The Office of the Assessor is the only elected position that has statutory, pre-election requirements. In larger jurisdictions, candidates must obtain the Certified Illinois Assessing Officer designation from the Illinois Property Assessment Institute. In smaller jurisdictions, a basic course of instruction approved by the Department of Revenue is required. Incumbent elected assessors must complete continuing education requirements before they can run for re-election.
The township assessor is more appropriately an appraiser. The assessor’s responsibilities include the mass appraisal of all taxable property within the township or a multi-township assessment district.
Mass appraisal requires the assessor to perform three fundamental yet vital duties.
1) Discover, list and value all new construction within the jurisdiction.
2) Ensure that existing property is valued at the appropriate statutory level of market value.
3) Assure that similar property is valued in a uniform manner.
In order to fulfill these duties, assessors must annually determine what properties are being altered and visit each to collect data for use in determining market value of new construction. The assessor also must analyze recent sales and perform sales ratio studies to determine which areas require reassessment and must also analyze the fairness of assessments. The assessor reports changes to county officials and also establishes homestead exemptions and responds to complaints about assessments.
Township assessors use the same principles, techniques and methods as those applied by fee appraisers.
The purpose of the assessment is to apportion the tax burden as created by taxing districts: schools, municipalities, park districts, counties and townships. Assessors do not levy, collect or distribute tax revenues.
The assessor funds the office by submitting a detailed budget for approval by the township board. Once the budget is approved by the board, the assessor may use the money for the day-to-day operation of the office.
Any township with a population fewer than 1,000 must become a part of a multi-township assessment district (MTAD) with one or more adjoining townships. Nearly 700 Illinois townships fall into this category. The supervisor and clerk from each township in an MTAD comprise the MTAD board of trustees.