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Old 05-12-2013, 06:31 AM
4 posts, read 10,849 times
Reputation: 10


I live in New Lenox, Illinois and have lived in Illinois nearly my entire life. We are looking to move and are considering NW Indiana as a possible landing spot due to the Real Estate Taxes. For example, I currently pay $5,350 for my real estate taxes for a home worth only $200,000. Looking at real estate in St. John, Schererville and Dyer I am noticing tax bills range from $1,500 to $3000 for homes worth way more than mine.

Now I also heard there is no sales tax on food and gas is slightly cheaper. One down side could be car license plate fees but I'm not sure how much that is.

I work in Chicago so I would be driving every day to work instead of taking the Rock Island Train so this would be a major adjustment. I appears the driving distance is the exact same of New Lenox Illinois to my current job but I was able to sleep. Plus the wear and tear of my car would be a downside. If I have to buy cars more, would I even save enough money to be worth moving.

My big questions are....

What are the Pros and Cons of moving from Illinois to NW Indiana?
What is the annual fee for car license plates? I heard it was based on year of car.
How is the traffic? Whenever I have visited it appears 41 is a nightmare but maybe there are side streets I don't know about.
Has anyone made the move and regretted it and why?
Are there any other perks that I am unaware of?
What kinds of things are there to do? Festivals, events, shopping, restaurants, culture, etc.
The nearest hospital to St. John, Schererville and Dyer and how good is it rated?

Last edited by Chuckster85; 05-12-2013 at 06:49 AM..
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:30 AM
Location: Turn Left at Greenland
17,764 posts, read 39,725,561 times
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Well, your RE taxes will certainly go down immediately! But you will have to pay both Indiana and Illinois income taxes ... is that right anyone? And yes, the tag fees for cars is on the high end, the newer your car, the higher the fee. My old beater in grad school cost $25 to tag, so it goes down exponentially as your car ages.

Do they still have emissions testing in NWI? I remember having to do it in Valpo back when we lived there. And yes, so sales tax on food or medicine and those items tend to be cheaper overall as well. Gas is cheaper than Illinois too.

You could take the south shore into the city ... take it from the Hammond or East Chicago station. I know of people who drive to the Harvey metra station from Indiana too.

We never regretted leaving the high taxes of Illinois behind.

There are festivals in NWI, Pierogi fest in Whiting is fun.

As for hospitals, sorry, not that well versed ...

Good luck!
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:58 AM
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Move one more County to the East, but still ride the South Shore. Looks like Lake County is going to get a county income tax.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:58 AM
Location: Bloomington IN
8,590 posts, read 12,342,412 times
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You'll do well to break down the numbers. How much will it cost to drive to work everyday versus the train? That alone may wipe out any lower taxes. I know a 50 plus mile, one way commute cost me about $350-400 in gas a month. You may not be commuting as far, but the traffic will likely make it similar in time and costs. You also have to add parking costs if you drive into the city. The South Shore might be an option, but you will still need to drive to catch the train--probably farther than you drive now.

Here is the chart for car excise tax rates.
BMV: Excise Tax Information

There is one hospital in Dyer: St. Margaret Mercy south campus. It's been years since I've lived nearby so I don't know this hospital rates.
Here are others:
Hospital and Medical Care in Northwest Indiana

Yes, you will have to pay taxes in IL and IN. I'm not sure about how it breaks down, but you will have to pay both states. I'm not sure how old this article is, but it explains it:

Do I Have to Pay Tax to Both States If I Live in Indiana & Work in Illinois? | eHow

Here is what the state says: http://www.in.gov/dor/files/ib28.pdf
Illinois doesn't have an agreement with IN.

I'd add up all the costs and go from there.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:23 AM
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Community Hospital, Munster Indiana

Don't forget Community Hospital in Munster. I prefer it to St Margaret.

Moving a county east doesn't help, since Lake County was the last in the state to enact an income tax. 1.5% of income, and higher car registration probably wouldn't make up the difference in property taxes, but paying income tax to both states on top of that might. You've got some math to do!

Last edited by subject2change; 05-12-2013 at 11:32 AM..
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Old 05-12-2013, 04:11 PM
41 posts, read 91,559 times
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As already pointed out, Lake County has a 1.5% county income tax coming in October. For all intents and purposes, any income tax advantage Lake County had over Illinois will be gone from that point on since the rates will be pretty much the same. I'm not sure how a Lake County income tax factors into the equation if you're working in Illinois though.

I'd look into utility costs too. From what I've seen of NIPSCO, its rates make ComEd look like an absolute bargain. Having picked an alternate supplier, my electricity costs are half of what they would be under NIPSCO. Higher electricity costs certainly won't close the gap in property taxes between Lake County and Will County, but they're another factor that will likely decrease any potential savings a move would yield.

I live a little south of you in Kankakee County. Our sales tax is 6.25% versus Indiana's 7%, and gas prices here are generally at worst the same as in Lake County. I had similar thoughts about relocating and did some math around the time of the Illinois income tax increase. A move to Lake County would save me about $800 per year in taxes, which would be more than wiped out by the costs of a much longer commute.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:07 PM
Location: Ocala
145 posts, read 388,139 times
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I have a 2012 Honda Accord that I got tagged last July and it cost me $250. My mother, on the other hand, has a 2000 Accord and I think hers was something like $57. On the flip, in Florida (where I live now), new tag fee is $225 across the board BEFORE registering the car, title fees, all that stuff. Indiana wasn't cheap but not nearly expensive as Florida. Plus Indiana licenses are only $15, can't beat that! lol
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Old 05-13-2013, 04:41 AM
Location: Turn Left at Greenland
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I had a 1983 honda civic that I plated in Bloomington in 1991 for $25 ..
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:33 PM
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Chuckster - to be honest, I feel like New Lenox is quite similar overall to the tri-town area (which are what the towns of Dyer, Schererville, St. John are referred to as) in many ways. When it comes to income levels, housing stock, diversity (or lack thereof), strong public schools, bedroom communities, "out there but not too far out there" feel, similar distance from Chicago, and room for more development, there are a lot of parallels. St. John is probably the most similar to New Lenox out of the three NWI towns you're considering, but there aren't huge differences between the three.

Without knowing your level of income or the value of the house you'd potentially purchase in Northwest Indiana and taking into consideration the likely Lake County income tax later this year, I'd still be willing to bet that your cost of living and taxes living in NWI would be lower compared to New Lenox without any dropoff in standard of living.

Regarding state taxes, you do file two returns, one for Indiana and one for Illinois, but there are certain credits that you claim on your Indiana tax return that allows you to not get double taxed. Been doing it for several years now.

Regarding the recommendation of Porter County as a possible landing spot, I'll have to respectfully disagree if you're going to continue working in downtown Chicago and taking the train into work. I'm a huge fan of Porter County, but it's too far for a daily commuter to Chicago. The train ride alone from the Dune Park South Shore station to Millennium Station downtown (at Randolph/Michigan Ave) is an hour and 20 mins. Add in the time to get to the train station in Indiana and the walk to your office downtown and your one way commute could be well over 90 mins. I did that commute for a while while living in Porter County and would recommend against it if you'd like to keep your sanity. In the winter it could be 2 hrs each way with slick roads and increased driving times. Cost of living would be cheaper in Porter County but in my opinion it's not a trade off that's worth it if working downtown.

Last edited by svillechris; 05-13-2013 at 12:59 PM..
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:56 PM
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So you are saying that this 1.2% Lake County Income Tax will be in addition to my Illinois Income Tax? If so, that could be a deal breaker for me.
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