How do I contact the Treasurer's office?


Stephanie A. Helms, Treasurer & Collector
50 W. Douglas St., Suite 503
Freeport, IL 61032



Stephanie office pic

What are the hours for the Treasurer's office?

The normal office hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On major holidays the office is closed.

Holiday closures for the remainder of 2023 and for 2024:

Friday, November 10
Thursday-Friday, November 23-24
Friday, December 22
Friday, December 23
Monday, December 25

Monday, January 1
Monday, January 15
Monday, February 19
Friday, March 29
Monday, May 27
Wednesday, June 19
Thursday, July 4
Monday, September 2
Monday, October 14
Tuesday, November 5
Monday, November 11
Thursday-Friday November 28-29
Tuesday- Wednesday, December 24-25

How do I pay my tax bill?

Mail your tax bill and payment to:

Stephenson County Collector
50 W. Douglas St., Suite 503
Freeport, IL 61032

You may pay in person at Stephenson County Treasurer & Collector's office, located at

Stewart Centre
50 W. Douglas St., Suite 503
(fifth floor)
Freeport, IL 61032

For your convenience, most banks in Stephenson County can accept property tax payments.  Fifth Third Bank cannot accept tax payments and neither can credit unions.

Fill out the online forms at GovPayNet.

Can I use my credit card for payment?
You may pay with either a Master Card, American Express, VISA or Discover Card in the Treasurer’s Office or online using the "GovPayNet" link. Debit card payment is also accepted. An online payment convenience fee  is charged by AllPaid/GovPay for all electronic payments. No portion of that fee is paid to Stephenson County.
If I pay by mail, do you honor the postmark?

Yes, as long as the postmark is made by the post office, and not by a metered postal machine, because the machine's date can be altered. The payment must be dated by midnight of the due date in order to avoid penalty costs.   

We suggest you mail in advance of the due date because of differences in post office processing times.  If you mail the bill on the due date, you may wish to send it directly from the post office and ask the postal worker to apply the postmark in front of you.

This does NOT apply to the final date to pay before tax sale. All payments must be RECEIVED by the end of the business day on November 15, 2022.

Why do tax rates vary so within Stephenson County?
  • There are many tax code districts within this county.
  • Every parcel of property is located within the boundaries of a specific combination of taxing bodies.
  • The tax rate varies because the number of taxing bodies attached to each parcel varies.
How many tax bills does your office send out?
  • Over 26,000 tax bills are sent to property owners for Stephenson County
  • One tax bill is mailed out in the month of June for both installments of the real estate property tax due.
  • The two equal installments are due in July and September, though both installments made be paid at once on or before the first installment due date.
I never received my tax bill. What should I do?

If you did not receive a tax bill during the month of June, or if you lose your bill, a computer print-out of the essential information contained on the missing bill can be provided by the Treasurer's Office.  An  exact duplicate of the bill is available to property owners for $1.00 per copy, per parcel.  The duplicate bill fee for non-owners is $5.  

Veterans are not charged a duplicate bill fee.

Billing information can be located by searching the property assessment and tax page, here.  Note that a barcoded payment coupon is required to process the payment.

Caution: Failure to receive your tax bill does not void the tax or prevent the addition of penalties and costs.

The address on my bill is wrong; how do I change it?
The Assessor's office requires a signature on file for a change of address. The back of your tax bill has a convenient "Change of Address Form."
You may fill it out and return it to us either with your tax payment.

As an alternative, the Assessor's office can mail you a form so that you may provide the necessary information. Your signature assures  the county that we are not responding to a deceptive request.  An online version of the form is available here.
Can I make a partial payment on my bill?
Illinois law will not allow us to accept partial payments.  If you mail us a partial payment, we will return it to you.
Have I applied for my owner occupancy exemption for the coming year?
The Chief County Assessment Office, 815-235-8260, has the responsibility for a variety of exemptions, legal descriptions, mapping, and address clarifications, as well as the filing of assessment complaints. Contact that office for assistance on all of those particular matters.
I bought my house last September. Why do I have to pay a tax bill for a whole year?
  • Property is taxed, not individuals.
  • Tax bills are payable on the prior year's assessment, and taxes are due for a full calendar year.
  • Prorating of the tax bill between the buyer and the seller, based on the length of ownership of property, is generally done at the time the property changes hands and written into the contract.
  • The current owner is liable for the entire tax amount due.
How does my mortgage company know what my property taxes are?
Many mortgage companies have contracts with one of several national tax service firms. These organizations do research to match property code numbers with tax amounts. The mortgage company sends the county a payment file, accompanied by a check, to pay the real estate taxes of all properties on which it holds funds in escrow for that purpose.
Why don't I just have my tax bill sent to my mortgage company?
You would then miss notices sent out regarding assessment changes, exemption renewals, notice of unpaid taxes and tax sale, as well as the tax bill itself.

If in doubt whether you need to forward your bill for payment, contact your mortgage holder.
My mortgage company and I both paid the taxes due on the same installment. Will you send the double payment back to me?
Our practice is to return the second payment to the sender of that payment.

We are not able to arbitrate disagreements between payers, and we ask the parties involved to decide who is entitled to the refund.
I refinanced my mortgage recently. If there is a mix-up and my taxes aren't paid on time, how will I know?
In October, before any delinquent taxes are sent to the November tax sale, certified letters are sent to owners of unpaid taxes informing them of the dates and penalties involved regarding any current unpaid taxes.  Please be certain that the Assessor's office has your current mailing address.

A notification is also published in a local newspaper, the Village Voices.
My mortgage company holds money in escrow to pay my property taxes. If they pay them late, who is responsible to pay penalties or late fees because of that?
When lenders hold money in escrow for property tax payments, it is their obligation to pay the taxes on time, and for the appropriate amount. In cases where a mistake is made, the lender is responsible for all penalties and fees incurred. These fees are not to be paid from the escrow accounts in their keeping.
What if, for some reason, I have to pay my taxes late?
  • After the due date, a late penalty is added at the rate of 1.5% per month.
  • This penalty is not prorated.
  • The exact amount of the penalty can be provided by calling our office at 235-8264.
What if, for some reason, I am altogether unable to pay my taxes?
In November, because all property taxes in the county must be paid each year, delinquent taxes are offered at a tax sale. 
NOTE:  It is the property TAXES which are sold, NOT the property itself.

At this time, tax buyers bid for the opportunity to pay delinquent taxes, and acquire a lien on the property. This lien must be paid back to the tax buyer at whatever rate of interest the successful bidder established in his or her winning bid.

After the tax sale, which ends the annual tax cycle, all records of delinquent taxes move to the County Clerk's Office (815-235-8289). That office must be contacted for information on the redemption amounts of sold taxes.
Will I lose my property?

If your property taxes are sold, you are not in immediate danger of losing your property. 

When taxes are sold, a tax lien is placed on the property.

Eventually it could lead to the loss of your home, but only if  no payment is made to clear the tax lien before 30 months have passed.

How is my fair share of taxes determined?
An equitable assessment of a parcel's value is one important part of the process to establish the appropriate real estate tax on a piece of property. For tax purposes, the value of each property on January 1 of the taxable year is used.  Assessors use a numerical equalization formula to make sure all properties within the county are uniformly assessed at one-third of the fair market value. That amount becomes the property's taxable value, except in situations where that property holder is eligible for credits or exemptions.* In that circumstance those amounts are subtracted from the assessed value, which then establishes a new and lower taxable value.

The other and equally important part of the determination of a property's real estate tax is the tax rate. Tax rates vary among the 108 tax districts within the county, since each parcel of property lies within the boundaries of several taxing bodies. Tax rates are calculated by the Tax Extension Division of the County Clerk's Office for each individual taxing district. This is accomplished by dividing the amount of money (the levy) that the taxing units of local government (school, forest preserve, township, county and so on) budget to raise from property taxes, by the tax base for that jurisdiction.  All of these determinations are subject to legal limits.

With the taxable value of each property established, and the tax rate determined through the actions of the many taxing bodies, it is then possible to calculate the real estate property tax on all of the 27,000+ parcels. The tax rate is multiplied against the taxable value of each parcel of real estate to arrive at the property tax. To calculate the exact dollar and cents amount of the tax, or to check the accuracy of your tax bill, you must remember to move the decimal point of the tax rate two places to the left, since the rate is based on hundreds.

* Owner Occupied Exemption, Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption, Senior Citizen Freeze, Homestead Improvement Exemption, Disabled Veteran Exemption and 4 others Note: In general, properties owned by the US Government, State of Illinois, Stephenson County, Municipalities, School Districts, Churches and 501(c)(2) and 501(c)(3) Charitable Organizations are exempt from payment of property taxes.
Well, what should I do if I don't think the assessed value given to my property is accurate?

In that case, call the Chief County Assessment Office to discuss the matter with them.

if you reside in Freeport Township (your parcel number begins with 18), please contact the Freeport Township Assessor.  Freeport Township assesses it's own parcels,  while the County Assessor handles the other 17 townships.

Freeport Township Assessor
524 W. Stephenson St.
Suite 214
Freeport, IL  61032

HOURS:  Monday - Thursday 7:30 am - 4:00 pm, Friday 7:30 am - 1:00 pm
PHONE: (815)-232-6131 
EMAIL: fptassr@freeporttownship.org 


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