Assessor FAQ

Does "Improvements" on my property record card or assessment change card mean that I made improvements to my house?
Not necessarily. For most homeowners, "improvements" include the house, any attached or separate garage, porch, wood deck, patio, barn, some sheds, etc. The value listed for "improvements" is the estimated combined value of all of these structures, including the house, as opposed to the value of the land itself. Any land that has a home or other structures built on it will always have a value listed for improvements. However, this does not suggest that any additions or changes have recently been made to your property.
The value of my property went down, but my taxes stayed the same or went up. Why?
The amount of taxes you pay is made up of two components: the assessed value of your property and the tax rates set by your individual taxing authorities, such as school and fire districts. The Assessor is required my law to establish the fair market value of property as of January 1 of the reassessment year. Taxing authorities set their own rates according to their budgetary needs and voter approval. If property values in their district go down, then taxing authorities may choose to roll their rates to make up for the loss in value. St. Clair County only sets its own rate and has no control over other taxing authority's rates.
On my income tax return, I am required to have my PIN. Where can I locate my PIN?
The PIN is your Parcel Index Number which can be found on the parcel inquiry page or on the top right corner of your property tax bill referencing Parcel NO.
What is the square footage, year built, etc of my home?
You can view the property record card of any parcel in St. Clair County from the Parcel Inquiry Page.
How is farmland assessed?
A parcel of land used for agricultural purposes for at least two consecutive years is eligible for a preferential assessment. Farmland is assessed based on its agricultural economic value (AEV)(ie, its ability to produce income) rather than on 33 1/3 percent of its fair market value. The AEV is a calculation on an average of prices paid for agricultural products, production costs, and interest rates that are charged by the Federal Land Bank over a five-year period. Department of Revenue value all farmland in the state based upon its productivity. These values are certified to all counties. Farm buildings are assessed at 33 1/3 percent of their contributory value to the productivity of the farm. Farm home sites and residences are assessed at 33 1/3 percent of fair market value.
What is the difference between the assessed value, market value, and equalized value of a property?
The market value or fair market value is the estimated full value of the parcel should that parcel sell in a normal, arms-length transaction. The assessed value is one-third of the fair market value, as estimated by the Assessor. The equalized assessed value is the assessed value, as determined by the Board of Review that has been adjusted as needed with a multiplier. The equalized assessed value forms the basis for property tax bills and the value from which all applicable homeowner exemptions are deducted.
I did not live in my home for all of the tax year, so why am I paying the entire tax bill?
Please refer to your closing papers. Typically, at a closing, you will be given a proportionate allowance/credit for the months you didn't have ownership of the property and this amount to be used by the new owner when the property tax bill comes due.
How can I apply for the Senior Freeze Exemption?
Normally the Senior Freezes are mailed the first of the year for annual renewal. If you did not receive one, please call us at the customer service desk of the Board of Review Office at (618) 825-2489 or contact us and one will be mailed to you. A form can also be obtained at the Board of Review office or one can download the form/instructions for the Senior Freeze Exemption (Text)(PDF).
On the application form for the Senior Freeze Exemption, why do I have to include the income of everyone who lives in my home when I do not charge them rent?
The Illinois Property Tax Code, which lists the legal requirements for the Freeze, measures eligibility by considering an entire household’s income.
How does the Assessor’s Office determine the value of my house?
The value of your house is based on the recent sales of properties with similar characteristics (age, square footage and type of construction) in your neighborhood.
I believe my tax bill is too high. How can I make sure it is correct?
First we recommend that you review your tax bill to ensure that you are receiving all the exemptions to which you are entitled. Also check your property’s assessed value and if warranted, file an appeal with the St. Clair County Board of Review. We also recommend calling the specific taxing body if you have questions on the rate charged by your local governments.

My calculations for the square footage on my home are different than what the Assessor’s Office has listed. What should I do?
We use the outside perimeter of the home to calculate the square footage. Your assessment is based upon this. Your square footage calculation is most likely based on the inside square footage.
How can I tell if I am receiving all the qualified exemptions on my tax bill?
Please review the General Homestead Application (Text)(PDF).
Please review all exemptions that may apply to you (Text)(PDF).
How are my taxes calculated?
Please click here to show a detailed explanation on how the taxes due are calculated (Text)(PDF).
I need help understanding my property assessment and the equalization process. 
Please click here for a bulletin from the Illinois Department of Revenue explaining both (Text)(PDF).
What if I have part or all of my house or building demolished?
We ask that you fill out a Demolition Affidavit (Text)(PDF) and return the completed form with supporting documentation to our office.
I have over 5 acres of vacant wooded acreage, is there any discount available on my assessment for that land?
Yes, there are preferred assessment programs that you may qualify for in regards to wooded acreage. Please read the Conservation Stewardship and Forestry Management Programs (Text)(PDF) to learn more.