Gary H. Smith
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Why Did My Property Taxes Go Up in Cook County?

By Gary Smith
Why Did My Property Taxes Go Up in Cook County?

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas recently issued a report indicating that many commercial and residential property owners in the area will shoulder a greater property tax burden this year despite pandemic relief funding. There are various reasons for the significant increase. 

Cook County Property Taxes Continue to Rise

With approximately $16.1 billion needed to run the municipalities, Cook County saw a $534 million increase in property taxes since last year. 

According to Pappas, businesses will bear the brunt of the hike. Some residential property owners in Chicago and the south suburbs could also see a substantial increase, however. Commercial property owners and homeowners share the tax burden in the county and a large number of businesses in these areas have recently shut their doors. With many commercial properties now vacant, residential property owners are left to pick up the tab. 

The Treasurer’s team reports that some property owners in the western suburbs could experience a tax increase as well. 

What Causes Property Taxes to Increase?

Understanding what causes property taxes to increase can help property owners anticipate future payments and identify when there may be a problem with their tax assessment. 

Home Improvements

Home improvement projects can trigger increases in assessments. Since residential property taxes are based on the value of a home, adding a swimming pool, a new roof, or an addition can result in a bigger tax bill.

Area Value

New construction in the neighborhood, community improvements like the addition of golf courses or parks, and increased demand can cause property values to soar. As a result, property tax bills will often increase. 

Local Government Budgets 

When the county funds a public service that is subsidized by commercial and residential property taxes, businesses and homeowners may see higher tax rates. Examples include funding for public schools, pensions, or road improvements. 

Incorrect Assessments

Properties in Cook County are reassessed every three years. Significant changes in assessed values may occur when the information in the property tax assessment is incorrect. Mistakes like the wrong PIN, inaccurate square footage, the wrong number of rooms, or inaccurate property conditions can cause assessed values to be incorrect. 

Property owners in Cook County cannot adjust their tax rates, but they can take steps to reduce their tax bills in other ways. When assessed values are incorrect or exemptions are missed, a real estate tax attorney can help businesses and homeowners appeal their assessments which could result in a substantially lower tax bill.