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updated: 6/27/2014 7:27 PM

Residents on DuPage side of border suburbs overtaxed

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Disgruntled homeowners in northwest DuPage County who officials say have been overpaying property taxes will see some relief on their 2015 bills, while it's possible some Kane County taxpayers will pay more.

The Kane County clerk's office understated the totaled assessed values in the county's portions of Elgin Area School District U-46 and Elgin Community College District 509, Wayne Township Assessor Michael Musson said. Officials have chalked up the mistake to a software glitch, Musson said.

The clerk's office sent the incorrect figures to the Illinois Department of Revenue. When taxing districts extend into several counties, the department divvies up the property tax burden.

As a result of the error, the state shifted the tax burden too heavily onto DuPage property owners in the school districts, officials say. They include homeowners in parts of Bartlett, Carol Stream, Hanover Park and Wayne.

In Bartlett's DuPage side, the gaffe forced the owner of a $300,000 home to fork over an extra $400 in property taxes this year, Musson estimated.

"It's pretty ridiculous," said Mayor Kevin Wallace, adding village officials have been working with the state to find a remedy.

The total property tax bill for that Bartlett resident jumped 10.9 percent to $10,341 this year, Musson said. Without the error, the bill would have climbed 6 percent to 7 percent, he estimated.

"It was shocking how much they (bills) had gone up," Musson said.

The mistake stems from Kane's reporting of homestead exemptions in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, a department of revenue spokeswoman said in an email. The state alerted three county clerks about the mistake this May.

That timeline allows the Cook County clerk's office to send out bills -- due in August -- that avoid overcharging again and credits taxpayers who paid too much last year, said Bill Vaselopulos, the office's real estate and tax services director.

Although it is the state's formula that distributes the burden among neighboring counties, Musson said it was his office that was swamped with calls from taxpayers in sticker shock in May. Musson pegs those affected by the miscalculation at nearly 13,000 taxpayers.

He said officials plan to adjust next year's bills to reflect DuPage taxpayers who overpaid and Kane taxpayers who were undercharged.

"It's unfortunate," he said.

Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham said late Friday the adjustment will be made with "minimal damage" to taxpayers and declined further comment until his office finishes looking into the issue.

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