In a fiscal year 2009 report on the nation's state and local tax collection rankings, the website TaxFoundation.org ranked Illinois as ninth in the country for amount of property tax. Property owners in the state, the report found, paid an average of $1,782 annually, nearly $400 more than the national average of $1,388. An individual property tax owner in Illinois can pay less in annual property taxes if he qualifies for certain deductions, such as homestead exemptions for veterans, senior citizens or disabled citizens.
Ascertain whether your property is eligible for property tax. In Illinois, only real property--such as land, building or facilities--is subject to property tax. Personal property--such as boats, trucks and automobiles--is not taxed, but certain corporations pay a 1.5 to 2.5 percent personal property tax replacement income tax. Property is characterized as residential or commercial, with personal homes falling under the residential classification.
Call your local government's tax office or check its website to determine your local property tax rate. Property taxes in Illinois are imposed and collected at the local level, which can include city, county, town or special taxing district tax rates. Tax rates, also called mill rates, are published annually by the local government and are based on residential or commercial type. For example, in 2011, residential and commercial properties located in Greenville had a tax rate of 3.1336 percent.
Contact the local tax assessor's office or check your annual assessment notice to determine the market value of your property. Illinois property tax rates are applied to the market value of the property. The annual assessment notice is sent by the tax assessor prior to the current tax bill. Most properties in the state of Illinois are assessed at 33-and-a-third percent of the market value. For example, a property with a market value of $200,000 would be assessed at 33.33 percent, or $66,667.
Consult your local tax office or check the state of Illinois' Department of Revenue website to see if the property is eligible for any deductions. Deductions are based on the use of a property as a homestead (principal dwelling) or as a religious, charitable, or educational organization, on improvements to the property, the owner's age, disability, length of time as an occupant and military status. Deduction amounts vary in size and are applied to the assessment value of the home.
Calculate the tax due. Tax bills in Illinois are calculated by multiplying the local county tax rate by the property's assessed value minus any deductions. For example, if a property's market value is $200,000, the local government's assessment value of the home is $66,667 (33.33 percent). If the property was eligible for $17,000 in deductions, the new property value is $49,667. If the local government's annual tax rate is 1.5 percent, the total amount of taxes owed is 1.5 percent of $49,667, or $745.
Leah Waldron is the head of Traveler Services at First Abroad, a gap year travel company based in Boston and London. As a travel, research and LGBT news writer, Waldron has publication credit on magazines and newspapers including "Curve Magazine," "USA Today," "The Sun Sentinel" and the "The Houston Chronicle." Waldron has a bachelor's and master's degree in creative writing from Florida State University.