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You Have Nothing to Lose (and Everything to Gain) by Appealing Your Property Tax Assessment

By Gary H. Smith
01/16/2018
You Have Nothing to Lose (and Everything to Gain) by Appealing Your Property Tax Assessment

Commercial and residential property owners in Illinois can save thousands of dollars by appealing their property tax assessments. Since Cook County does not raise assessments based on whether an appeal was filed and there is no cost to challenge an assessment, property owners have nothing to lose by filing an appeal. Between 30 and 60 percent of properties are assessed too high and property owners could save thousands of dollars by appealing these assessments. Despite this potential for savings, only about 5 percent of property owners file appeals.

Property Owners Reap the Benefits of Filing an Appeal

Over the past few years, property taxes in Chicago have substantially increased. Although commercial and residential property values continuously fluctuate, Cook County follows a triennial tax assessment schedule and property values are only estimated every three years. Since the county relies on computer models to derive assessed values, many properties are assessed too high. Additionally, mistakes about the square footage of the properties, the number of rooms, the property category and the condition of the properties may result in the properties being over-assessed. Appealing the assessment can help correct these errors, provide the assessor with a more accurate idea of the property value, and may result in substantial reductions in property taxes. Property owners who appeal their assessments may save money on their tax bills for years to come. Since no fee is charged unless a reduction in taxes is achieved and the fee is based on the tax dollars that are actually saved, Cook County property owners have nothing to lose by exercising their right to challenge their property tax bills as soon as they receive them in the mail.

Why People Fail to Appeal

Misconceptions that the county will retaliate by raising property assessments have led many consumers to avoid filing an appeal. However, property tax assessments in Cook County will not increase due to filing an appeal. Instead, they are likelier to go down. Busy schedules and concerns about the complexity of the appeals process are also reasons so many people never appeal their assessments. However, the process for appealing property tax assessments in Cook County is straightforward and is almost effortless when a Chicago property tax attorney handles the appeal.

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