The Village of Chicago Heights changed plans to raise the transfer tax on real estate property sales after Illinois REALTORS® local Governmental Affairs Director Tom Joseph questioned the validity of the increase.

In June, some sellers and real estate brokers told Joseph the village planned to assess higher transfer taxes on property owners during transactions. Instead of charging $4 for every thousand dollars of a property’s sale price, the village planned to charge $6 per thousand.

However, while the village was not aware of a 1998 state law that requires municipalities to approve tax increases through a binding referendum, Joseph knew that Illinois REALTORS® strongly advocated for the passage of the law more than 20 years ago.

After Joseph pointed out that increasing the transfer tax without the referendum was illegal, village officials quickly corrected course and changed the rate back to $4 per thousand. Had it not been for his advocacy on behalf of private property owners, the village might have illegally collected transfer taxes, he says.