How To Appeal Property Taxes In Cook County

You worked hard to earn your piece of the American dream. Home ownership, however, can take a nightmarish twist when your property tax bill arrives. The good news is there is an appeal process that might provide some tax relief if you think the Cook County assessor’s office overestimated the value of your home or made another error before your bill was calculated.

The assessor’s office, relying primarily on sales data, reviews property values every three years. The assessor then sends notices informing homeowners of their property’s reassessed value. Your tax bill is determined by a formula based on this value and tax rates set by various government bodies.

If your property taxes are paid through a mortgage escrow account, meaning the total is included in your monthly payment, you will notice any increase when the new payment is determined. The best time to appeal, however, is immediately after the reassessment notice arrives — not the actual property tax bill.

Property owners should note that reassessment notices are being mailed this year to homeowners in the north and northwest suburbs (including to residents in Maine Township) in late May, and Niles Township in early September. The reassessed values will be reflected in the second-installment property tax bills in 2017.

Decisions to appeal generally are based on either erroneous information about a property or on a homeowner’s belief that other comparable area properties have been reassessed at lower levels. Information on the reassessed values of other local properties can be obtained from the assessor’s office or a newspaper. The reassessment notices also now contain sample comparable properties, according to the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

While some people hire attorneys to help with the appeal process, it is not necessary. If you have your Property Identification Number (PIN), appeals can be filed online. Forms also can be downloaded from the assessor’s office website. Homeowners can call the assessor’s office or local township assessor’s office for assistance, too.

Appeal forms can be completed within 30 days from when the reassessment notices are received. The deadline date is on the notice.

Many township assessors, including the Niles Township Assessor, also host seminars to help residents prepare their appeals. A homeowner can appeal in between reassessment years during periods when the township in which the property is located is “open” for appeals. If an appeal is successful, reductions are reflected in the subsequent year’s second-installment tax bills.

If an appeal is unsuccessful or a reduction is insufficient, a homeowner can ask for a re-review or take the appeal to the Cook County Board of Review. Board of Review decisions can be appealed to the Property Tax Appeal Board, but it can take two to three years before a hearing takes place. Only a court can overturn a decision made by the Property Tax Appeal Board.

If rising property taxes are leaving you to face a monthly cash crunch, this might be a good time to evaluate refinancing options with Liberty Bank for Savings to see if you can lower your overall monthly payment.

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