Appeal your property taxes: Window closing on property tax appeals

President's Message | By Greg Nagel 

In Chicago we have the opportunity to challenge the assessed value of our properties, which drives the property tax we owe the county. There are two opportunities to challenge these assessed values, the Cook County Assessor and the Board of Review.

Many people hire attorneys to challenge their taxes and represent them legally at bot levels. Most attorneys will take a percentage of the tax savings over three years typically ranging from 25% to 40%.

However, the Board of Review has a free outreach program where the same personnel who decide if an appeal has merit will work with taxpayers directly to challenge their taxes.

Whether this yields better results than hiring an attorney is subjective, but I have had excellent results for myself and my clients. And since there is no attorney involved in the appeal, it is absolutely free and as simple as filling out a form.

The basic appeal is to argue that there is a "lack of uniformity" in your assessed value compared to similar properties. Some people may feel that whether an attorney is more effective than appealing direct may depend on the complexity of the appeal.

Ald. Joe Moreno has setup two meetings for the community to meet with the Board of Review to ask questions and file the appeal itself on the spot. EVA had the Board of Review come to a general meeting last year, but the West Chicago Township closes its review period on June 4 before the next EVA meeting on June 7.

The meetings are June 2 at Goethe School, 2236 N. Rockwell, and June 3 at the Ukrainian Cultural Center, 2247 W. Chicago. Board of Review staffers are available from 6:30 to 8 p.m. both dates.

To fill out the form at the meeting and file the appeal directly make sure to have the following information with you:
  • Building Permanent Index Number (PIN) and volume found on your tax bill.

  • Date and purchase price of your property.

If you are interested in appealing your property taxes to the Board of Review directly or through an attorney, its critical to file your appeal before June 4.

Long-time Occupant Homeowner’s Exemption

Most people know about the basic exemptions like the homeowner or senior citizen. However, many people do not know about a relatively new the Long-time Occupant Homeowner exemption that became law just 2 years ago.

This exemption limits the annual increase you can get to your property taxes if you own your home 10 years or more and make $100,000 or less.

Exemptions show in the 2nd installment of your taxes and are not ever reflected on the 1st installment. I always forget this when I look at my 1st installment and assume I'm getting cheated.

With the way property taxes are rising, you can see how beneficial this exemption could be. If you have questions, send me an e-mail.
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