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Don’t Miss the Deadline to Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment

By Gary H. Smith
Don’t Miss the Deadline to Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment

The Cook County Assessor is sending out new property tax assessments in the mail to all Chicago businesses and homeowners on a rolling basis this year, and all property owners should be aware of the Assessor deadlines for filing an appeal to his office. Assessments can be appealed to the Assessor or to the Board of Review in any year, and filing to the Assessor is not a requirement to file to the Board of Review. Both the Assessor and the Board of Review can lower assessments. So, why is it so important to focus on the Assessor deadlines if a “make up” can always be had at the Board?

If property owners miss the small window for appealing their assessments to the Assessor, they will have to wait until the next year to file a dispute to the Assessor office. It is the Assessor’s office that maintains and corrects errors in the county information listed about the property; it is the Assessor office that conducts site visits to properly allocate for vacancy, damage or destruction and determines all exemptions; and it is the Assessor’s office (non-vacancy or damage) reductions that are the most certain to be maintained for all three years of the triennial cycle and not potentially require a second or a third appeal to maintain. Also, Assessor deadlines are critical information in estimating Board of Review deadlines. Appealing the property assessment to the Assessor office when the appeal filing period is open may help property owners save large amounts of money on their tax bills this year as well as in the future.

Appeals Deadlines and How They Work

Cook County is divided into 38 townships, and the City of Chicago is divided into eight townships (Rogers Park, Lake View, Hyde Park, Lake, Jefferson, West, North, and South). All of the properties in the townships within the City of Chicago are due for their triennial assessments in 2018. The assessments are scheduled to be mailed out on a rolling basis according to the township’s names. The new assessments will be used to determine the property taxes that must be paid for the next three years.

Once people receive their assessments in the mail, they will have a limited time to appeal them to the Cook County Assessor’s Office. The Board of Review only opens a township for filing after the Assessor has completed all his work for the township for the year. The property owner can know and file to the Assessor based on a date certain, but can only guess and hope to know the Board deadlines for filing.

Property owners can appeal their property tax assessments every year regardless of whether or not their properties are being reassessed. For example, assessment notices for Riverside Township, which is not being reassessed this year, were mailed out on January 31, 2018. The deadline for filing an initial appeal with the county assessor’s office is March 2, 2018. Since properties located in Riverside Township were reassessed in 2017, property owners who successfully appeal will still reap the benefits for at least two more years when the triennial assessments are due again.

If people miss the initial deadline for appealing their assessments, they will have to wait until the following year to file the forum missed. If a taxpayer is not completely satisfied with the decision received from the Cook County Assessor, they may choose to file appeals with the Cook County Board of Review. The Board of Review deadlines for filing appeals for each of the townships in Cook County usually run a few months after the initial appeals deadlines. Filing timely, and exhausting the appeal at the Board of Review level, is an absolute (jurisdictional) requirement to filing a case to Circuit Court or to filing an initial appeal to the Property Tax Appeal Board.