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Properties damaged by storms may get lower assessment

Business owners along Naperville Riverwalk congregate figure out plan as they received news thflood waters were worsening Thursday April 18

Business owners along the Naperville Riverwalk congregate to figure out a plan as they received the news that flood waters were worsening, on Thursday, April 18, 2013. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 28, 2013 7:54PM



Properties suffering substanial damage from last week’s heavy rains and flooding can request a lower tax assessment.

When Gov. Pat Quinn declared major disaster area status for 38 Illinois counties this week, it triggered the disaster area reassessment provisions of the Illinois Property Tax Code.

Those provisions are both the Disaster Area Reassessment and the Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption.

Anyone requesting a lower assessment based on storm damage must fill out a form available at their respective county supervisor of assessments office.

The disaster area ranged throughout Northeastern Illinois and went even further south than Champaign County. It included Kane, Kendall, DuPage, DeKalb, Grundy and Will counties.

Disaster Area Reassessment provides that upon the declaration of a disaster area, any portion of real property that was “substantially damaged by the disaster” may be eligible for reassessment upon the filing of an application with the county assessment office.

If a residential structure occupied by its owner is rebuilt following the flooding, it may qualify for the Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption.

This exemption was enacted by the Illinois General Assembly last year, and is available this year for the first time.

Will County Supervisor of Assessments Rhonda Novak is urging flood victims to fill out PTAX-245 Disaster Area Application for Reassessment forms.

Assessment reductions will be for 2013 taxes payable in 2014.

The forms are available at all township assessor offices as well as Novak’s office in the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet. The form also is available on her website, www.willcountysoa.com.

“This is the start to get the ball rolling,” she said of the form.

Not all damage will qualify, she explained.

“If you get a couple of inches of water in your basement and you have to throw out couches and carpet, that’s not really structural,” she said.

However, if drywall was damaged in a finished basement or tile and wood floors were destroyed on a main floor, that would count. Also, if the home is uninhabitable because of the flood, that would trigger an assessment reduction, too, she said. Some homes built on slabs could have the entire first floor wiped out by the flood, which would make the assessment reduction bigger, Novak said.

“You could have a big one (reduction) — or you could have none,” she said.

Once the form is filled out, a township assessor will come to review the property to determine what, if any, reduction should be made in the original assessment. Homeowners who are about to start repairing their homes should take pictures of the damage to show assessors when they arrive, Novak said. But it’s OK if they didn’t get photos of the water inside the home.

It’s not the standing water that’s going to get the reduction, it’s the damage left behind, she stressed.

Property owners will get letters in August letting them know how much their assessment was reduced due to flood damage. If a property owner disagrees with the amount of reduction, it can be appealed.

Assessment reductions will be prorated for the length of time an assessor thought it would take to repair the home.

“They’re not going to get a full year value reduction,” she said.

Township tax assessors were just beginning their work for the 2013 tax cycles, “So for something bad like this to happen, the timing is fine,” Novak said.

For questions, call or contact the Supervisor of Assessments in: DuPage County; 815-895-7120 or http://www.dupageco.org/soa/; in Will County go to www.willcountysoa.com.



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