Frequently Asked Questions
What is property tax?
Property tax is a local tax on real estate — land, buildings and permanent fixtures —that is imposed by local taxing districts and is based on a property’s value. Property taxes are collected by the County Treasurer and distributed back to local governments.
Who pays property taxes?
Anyone who owns real property such as land, buildings and permanent fixtures (i.e. fences, driveways, sewers, drains) is required to pay property taxes. Every person and business in Illinois is affected by property taxes – they either pay the tax or receive services and benefits that are paid for by property taxes.
What if I don’t receive my tax bill?
According to Illinois State Statute a taxpayer is still responsible for a tax even if a bill is not received.
35 IL 200/20-15
…the failure or neglect of the collector to mail the bill, or the failure of the taxpayer to receive the bill, shall not affect the validity of any tax, or the liability for the payment of any tax.
If you do not receive a bill please contact the Treasurer’s Office at (618) 692-6260 so that a duplicate bill can be mailed.
Can I find out if my tax bill was returned?
Yes, contact our office and we can check and send you a new one.
I received notification that I had a “zero bill,” what does that mean?
The idea of a “zero” property tax bill is exactly what it sounds like. You, the taxpayer, owe no property taxes on your parcel for the tax year.
Illinois law essentially gives counties the opportunity to save money, by zeroing out parcels that with an EAV of $150 or less. According to state statute:
…If the equalized assessed value of any property is less than $150 for an assessment year, the County Clerk may declare the imposition and collection of all tax for that year to be extended on the parcel to be unfeasible and canceled. No tax shall be extended or collected on the parcel for that year and the parcel shall not be sold for delinquent taxes.
If my bill is “zero” can I still get a bill for my records?
Yes, you can request one be mailed or emailed to you or you can find it online and print it yourself, under “Look Up Tax Information.” A full copy of your bill is located under Tax Bill Information in the right column.
What happens if my EAV increases above $150?
If your EAV increases then you will receive a property tax bill for that year. Please make sure that your address is up-to-date with the Treasurer’s Office or the Chief of Assessments so that if you EAV increases to more than $150 you will receive your bill at the proper place.
When are taxes due?
Taxes are paid in four installments and the first installment is due in July, the second is in September, the third in October and the last in December.
The 2015 due dates are:
Where can I pay my taxes?
* Pay online by e-check or credit card. Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover accepted.
* Mail payments (with coupon) to Madison County Treasurer, P.O. Box 849, Edwardsville, IL 62025.
* Mail payments (without coupon) to Madison County Treasurer, P.O. Box 729, Edwardsville, IL 62025.
* In person from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Madison County Administration Building, Treasurer’s Office, Suite 125, Edwardsville.
* Visit one of the nearly 100 collector banks and credit unions across Madison County. A coupon is required to pay. Collector Banks & Credit Unions
* Online bill pay from your bank or credit union.
How much does it cost to pay online?
If you pay electronically with an e-check, the cost is $1.50 per transaction. If you pay using your financial institution’s online bill pay you may need to check to see if there are any associated costs.
How much is the convenience fee for paying by credit card?
When paying by credit card there is a 2.5% fee that is collected by the credit card companies. The Treasurer’s Office doesn’t receive any fees.
Do I need to create an account to pay online?
No. You can make an immediate payment as a “guest” using your choice of payment method or you can also create an account, which allows you to enter and store your banking information on a secure site and no need to re-enter when making future payments.
Can I set up my four installment payments?
Yes. You must create an account however to set up or schedule your payments.
What is my Pin number? Where do I find it on the bill?
Your PIN number is your property identification number located near the top left corner of the tax bill. It is either an 15-digit or 18-digit number,
What do the numbers actually mean?
The numbers correspond with your township and other geographic/location information.
Can I make a partial payment?
You will not be able to make a partial payment online. However, you can visit the Treasurer’s Office if you need to make a partial payment. All payment forms are accepted in the office.
Why are my taxes so high?
Your tax bill is a combination of (assessed value) x (tax rates applied to your bill) + special assessments. Property taxes reflect the cost of providing government services, including school systems. These costs increase from year to year due to inflation and/or the expansion required to serve the community.
Who determines my property taxes?
There are approximately 220 different taxing districts in Madison County. The districts are run by boards and councils that are elected or are appointed by elected officials. Each taxing entity adopts an annual budget and enacts a tax levy ordinance to determine how much property tax will be collected in the coming year.
How is my tax bill calculated?
The tax bill takes into account any new assessment or new tax rate. The total tax is calculated by multiplying the total tax rate by the Taxable Assessed Value (divided by 100.) This amount equals total taxes due on the parcel for the year. The Total Tax Rate represents the taxes paid to each taxing body for $100 of Taxable Assessed Value. The Taxable Assessed Value represents the Equalizes Assessment, less the exemptions that a taxpayer qualifies. The assessment in 1/3 of the fair market value. Here’s a look at How Your Taxes Are Calculated
Is there a limit to how much taxes can increase from one year to the next?
No, not in Madison County. In other counties, the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law prevents a taxing district’s annual increase to five percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, plus an allowance for new property added to a district.
Can you define the terms used on my tax bill?
* Fair Cash Value — The amount for which a property can be sold in the due course of business and trade, not under duress, between a willing buyer and a willing seller.
* Assessed Value — The value placed on property for tax purposes and the basis for determining what portion of the overall tax burden each property owner will bear. Equalization Factor or Multiplier – The equalization factor (sometimes called a multiplier) is the tool used to bring all property to a uniform level of assessment.
* Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) — The equalized assessed value, or EAV, is the result of applying the state equalization factor to the assessed value of a parcel of property. Tax bills are calculated by multiplying the EAV
(after any deductions for homesteads) by the tax rate.
* Exemption — The removal of property from the tax base. An exemption may only be a portion of the equalized assessed value, such as a homestead exemption, or for the complete amount of the equalized assessed value, such as a church building used exclusively for religious purposes or a non-profit origination.
* 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%). You can obtain this percentage by dividing the levy for a fund by the equalized assessed value for the taxing district. Some funds have a maximum statutory tax rate that may not be exceeded. The sum of the fund rates equals the total district rate.
* Taxing District — (amount of taxes collected for each district) – Any unit of local government, school district or community college district with the power to levy property taxes.
* Tax Code — A number used by the county clerk that refers to a specific combination of taxing bodies.
What is an assessment?
An assessment is the property value that is officially entered in the county assessment books (also known as the “tax roll”.) This value is used to determine what portion of the total tax burden each property owner will be required to pay. The assessed value is 33.33% of the fair market value of your property. The county operates on a two-year cycle; for example the taxes on 2013 assessments are paid in 2014.
What can I do if I don’t agree with my assessment?
It is recommended that you discuss your assessment with your township assessor or county assessor, depending on where you live, before filing a complaint. If you still disagree with the assessment after speaking to someone about it and you don’t feel it’s been resolved, they you may file for a hearing with the Madison County Board of Review. For more information you can also call (618) 692-6210.
What is a special assessment?
Various government agencies provide a specific service and an example would be a Drainage and Levee District tax, or fee. This tax is included in your first installment payment.
How does my assessment affect my tax rate?
It doesn’t. Your tax rate is determined by local taxing districts.
What can I do if I feel my assessment is incorrect?
When you receive your assessment notice (not your tax bill,) you may file and appeal with the Madison County Board of Review within 30 days after the assessments are published. You will need to provide evidence to show your property is not assessed properly.
What happens if I don’t pay my taxes on time?
There is a 1.5% penalty applied to you tax installment every 30 days following the first due date. The penalty is based on the balance of each past due installment.
What happens if I can’t pay my taxes?
For every parcel on which property taxes are not paid in full, the following will take place:
- A day after each deadline a 1.5% penalty is added to the amount owed. The penalty on each installment will continue to increase 1.5% per month, according to the respective due dates, until paid or sold during the tax sale.
- Delinquency notices are sent to property owners via certified mail approximately one month prior to the tax sale. This notice advises of payment deadline to avoid publication, warns that unpaid taxes will be sold during tax sale and lists the scheduled date of the tax sale. A $10 certified fee is added to a property owner’s tax bill.
- A list of delinquent parcel numbers, owners’ names and amounts owed are published in a local newspaper. Visit here for a listing of publications.
- All unpaid property taxes are sold during the annual Tax Sale to a tax buyer. Once taxes are sold a property owner retains the right to redeem the taxes for up to two to three years. Check out this short video to learn more about “What is a Tax Sale?”
- Following a Tax Sale property owners will receive a “take notice” via certified mail from the County Clerk on behalf of the tax buyers. The take notice provides details of all the taxes, penalties and costs owed. Penalties can range from 18% to 0%. Bids start high and go down.
- Approximately two years after a Tax Sale property owners are notified via certified mail from the Circuit Clerk, and served notice from the Sheriff, advising them of the tax buyer’s intention to petition the court for the tax deed.
- Approximately two and a half years following a tax sale the tax buyers can petition the court for the tax deed. Once the court renders the judgment, the tax buyer can file a deed and the property and former property owner could be required to vacate the premises.
- All redemptions must be made with the Madison County Clerk. The entire amount of the taxes owed must be paid in order to redeem the tax lien. Cash, money order and cashiers are accepted as payment.
Does the Treasurer’s Office send receipts for taxes that are paid?
If you pay online you will receive an email notifying you that your payment was made. That is your receipt. If paying by mail with a check, your canceled check serves as a receipt. Once your payment is made and you need a copy showing your tax bill was paid, a copy can be sent to you.
Who do I call if there is a problem with my tax bill?
If there is a problem with your assessment or exemptions you will need to contact your Township Assessor or the Chief of County Assessments at (618) 692-6270
What are taxing districts?
Taxing districts are local government units that include municipalities, townships, counties, schools, park districts, fire districts, etc. that use property tax to finance the majority of services that it provides to the public. School districts receive the majority of property tax revenue for education.
The taxing districts are listed along with the amount each receives from your tax contribution. The information will look something like the example below
My assessed value decreased, so why did my taxes increase?
Local government spending plays the most significant role in whether or not your taxes increase or decrease. If taxing districts increase their spending, the tax rate will often increase to cover the expenditures. Therefore, even if your assessed value goes down, your taxes can go up. Also, if taxing districts decrease spending, your taxes may decrease even if your assessment goes up.
Is there any tax relief for homeowners?
Yes, there are several exemptions for which you may qualify. Owner-occupied residents may be eligible for a General Homestead Exemption, which reduces the equalized assessed valuation (EAV.)
Senior citizens may also qualify for a Senior Homestead exemption, which further reduces a property’s EAV.
What can I do to lower my property taxes?
Examine your tax bill to ensure that everything is correct and check for any exemptions, which will reduce your equalized assessed valuation (EAV)
General Homestead — $6,000
Senior Homestead — $5,000
Disabled Veterans’ — $2,500 to $5,000
Returning Veterans’ — $5,000
Disabled Persons’ — $2,000
Senior Citizen Freeze — based on year freeze was done and household income
Contact the Chief County Assessment Office at 618-692-6270 or their website for more information.
Where do I get a copy of my property deed?
The Madison County Recorder has information regarding deeds.