200 N. Lafayette Street | Jerseyville, IL 62052 (618) 498-5571 
Jersey county government Office

JERSEY COUNTY

Jerseyville | Fieldon | Grafton Delhi | Dow | Kane | Brighton Elsah | Fidelity | Otterville

Assessor Frequently Asked Questions

Does "Improvements" on my property record card or assessment change card mean that I made improvements to my house?

Not necessarily. For most homeowners, "improvements" include the house, any attached or separate garage, porch, wood deck, patio, barn, some sheds, etc. The value listed for "improvements" is the estimated combined value of all of these structures, including the house, as opposed to the value of the land itself. Any land that has a home or other structures built on it will always have a value listed for improvements. However, this does not suggest that any additions or changes have recently been made to your property.

The value of my property went down, but my taxes stayed the same or went up. Why?

The amount of taxes you pay is made up of two components: the assessed value of your property and the tax rates set by your individual taxing authorities, such as school and fire districts. The Assessor is required by law to establish the fair market value of property as of January 1 of the reassessment year. Taxing authorities set their own rates according to their budgetary needs and voter approval. If property values in their district go down, then taxing authorities may choose to roll their rates to make up for the loss in value. Jersey County only sets its own rate and has no control over other taxing authority's rates.

On my income tax return, I am required to have my PIN. Where can I locate my PIN?

The PIN is your Parcel Index Number which can be found on the top right corner of your property tax bill.

How is farmland assessed?

A parcel of land used for agricultural purposes for at least two consecutive years is eligible for a preferential assessment. Farmland is assessed based on its agricultural economic value (AEV)(ie, its ability to produce income) rather than on 33 1/3 percent of its fair market value. The AEV is a calculation on an average of prices paid for agricultural products, production costs, and interest rates that are charged by the Federal Land Bank over a five-year period. Department of Revenue value all farmland in the state based upon its productivity. These values are certified to all counties. Farm buildings are assessed at 33 1/3 percent of their contributory value to the productivity of the farm. Farm home sites and residences are assessed at 33 1/3 percent of fair market value.

What is the difference between the assessed value, market value, and equalized value of a property?

The market value or fair market value is the estimated full value of the parcel should that parcel sell in a normal, arms-length transaction. The assessed value is one-third of the fair market value, as estimated by the Assessor. The equalized assessed value is the assessed value, as determined by the Board of Review that has been adjusted as needed with a multiplier. The equalized assessed value forms the basis for property tax bills and the value from which all applicable homeowner exemptions are deducted.

I did not live in my home for all of the tax year, so why am I paying the entire tax bill?

Please refer to your closing papers. Typically, at a closing, you will be given a proportionate allowance/credit for the months you didn't have ownership of the property and this amount to be used by the new owner when the property tax bill comes due.

My calculations for the square footage on my home are different than what the Assessor’s Office has listed. What should I do?

We use the outside perimeter of the home to calculate the square footage. Your assessment is based upon this. Your square footage calculation is most likely based on the inside square footage.

I have over 5 acres of vacant wooded acreage, is there any discount available on my assessment for that land?

Yes, there are preferred assessment programs that you may qualify for in regards to wooded acreage. Please read the Conservation Stewardship and Forestry Management Programs (Text)(PDF) to learn more.

Why did my property value increase when all I hear on the news is that property values are dropping?

While it is true that nationwide many areas are experiencing severe drops in property values, Jersey County values have remained stable. This is partially due to over-inflated property values in some parts of the country – even within Illinois – that was not experienced here in Jersey County. Additionally, when determining the equalization factor, the Board of Review and the Illinois Department of Revenue are using assessment values from three previous years, not the current year. For example, the 2008 (payable 2009) equalization factor averaged 2005, 2006, and 2007 assessment-to-sales data.

What is a multiplier?

Non-farm property is, by law, supposed to be assessed at one-third of its market value.  However, due to differences in assessing methods and changes in the real estate market from year to year, assessed values for a jurisdiction do not always meet this statutory requirement.  When overall assessments in a jurisdiction are determined to be above or below the statutory level (based on annual sales-ratio studies of actual sale prices compared to assessed values of properties), a multiplier (factor) is applied to all non-farm assessments in that jurisdiction.  The result is that assessments overall in that jurisdiction are now at the statutory level and the taxing districts that generate property tax revenue from those assessments now have the proper base on which to levy

Why do I need to sign my Homestead Exemption each year?  I’m not getting any younger!

This is done to keep record that the person does still own the home and live there.  They may move in with someone and be renting the home to another party.

How are mobile homes taxed?

Mobile home or manufactured home taxed under the Mobile Home Local Services Tax or as it is called the Privileged tax on January 1, 2011, continues to be taxed under the Act until the home is 1) sold, 2) transferred, or 3) relocated to another parcel outside a mobile home park.  If any of these three events occur, then the mobile or manufactured home must be assessed as real property.

The tax code goes on to say a mobile or manufactured home outside a mobile home park assessed as real property on January 1, 2011, continues to be assessed as real property after January 1, 2011.  If a mobile or manufactured home is assessed as real property on January 1, 2011, and subsequently is moved to a mobile home park, it no longer is assessed as real property; instead, it is taxed under the mobile Home Local Tax Services Act.

I have over 5 acres of vacant wooded acreage, is there any discount available on my assessment for that land?

Do you have five or more acres of vacant wooded acreage that is not in a preferred assessment program? There are programs administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) that you may want to consider. The two programs most popular are the Forestry Management Program (FMP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Illinois Publication 135 governs the FMP and CSP programs. On FMP, there is a minimum of ten contiguous acres with no buildings present. The Jersey County Assessor office does not determine if a parcel qualifies for the FMP program; rather, an owner would need to contact the local Forestry Manager to start the process. Our Regional Forestry Manager is Mr. Tom Wilson, phone number 618-498-1627, office in Jerseyville, IL. Approvals flow from the Regional Forestry Manager to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to the Illinois Department of Revenue to the County Assessor. This preferred assessment begins Jan 1 of the next year. FMP approved parcels are assessed at the farmland rate.

On CSP, this program was established by Illinois law in 2007. Per Publication 135, purpose is to maintain, preserve, conserve, and manage unimproved land that does not receive other preferred tax rates (an example is Farmland). This program is voluntary participation on the part of the taxpayer. Properties must not be used for residential or commercial purpose that “materially disturbs the land”. The land can be unimproved woodland, prairie, wetlands, or other vacant and undeveloped land. A minimum of five contiguous acres is required. Application may be made online through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources web site www.dnr.illinois.gov. The IDNR phone number for CSP is 217-785-8284. The CSP preferred assessment begins Jan 1 of the next year.

Qualifying properties are assessed at 5% of fair cash value rather than the 33 1/3% that is the normal assessment process. Approved plans are forwarded by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) who notifies the County Assessor for implementation.

Both FMP and CSP have a ten year plan. The FMP plan is worked through the Regional Forestry Manager while the CSP plan is subject to approval by IDNR. If you wish to review either Publication 122 or Publication 135, this can be done online by going to the Department of Revenue web site, www.revenue.state.il.us/publications . If you need more information from the County Assessor office, contact them at 618-498-5571 x 126.