The assessment date of both real and personal property is January 1 of each year. The official name on the property tax bill is the January 1st property owner. Real property owners can list their property with the property valuation administrator between January 1 and March 1, while tangible personal property must be listed between January 1 and May 15.
The preliminary real property assessment totals are scheduled to be submitted by the property valuation administrator to the Office of Property Valuation by the first Monday in April. These totals are evaluated to ensure they meet the fair cash value standards that have been established. If the totals are accepted, the next phase of the property tax calendar may begin. If the totals are rejected, the property valuation administrator will receive specific instructions regarding what must be done to be accepted.
The tax roll inspection period is scheduled to begin on the first Monday in May and continue for thirteen days. The tax roll must be open for six days per week – including Saturdays – and is scheduled to conclude on the third Monday in May. Alternate schedules may have to be used for the inspection period. For example, the inspection period does not have to begin on a Monday; however, the applicable statute does provide that the last day of the inspection period cannot be a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. The property valuation administrator must advertise the actual dates of the tax roll inspection period in the local newspaper.
During the tax roll inspection period, property owners may file assessment appeals in the county clerk’s office. The county clerk needs to ensure that the property owner has had a conference with the property valuation administrator and has listed his or her opinion of value for the property in question before accepting the appeal. Taxpayers who have had a conference with the property valuation administrator have until the close of business of the day following the last day of the inspection period to file an appeal.
Within three working days after the close of the inspection period, the county clerk’s office is required to provide a summary of all appeals filed to the property valuation administrator. The property valuation administrator then has three more working days to make the necessary changes to the tax roll due to the appeal filings and submit a final summary of the real property assessments to the Office of Property Valuation.
The local board of assessment appeals convenes no earlier than 25 and not later than 35 calendar days following the conclusion of the tax roll inspection period. If no appeals have been filed, the board meets for only one day to review the assessments of property owned by the property valuation administrator and the deputies in the office. The board meets for no more than five days unless an extension has been granted by the Office of Property Valuation.
After the assessments of all property in a county have been finalized and certified by the Office of Property Valuation, local tax rates can be set and tax bills can be prepared and mailed. The property tax calendar provides for delivery of the tax bills to the sheriff by September 15 of each year; however, many counties wait until October 1 or November 1 to mail their tax bills. If tax bills are mailed by October 1, taxpayers have until November 1 to pay their bill with a 2 percent discount. The face amount of the tax bill is due from November 2 to December 31. In January, a 5 percent penalty is added to the total amount due and beginning February 1 the penalty increases to 21 percent of the tax due. On April 15, all unpaid tax bills are transferred from the sheriff’s office to the county clerk’s office as of the close of business. The county attorney is then responsible for sending out notices to the delinquent taxpayers while the county clerk processes and distributes payments received, advertises the delinquent tax bills and conducts a sale of the delinquencies to third party purchasers.