Gary H. Smith
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High Property Taxes in Cook County? Don’t Move Just Yet

By Gary Smith
High Property Taxes in Cook County? Don’t Move Just Yet

High Cook County property taxes make neighboring Indiana look attractive to homeowners who work in the city. After all, a $1.55 million house in Chesterton, Ind., has an annual property tax bill of $11,200. A similarly priced home in Glenview would be taxed at 35 percent resulting in a $32,400 property tax bill.

Residents Leaving in Large Numbers

According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2014, the number of residents moving out of state jumped from 68,204 to 93,704, and that number has increased each year since. Last year, the number of residents moving out of state was 114,154.

Illinois has the second-highest property tax rates among U.S. states, second only to New Jersey.

Homeowners should think twice before fleeing to nearby Indiana. Indiana has some taxes to consider that Illinois residents do not pay—a county income tax and a tax on retirement income.

In addition, property owners should first ensure that they have taken advantage of all tax exemptions available. Finally, a property tax appeal could save both homeowners and business owners money.

Appeals Process Available

Property owners—either residential or commercial space—can also appeal their property taxes.

First, taxpayers should make sure the information on the property assessment letter is correct. Often, small mistakes could lead to higher property tax assessments. The Cook County Assessor’s website lists steps to correct the information so a new assessment can be issued.

If the information is correct, there are still options to file an appeal. Taxpayers should find three to five properties that are similar in terms of size, style, and condition. Property owners can check the assessments on those properties through the local government’s public database and file an appeal if those properties are valued lower.

Property owners can appeal based on valuation. If it’s a commercial, industrial or apartment property, are there vacancies or is the property in need of repair? Same for residential property—if the comparable property has been remodeled, a homeowner can show that is why the homes shouldn’t be valued the same.

Once armed with the necessary information, owners should make sure to read through the procedures and deadlines and then fill out the paperwork provided on the Cook County Assessor’s website.

If that appeal is denied, there is still the possibility of appealing to the Board of Review