Frequently Asked Questions

The property tax levy and assessment cycle can be a bit confusing. For a detailed description, please visit our About page. For other commonly asked questions about the tax process, see the FAQs listed below.

  • How can the value of my property have increased when I haven't done anything to it for many years?
    Property value, or market value, is determined by many factors besides home improvements. Improving neighborhoods, how many houses are for sale, and inflation also affect the value of your property. Even though your house isn't for sale, it can be worth more because of these conditions. It is the Assessor's job to determine what your property would be worth if it were now for sale. Property assessment is based on mass appraisal, so neighborhood factors can affect the value of your home.
  • Why do similar houses in different neighborhoods have different assessments?
    The houses are valued differently because the real estate market conditions are different. Location plays an important part in establishing market value. General location, distance from schools and commercial facilities, quality of surrounding properties, and neighborhood amenities are examples of factors that could and would cause a purchaser to pay more for a home in one neighborhood than in another.
  • My taxes are too high!
    That may be true, but don't necessarily blame it on the property assessment or the Assessor. Their job is to estimate the value of every property in the township as close to 1/3 of market value as possible. This will assure that each taxpayer will bear a "fair share" of the tax burden. The amount of taxes is determined by the voters, the municipalities, school boards, and other taxing bodies in the area.
  • Can I examine the Assessor's records to be sure they have the correct information on my house?
    Yes. Much of the information that affects the valuation of your property is available on the Property Search tool online. If you would like to review your paper file, you can stop in to your Assessor's office. The Township Assessor's personnel will help you retrieve the information needed, as well as answer questions regarding the assessment or how to read the information.
  • Does the Assessor raise the assessment if I paint my house?
    No. Most normal maintenance of the home such as new mechanicals, replacing your windows, roof or siding with similar materials will not raise the assessment. Additions to the home, adding decks, porches, or fireplaces could increase the assessment. You can always call your Assessor's office if you have specific questions about what could change your assessment. Remember, items that increase your assessment may qualify for the Home Improvement Exemption. Visit our Exemptions page for more info.
  • What if I do not agree with the assessment?
    The best place to start is by reviewing your assessment, recent sales, and neighboring properties online to determine if an appeal is necessary. Save a pdf of the comparable properties you intend to use for your appeal then use the SmartFile E-Filing Portal to upload the pdf and file your appeal with the Lake County Board of Review. Starting in 2019, all property assessment appeals must be done electronically. You can visit How to Appeal for more detailed instructions.
  • When I get my tax bill, is it too late to complain?
    Generally, yes. It is too late to appeal for that assessment year. You can verify the factual information on your property and exemptions you qualify for to determine if any errors exist that could possibly be adjusted for.
  • If I purchase my home for more than it is assessed, will my assessment get raised to the sale price?
    Not necessarily. Properties are studied in neighborhoods, not individually. If other sales besides yours in the neighborhood were typically higher, then assessments could generally increase. If the Assessor was to increase individual assessments because of sales, inequity would be created in the neighborhood.
  • How can homes with the same assessed value have different taxes?
    There are different tax rates throughout Lake County. The difference in rates can be over 22% between two jurisdictions within the Township. Also, some areas may pay more for special services in their neighborhood. Different exemptions could also affect the tax bill.
  • Online Appeal Filing
    Starting in 2019, all property assessment appeals must be done electronically. No attorney is required for a residential appeal. Appeals can be done in a few minutes by using the SmartFile E-Filing Portal.
    Prior to filing a formal appeal to the Board of Review, property owners should review their assessments here to determine if an appeal is necessary.