The More Things Change, the More You Should Appeal Your Property Assessment

Your property tax bill in Chicago and Cook County is based on the assessed value of your property. That value, in turn, is based on a large number of factors. When even one of those factors changes, the assessed value of your property could go up.

The Cook County Assessor’s Office has a lot of information about your property, but they can’t keep track of everything.

It’s up to you to make them aware of changes in your property that might affect your assessment. And the way you do that is to file an appeal of your property’s assessed valuation.

Some of these changes are obvious. If you own a lot in a commercial zone, for example, and the main building has been torn down, the value of the property clearly has dropped and your assessment should be lowered, too.

If your property (or one in your neighborhood) is in disrepair or vacant, you may be successful in appealing your property’s assessed valuation. This is an example of “economic depreciation.”

Other factors may be less obvious.

Should You Appeal Your Cook County Property Tax Assessment?

When my office prepares to appeal a client’s assessment — whether it’s a large factory or a small single-family home — we analyze many factors.

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, you should consider filing an appeal.

  • Do you believe your taxes are too high? Do you believe the value placed on your property is too high?
  • Has the condition of the building(s) changed? Has the structure fallen into disrepair?
  • Has the building become obsolete? For example, if it’s a factory, has business gone down because the factory equipment is no longer state-of-the-art? (Economists call this “functional depreciation.”)
  • Has the neighborhood fallen on hard times, with less customer traffic to your retail store or strip mall? (This would be called “economic depreciation.”)
  • Has there been a sharp reduction in occupancy. An office building with, let’s say, even 80 percent occupancy could be considered disadvantaged.
  • Has a change in traffic patterns, possibly due to street repair, caused a temporary decrease in customer traffic?
  • Are there vacancies in surrounding properties, making your location less desirable?
  • Has the population of the neighborhood dropped, meaning that fewer potential customers live nearby?

There are many other factors that could affect your assessment. Give me a call, tell me about your property and I’ll help you work through the basis of your appeal. And keep in mind that my office policy is to charge no fee unless your assessment is reduced.

Contact the Law Offices of Gary H. Smith today for a free consultation and discussion about how to lower your real estate tax bill.

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