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Quigley: Here's a guide to your property tax bill

Community Voice

If you managed to survive April 15 without the Internal Revenue Service reaching too deep into your pocketbook, then hopefully your annual real estate (or property) tax bill didn’t cause sticker shock upon its postal delivery in early May – whether your mortgage company remits the payments or you write the checks.

How much in money you pay is determined by multiplying your real estate’s equalized assessed valuation (EAV) by a tax rate compiled from various local taxing bodies. You pay more when one or both components increase and you pay less when one or both components decrease. When one increases and one decreases, you could pay more or you could pay less, depending.

Elmhurst’s overall property tax rate is $7.50 per $100 in EAV, with property owners in Addison Township ($7.588) paying slightly more than their York Township counterparts ($7.5116). According to the Addison Township Assessor’s Office website, the payable 2014 real estate tax bill in Addison Township reflects an average assessment decrease of 7 percent. The average tax bill in DuPage County increased by 3.91 percent and the average increase for tax rates in DuPage is 9.31 percent.

A property’s EAV is calculated at one-third of its fair market value (FMV), as determined by the Township Assessor. So a property valued at $500,000 will have an EAV of $165,000. At a rate of $7.50 per $100 in EAV, that property’s tax will be around $12,375. The market value of an average home in Elmhurst is around $300,000, which equates to $7,425 in property taxes.

In Elmhurst, the city tax rate of $0.6389 (including pension funds) accounts for 8.5 percent of a taxpayer bill, as compared to an average of more than 12 percent for other DuPage County municipalities (including fire districts). The city receives about $1,050 from a $500,000 property and $632 from a $300,000 property to provide police, fire and public works.

Residential and commercial real estate taxes are projected to generate $11.5 million – similar to the sales tax revenue produced via retail and food and beverage – of the city’s Fiscal Year 2014 Operating Fund of $54.9 million.

In most communities, 70 to 75 percent of property tax dollars fund the public school system – even though typically only one in four taxpayers have schoolchildren. Elmhurst Public School District 205 receives around 69 percent of the property tax revenue, while the Elmhurst Park District, Elmhurst Public Library, DuPage County and others get between 5 percent and 6 percent apiece.

Whether you feel that your tax money is well spent or not is a column for another time.

John R. Quigley is president and CEO of the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce.

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