with tax rate limits may receive less than they asked for because they have reached the maximum allowed for their rate.

Some funds, such as county highway and school districts are required to tax to the maximum rate set by law. If they do not, they lose state funding.

Jones estimates with all of the 15 funds comprised in the county’s levy, the county anticipates receiving about $2,465,117 in revenue from property taxes. However, the county’s general fund, which pays for county expenses and upkeep of the courthouse, is only expected to receive about $463,206.

According to Gary Hamm, Massac County supervisor of assessments, in the last two years his office has reassessed over 5000 parcels including all residential in the city limits of Metropolis after reviewing the results of the states sales ratio study reflecting an issue with fair and uniform assessments. After reviewing the sales ratio study for a 3 year average and reassessing he determined a 1.025 local factor should be applied at the local level.

By law, property assessments must equal one-third of the fair market value. If they do not, multipliers must be added to bring the assessment up or down.

“Currently we are addressing assessment concerns for the 2013 assessment year with taxes payable in 2014 through the informal complaint process. The Supervisor of Assessments Office is open during business hours to hear concerns or suggestions the property owners’ assessments are incorrect. We are also responsible for ensuring property owners are getting their proper exemptions,” said Hamm.

In 2014 the Senior Homestead Exemption will be going from $4000 to $5000 - approximately $75 savings. Existing taxpayers getting this exemption will not need to do anything unless it is a first time taxpayer who will be turning 65 anytime in 2014 and have never applied for this exemption; which would need to apply.

Massac County collects money for about 13 taxing bodies, all which levy monies to operate. However, Taylor emphasizes that not all taxpayers are subject to all 17 taxing districts, pointing out it depends on where the taxpayer resides as to which taxing districts they have to pay for.

Some of those taxing bodies and the anticipated property tax money they anticipate receiving include:

• The City of Metropolis, $538,748

• The City of Brookport, $33,337

• The Village of Joppa, $10,484

• Massac Unit One, $6,024,218

• Massac County Hospital, $128,676

• Shawnee Community College, $1,023,513

• Vienna High School, $798

• Massac County Fire District, $236,561

• Joppa Sanitary, $8,708

• Joppa-Maple Grove, $1,656992

• Century Unit 100, $23,192

• Bay Creek Conservancy District, $1.56

The county road district, which consists of two funds - county unit road and county unit bridge - is expected to receive $368,851. Portions of that money will be shared with Metropolis, Brookport and Joppa

The county highway department as a whole includes three other funds - county highway, county highway bridge and federal aid matching, which are expected to receive $343,116, bringing the total for the county highway department to $711,967. The highway department receives state funding, but the exact amount is unknown from year-to-year.

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