Kristine Pilkington
(217) 357-3986



Frequently Asked Questions
Office of the County Treasurer

An Assessment Appeal
What are the reasons for an appeal?
What are the steps to appeal an assessment?
What evidence is needed to appeal an assessment?
What is the Illinois Property Assessment Appeals Process?


Payments Under Protest/Filing Complaints
Payments Under Protest/Filing Complaints (35 ILCS 200/23-5 through 23-40)


Tax Information
What is the tax cycle?
What information should I know about a tax sale?


Hancock County Treasurer
What are the office hours for the Hancock County Treasurer?
What is the mailing address for the Hancock County Treasurer?
What is the phone number and the fax number for the Hancock County Treasurer?
What is the physical address for the Hancock County Courthouse?


Payment Options
What are my payment options to pay my Hancock County taxes?
What payment methods are accepted at the office?


Links for More Information About Taxes
Where can I find more information about taxes?

An Assessment Appeal

What are the reasons for an appeal?
You have a reasonable complaint if you can support any of the following claims:

1. The assessor's market value estimate is higher than actual market value.
This claim can be easily supported if you have recently purchased your property, or if a professional appraisal is supplied.)
2. The assessed value is at a higher percentage of market value for your
property than the prevailing township, or county median level, as shown
in an assessment/sales ratio study.
3. The primary assessment of the property is based on inaccurate information such as an incorrect measurement or a lot or building. *
4. The assessment is higher than those of similar neighboring properties.

* In this event, a certificate of error may be issued by the Supervisor of Assessments with the concurrence of the Board of Review even after the tax bill is received.

What are the steps to appeal an assessment?
(Other Than Farm Land And Farm Buildings)

1. Determine fair market value for your property.
2. Determine the prevailing assessment level in your district.
3. Obtain the assessed valuation of your property.
4. Discuss the assessment with your assessor.
5. Determine the basis for your formal complaint.
6. File a written complaint with your Board of Review.

What evidence is needed to appeal an assessment?
To support your claim of an unfair assessment you will need substantial evidence, some of which may be obtained from the County Assessor's office, your Township Assessor or the County Supervisor of Assessments, from a professional appraiser, or through your own research. Pertinent evidence for non-farm property should include some or all of the following:

1. A copy of the Real Estate Transfer Declaration, a deed, or a contract.
2. An appraisal of your property.
3. A list of recent sales or comparable properties (photographs and property
record cards should be presented, as well as some evidence of the sale price).
4. A photograph of elements that detract from the value of your property not shown on the property record and an estimate, in terms of dollars, of their negative effect on market value.
5. A copy of your property record card.

What is the Illinois Property Assessment Appeals Process?
The property assessment appeals process in Illinois is available to any person liable for taxes. The procedures may sound complicated and the terminology unfamiliar, but with basic information about the process of appealing an unfair assessment, a taxpayer will soon discover that the appeals system is inexpensive and easily accessible.

Before one can be reasonably sure that an assessment is unfair, three facts should be determined. Two of these are the fair market value of one's property and its assessed value. The third fact one must know is the prevailing level of assessments in one's jurisdiction. The fair market value can be described as the price one's property would sell for if a willing and able buyer offers to purchase the property at current prices. Most residential tax bills disclose a fair cash value. This is the estimate of market value which served as a basis for the assessed value placed on the property. Also, a copy of the property record card, showing the assessor's appraised value, is on file at the county or township office and provides the information needed for an accurate understanding of the primary assessment. Illinois law requires Supervisors of Assessments or County Assessors in downstate counties to inform persons of the medial level of assessment in their township or county. The median level of assessments is the actual level prevailing in an assessment jurisdiction, based on studies comparing assessments to sales prices or appraised values.

If a property tax bill does not disclose fair cash value, a taxpayer may estimate market value by dividing the assessed value (before the State multiplier and the deduction of homestead exemptions) by the median level of assessments. The result should be close to the market value of the property. If the result is higher than the property's value, an over assessment exists.

To derive current value for a property which has not recently sold, a professional appraisal may be obtained. An appraiser is able to realistically value a property by comparing it to similar properties which have sold. They may also obtain copies of real estate transfer declarations or other evidence of sales prices for the sales they are using as "comparables".

If their homes were built recently, they may be able to document the market value by showing actual cost of the structure and the purchase prices of their land. The value of any labor the taxpayers supplied should also be added, including contract management; however, they should be aware that construction costs do not always equal market value.

Payments Under Protest/Filing Complaints

Payments Under Protest/Filing Complaints (35 ILCS 200/23-5 through 23-40)
1. If a person desires to file a tax objection complaint he or she shall pay all of the tax due within sixty (60) days from the first penalty date of the final installment of taxes. (35 ILCS 200/23-5)

2. The tax objection complaint itself is considered a protest of 100.00% of the taxes, (35 ILCS 200/23-5) without a separate letter of protest to the County Collector's Office. It is important to note that the concept "payment under
protest" is not abandoned and is still very much in existence although there is no longer a legal requirement to file a separate protest letter with the County
Collector.

3. The tax objection complaint itself names the County Collector as defendant, but the Collector does not have to file an answer or appearance or other pleading. No complaint may be filed as a class action. (35 ILCS 200/23-15)

4. The complaint itself must be filed within 75 days of the first penalty date of the final installment of taxes. (35 ILCS 200/23-10)

5. Those complaints alleging the property to be exempt from taxation must be filed before judgment is taken against properties included on the delinquent list.

6. When any tax objection complaint is filed with the Court in a county of less than 3,000,000 inhabitants, the following procedures shall be followed:(35 ILCS 200/23-10)

a. The plaintiff shall file three copies of the complaint with the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

b. A list of the taxing districts against which the tax objection complaint or amendment is directed shall be contained on the first page.

c. Within ten days after the complaint is filed, the Clerk of the Circuit Court shall deliver one copy to the State's Attorney and one copy to the County Clerk taking receipts.

d. The County Clerk shall, within 30 days from the last day of filing of objections, notify the duly elected or appointed custodian of funds for each taxing district that may be affected by the objection, stating that
an objection has been filed.

e. If an amendment is filed to such complaint, it must be filed in triplicate:

1) A copy will be delivered to the State's Attorney and the County Clerk by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

2)The State's Attorney shall notify the taxing districts and custodian(s) within ten days of receipt of the amendment notice.

f. The State's Attorney's Office shall also notify the taxing district custodian(s) and the County Clerk in writing of the date, time, and place of any hearing before the Court not less than 4 days prior to the hearing.

Tax Information

What is the tax cycle?
1. Assessor: Assess Property

2. Supervisor of Assessments: Makes Assessment Changes. Sends Change Notices and Publishes Changes. Sends Tentative Abstract to Property Tax Administrative Bureau. (Basis for multiplier.)

3. Board of Review: Finalizes Assessments - Send Change Notices and Publish Changes. Sends Final Abstract to Property Tax Bureau.

4. Taxing Body: Prepares Proposed Budget. Publishes Notice and Holds Public Hearing. Passes Budget Ordinance.
Gives Certificate of Levy to County Clerk.

5. County Clerk: Determines Total Equalized Assessed Value for Each Taxing District. Calculates Tax Rates for Each Taxing District and Calculates Aggregate Tax Rate for Each Tax Code Area. Extends Taxes and Enters Extensions in Collector's Books.

6. County Treasurer: Prepares Tax Bills and Mails Them 30 Days Prior to Due Date. Collects and Distributes Proportionately to Tax Districts. Prepares Delinquent Tax List and Sends Notices to Owner and Publishes in the Paper. Obtains Judgment in Court on Unpaid Taxes. Lien Sale on Real Estate (Treasurer and County Clerk.) Taxes Not Sold Go To County Trustee

What information should I know about a tax sale?
Surplus Property Auction (Sealed Bid) - Tax Sale - Friday, August 19, 2011

Surplus Property Auction - Hancock County purchases taxes that are not sold at the tax sale. At the end of the 2 1/2 year redemption period, the County obtains the tax deeds to these properties. At this time all back taxes are forgiven. The properties are auctioned off by sealed bid. $645 is the minimum bid, which includes the $45 recording fee. The catalogue of properties and bidding instructions will be available for $5.00 in the Treasure's office (plus $2.00 additional for postage if mailed).

Tax Sale - Hancock County will hold its annual Tax Sale for delinquent real estate taxes on Monday, October 17, 2011, beginning at 9:00 a.m. We advertise delinquent taxes in the local newspapers two to three weeks prior to the Sale. Interested buyers must register with the County Treasurer's office ten days prior to the sale. The Certificate of Registration form is available at the Treasure's office or on the forms & documents section of this web page.

Bidding on all delinquent taxes starts at 18% and the tax sale certificate is issued to the lowest bidder. You or a representative must be present at the sale to bid. The tax buyer must pay the County for taxes purchased the day of the Tax Sale plus any penalties and costs due at that time. We accept personal checks. The buyer receives a tax sale certificate for parcels purchased and at the end of the 2 1/2 year redemption period, may petition the Circuit Court for a tax deed to the property. The County does not handle the foreclosure process.

A list of delinquent properties can be purchased for $75.00. This is generally printed the first week of October and will be mailed upon receipt of payment. Interested buyers may contact our office around the first of October. Purchase of the list of properties does not automatically register a buyer for the tax sale.

Hancock County Treasurer

What are the office hours for the Hancock County Treasurer?
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

What is the mailing address for the Hancock County Treasurer?
Hancock County Treasurer
PO Box 248
Carthage, IL 62321

What is the phone number and the fax number for the Hancock County Treasurer?
Phone: 217-357-3986
Fax: 217-357-2624

What is the physical address for the Hancock County Courthouse?
500 Main Street
Carthage, IL 62321

Payment Options

What are my payment options to pay my Hancock County taxes?
Over the Phone using Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express:

1. Dial 1-877-ILL-EPAY (455-3729).
2. When prompted for payment type, speak "Property Tax".
3. When prompted for the county name, speak "Hancock".
4. Provide the payment information as prompted.
5. Receive a payment confirmation number for your records.

Over the Internet using Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express:

1. Click the E-Pay link from the Hancock County Treasurer homepage.
2. Click on the tax payment link near the bottom of the page.
3. Fill in the payment information as prompted.
4. Receive a payment confirmation number for your records.

There will be a charge for using this system. A full convenience fee disclosure statement is available at the epay site. The E-Pay program is administered by Illinois State Treasurer. Paid for by the Illinois Fund.

You may also pay at the treasurer's office, at any Hancock County bank or by mail. The Treasurer's office accepts Discover and Master Card at the counter. A convenience fee assessed by the credit card company is charged for this service.

What payment methods are accepted at the office?
The Treasure's office accepts cash, cashier's checks, personal checks, and money orders, Discover, and Master Card. Credit cards are accepted with a convenience fee assessed by the credit card company. NOTE: We do NOT accept credit card checks.

Links for More Information About Taxes

Where can I find more information about taxes?
http://iltax.com/LocalGovernment/
http://www.state.il.us/treas/