Flood damage may lower assessments
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com April 23, 2013 4:46PM
Updated: May 25, 2013 6:30AM
JOLIET — Will County residents whose homes or businesses suffered structural damage from last week’s flood may be able to get their property tax assessments reduced.
Supervisor of Assessments Rhonda Novak is urging flood victims to fill out PTAX-245 Disaster Area Application for Reassessment forms.
Once Gov. Pat Quinn declared Will County a disaster area last week, the assessment reductions became an option, she said.
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.