Property taxes are the primary funding source for taxing bodies in Peoria County, including public schools, libraries, park districts, airport districts and units of local government. As the largest single tax in Illinois, property taxes also generate the most criticism. Understandably, this dissatisfaction often stems from lack of information. So how are properties assessed and taxes determined?
- Assessment. Property in Peoria County—excluding farmland and farm buildings—is valued at 33.33 percent of its fair market value as determined by buyers and sellers. Sales are analyzed to establish the most probable selling price for a specific property, and sales from the three previous years are used to determine a percentage known as an equalization factor. This percentage is ascertained by dividing assessed values by sale prices and factoring up or down to equal the mandated 33.33 percent fair market value. If a geographic area falls below this threshold, property owners may receive a positive equalization factor; if above, a negative equalization factor is applied.
- Review of assessments. Once the township assessor has determined assessed values and these values have been reviewed and equalized by the supervisor of assessments, the local Board of Review may further review the values and hear complaints by property owners. If an owner is not satisfied with the Board’s decision, he/she can file a complaint with the State Property Tax Appeal Board.
- State equalization. The Illinois Department of Revenue equalizes assessments among counties and issues a state equalization factor when necessary. Peoria County has not received such a factor for many years.
- Levy. Taxing districts determine the amount of revenues they need from property taxes and certify their levies with the County Clerk.
- Extension. The County Clerk calculates the tax rate necessary to produce the required amount of revenues each taxing district may legally levy. Each levy is then apportioned among those properties within the district according to their equalized assessed values. The County Clerk then abates taxes as directed by taxing districts and prepares books for the County Treasurer.
- Tax bill. The County Treasurer prepares tax bills, receives payments and distributes taxes to local taxing districts. He/she also administers sales of liens on real estate parcels for nonpayment of taxes.
The property tax process is a two-year cycle beginning on the first of each year. As challenges arise, they are mitigated by cooperation among the offices within Peoria County with a role in the property tax cycle. We are proud to be one of the few counties in the state to consistently produce tax bills on time, resulting in taxing districts receiving their funding sooner. We always seek to improve efficiency and perfect this process, not only for the taxing bodies, but for you, our citizens. IBI