Ad Valorem – according to value

Agricultural Economic Value – the basis for assessment for farm acreage. The Illinois Department of Revenue calculates these values for each productivity index by dividing its net income over a five-year period by the average Federal Land Bank farmland mortgage interest rate for the same five-year period. Permanent pasture is assessed at one-third of what would be assigned if it was cropland. Other farmland (e.g., forestland, grass waterways) is assessed at one-sixth of what would be assigned if it was cropland. Wasteland has no assessed value unless it contributes to the productivity of the farm.

Appraisal – an opinion of value, supported by evidence.

Arm’s-length Sale – a voluntary sale between two unrelated parties in the normal course of business.

Assessed Value – the value placed on property for ad valorem tax purposes and used as a basis for distribution of the tax burden. This amount is subject to the state-issued equalization factor and deductions for certain homestead exemptions.

Assessment – the official act of discovering, listing, appraising, and entering a value for property on the assessment rolls for ad valorem tax purposes

Assessment Level – the percentage of full value at which property is assessed. It may refer to the statutory assessment level or the actual assessment level as inferred from an assessment/sales ratio study.

Assessment/ Sales Ratio Study – an analysis of the percentage relationship of assessed value to the market value (assessment level).

Board of Review – the local entity that reviews assessment appeals (in all counties) and equalizes assessments within the county. Three persons appointed by the county board comprise the board of review.

Chief County Assessment Officer (CCAO) – the individual appointed by a county board, or elected in a county, to supervise township and multi-township assessors (who complete original assessments) and to review their work. In most counties the title of the chief county assessment officer is “supervisor of assessments.” The supervisor of assessments has the power to revise and equalize assessments and is the clerk of the board of review.

Effective Tax Rate – the ratio of taxes billed to the market value, generally expressed as a percentage.

Equalization – the application of a uniform or blanket percentage increase or decrease to assessed values of various areas or classes of property to bring assessment levels, on average, to a uniform level of the market value.

Equalization Factor – the factor that must be applied to local assessments to bring about the percentage increase or decrease that will result in an equalized assessed value equal to one-third of the market value of taxable property in a jurisdiction (other than farm acreage, farm buildings, and coal rights).

Equalized Assessed Value – the assessed value multiplied by the state-certified equalization factor; the result is the value from which the tax rate is calculated after deducing homestead exemptions, if applicable. For farm acreage, farm buildings, and coal rights, the final assessed value is the equalized assessed value. Also, tax bills are calculated by multiplying the equalized assessed value by the tax rate.

Exemption – the removal of the assessed value or a portion of the assessed value from the tax base. There are two types of exemptions: homestead and non-homestead exemptions.

  1. the process in which the county clerk determines the tax rate needed to raise the revenue (levy) certified by each taxing district in the county
  2. the actual dollar amount billed to the property owners in a taxing district.
General Year Assessment – the general assessment year, occurring every four years when property assessments are reviewed.

Improvement – any permanent structure on real property. Examples: buildings, fences, landscaping, driveways, sewers, or drains.

Levy – the amount of money a taxing body certifies to be raised from the property tax.

Market Value – the most probable sale price of a property in terms of money in a competitive and open market, assuming that the buyer and seller are acting prudently and knowledgeably, allowing sufficient time for the sale, and assuming that the transaction is not affected by undue pressures.

Multi-township Assessor – the person elected or appointed to make original assessments in a specified combination of political townships.

Notice of Revision – a notice mailed to a property owner after a property’s assessed valuation is changed by local assessing officials. It shows the previous assessment as well as the new assessment. It includes the median level of assessments in the assessment jurisdiction, as shown by an assessment/ sales ratio study, for the most recent three years.

Overlapping Taxing Districts – those taxing districts located in more than one county.

Parcel – a defined area of land, with or without improvements, entered as a separate item on the assessment rolls for the purpose of ad valorem taxation.

Property Index Number – a description of a particular parcel by numerical reference to parcels on assessment maps.

Property Record Card – the local assessor’s record of individual property appraisals used for assessment purposes. Recorded upon the card are a sketch of the improvement, details of construction, size, condition, description, and other information showing how the assessment was derived. It is a public record required by law.

Property Tax Appeal Board – the state quasi-judicial body that hears appeals from property owners and taxing districts on property tax assessment decisions of county boards of review.

Soil Productivity Index – an index ranking the capability of soils for producing crops under average level management. The highest productivity index in the state is 130.

Tax Code – a number used by the county clerk that refers to a specific combination of taxing bodies.

Tax Rate – the amount of tax due stated in terms of a percentage of the tax base. Example: $6.81 per $100 of equalized assessed valuation (equal to 6.81%).

Taxing Body/ Taxing District – a local government unit that levies a property tax; the territorial area under a taxing body’s jurisdiction.

Township Assessor – the person elected or appointed to make original assessments in a political township. Townships of fewer than 1,000 inhabitants must establish a multi-township assessment district by combining territory and elect or appoint a multi-township assessor for purposes of ad valorem taxation.