A Publication of WTVP

Bulletin 810: a publication that's going to change how farmland is assessed. It establishes soil productivity indexes for all soil types in Illinois. Soil productivity is one of the factors used to determine assessments on farmland. In turn, assessments are used to calculate property taxes.

Bulletin 810 is replacing Circular 1156 for the 2006 assessment year. Circular 1156 was originally published in 1978 and has been used to establish crop yield estimates for known soil types in Illinois. The document was supplemented in 1994 for new soils established between 1978 and 1994.

During the past few decades, crop yields have increased significantly. These increases are reflective of advanced technology such as improved plant varieties, pesticides and fertilizers, higher plant populations, increased accuracy in farm equipment, and better management. Bulletin 810 incorporates the effects of these technological and management improvements on crop production and soil productivity. Each soil type is assigned new crop yields under the assumption of an average level of management.

Preparation towards the implementation of Bulletin 810 has taken some effort. Many county assessing officials experienced difficulties in making needed improvements in technology and funding resources necessary to meet Bulletin 810 compliance requirements. With these difficulties, the actual implementation of Bulletin 810 has been delayed one year. The original plan was to use Bulletin 810 for 2005 assessments. It looks like just about every county is now ready to initiate the changes.

The Illinois Department of Revenue provided the certified farmland values to county assessing officials just prior to the May 1 deadline. These figures are for the 2006 assessment year and will be used to calculate taxes payable in 2007.

Comparing the 2005 Equalized Assessed Values (EAVs) per acre using Circular 1156 and the 2006 EAVs utilizing Bulletin 810, most counties will see their EAVs going down for 2006. Statewide, counties are averaging a drop of 15 percent, with all but 12 counties losing assessed (farmland) value. The EAVs range from a drop of 67 percent in Cumberland County to the highest rise of 19 percent in LaSalle County. Peoria County's EAV will drop just over 28 percent.

Even though Peoria County's EAV drops significantly, don't expect a big change in property taxes payable. Bulletin 810 takes a different approach in soil productivity, compared to Circular 1156.

The 10 percent up/down cap on farmland assessments won't apply while this one-year change to Bulletin 810 occurs. The 10 percent cap was initiated in the early 1980s when dramatic price swings were taking place in farmland values. Prior to the 10 percent cap, price swings made budgeting very difficult for landowners and/or local taxing districts.

To further educate landowners on these assessment changes, the Peoria County Farm Bureau will host a Farmland Assessment meeting at 7 p.m., June 23, in the auditorium. Dwight Raab from the University of Illinois will present. The informational meeting is open to the public. IBI