Real Estate Tax FAQ’s


Q. What determines how much I pay in real estate taxes?

A. Calculating real estate taxes is a complicated process that involves township tax assessors, the Franklin County Supervisor of Assessments, the Illinois Department of Revenue, and each local unit of government. For more detailed information about this process, please visit the Franklin County Supervisor of Assessment’s section of this website.


Q. How can I get my real estate taxes lowered?

A. For information on assessment changes AND real estate tax exemptions, please visit the Franklin County Supervisor of Assessment’s section of this website.


Q. Why did my taxes go up even though my assessment went down?

A. The assessment is only part of what determines the amount of real estate taxes you pay. Tax rates are another piece of the puzzle. In many cases, assessments may go down while tax rates increase. Tax rates are determined by the total amount of money that is levied by your units of local government and the total equalized assessed value of your particular taxing district.


Q. Can I pay under protest?

A. To protest the amount of real estate taxes you must pay, you must first contact the Supervisor of Assessments’ office and complete the complaint process. If you do not feel that your complaint has been resolved after completing this process, then you may file a complaint in the circuit court. However, while going through this process, you must pay the taxes that have been billed to avoid tax liens from being placed upon your property. 


Q. Why aren't real estate taxes mailed at the same time each year?

A. The real estate tax collection process is a long and complicated process that involves the county treasurer, county supervisor of assessments, county clerk, each unit of government in Franklin County, and the State of Illinois. If the process is delayed at any point for a multitude of reasons, it can affect the timeframe in which the treasurer’s office mails the bills. As a result, the treasurer makes every attempt to give timely notice to taxpayers, and give sufficient time to pay.


Q. How do I change the mailing address on my tax bill?

A. You may download a change of address form, and return it to the Supervisor of Assessments' office for processing.


Q. What happens if I pay my real estate taxes late?

A. Illinois state law requires the county collector to collect a late payment penalty of 1.5% per month on each installment that is late. Each installment must be paid on or before the installment due date to be considered timely.


Q. What happens if I don't pay my real estate taxes?

A. The real estate tax enforcement timeline can be found here. Real estate taxes that remain unpaid are subject to tax sale. At the annual tax sale, individuals bid on the right to pay the delinquent taxes and penalties, and then charge the property owner interest at an initial maximum rate of 18%. If taxes go unpaid in subsequent years, then the tax buyer has a right to pay subsequent years' taxes, and charge the property owner an initial interest rate of 12%. If the property owner fails to pay the tax buyer back with interest within a prescribed amount of time, then the tax buyer may ask the court to issue him or her deed to the property. For more information about paying delinquent taxes, please visit the Franklin County Clerk’s section of this website.


Q. In the event of a real estate transaction, is the buyer or seller responsible for paying the real estate taxes?

A. The real estate tax bill will be mailed to the property owner at the address indicated on the deed. In typical real estate transactions, the seller will compensate the buyer for real estate taxes at the time of closing. It is the responsibility of the buyer and seller to negotiate this matter.


Q. Where do my real estate tax dollars go?

A. Real estate taxes are distributed to over fifty units of local government in Franklin County. Where your tax dollars go specifically is determined by where your property is located. The units of government include schools, townships, cities, libraries, fire districts, the county, and others. The majority of your real estate tax dollars go the local school district in which your property is located.


Q. How much of my real estate tax dollars go to Franklin County government?

A. For the 2013 tax year, the total county tax extension is $27,260,419.67. Of this amount, $3,241,359.49 (or approximately 11.9%) will go to Franklin County government. The remaining $24,000,000 will go to the other taxing districts located throughout the county.


Q. My property is in a TIF district. What is a TIF district, and how are my TIF taxes calculated?

A. TIF stands for "Tax Increment Finance". TIF districts are an economic development tool used by local governments in an attempt to encourage development in certain areas. Simply put, if a parcel is located in a TIF district, the real estate taxes on the growth in the net taxable value of a parcel go to the TIF fund, rather than to the other taxing bodies listed on the tax bill.

On your tax bill, the key numbers to look at are the "TIF Base", "Net Taxable Value", and "Tax Rate". The "TIF Base" was the "Net Taxable Value" of the parcel at the time the parcel was incorporated into a TIF District. The "Net Taxable Value" is the equalized assessed value of a parcel minus any exemptions, plus the value of any farmland or farm buildings. The "Tax Rate" is the multiplier used to determine real estate taxes on all parcels located within your specific taxing district.

To determine the amount of your real estate taxes that go into your community’s TIF Fund, use the following formula:

TIF Taxes = (Net Taxable Value – TIF Base) x Tax Rate

If the Net Taxable Value of your property is greater than the TIF Base value of your parcel, then you are contributing toward the TIF District. Conversely, if the Net Taxable Value of your property is less than the TIF Base value of your parcel, then you are not contributing toward the TIF District. This amount can vary greatly from parcel to parcel.

For questions about how your TIF dollars are used, please contact the officials of the community in which you live. Neither Franklin County government nor the Franklin County Treasurer’s office control the creation of TIF districts nor the use of TIF tax dollars.


Q. How do I buy properties for delinquent taxes?

A. Each year, Franklin County holds a delinquent tax sale where tax buyers may acquire tax liens on properties. For more information on the process, download our Tax Sale Registration Packet.

Also, the Franklin County Delinquent Tax agent holds a sale each year of property that Franklin County has acquired for delinquent real estate or mobile home taxes. For more information, visit the Franklin County Delinquent Tax Agent’s website at http://www.iltaxsale.com/new/index.php/county/Franklin.