Why People in Chicago Don’t Get Their Property Taxes Lowered

Although most property tax appeals are successful, there are a few reasons people do not get their property taxes lowered. The arrival of property tax bills in Cook County brings about angst, anger, and anxiety, but property owners who miss deadlines, do not gather factual evidence to support their cases, fail to follow the rules, or don’t present their appeals in an effectual manner are often left paying more taxes than necessary.

How to File a Successful Appeal

The three pages worth of rules put out by the Cook County Board of Review might be a daunting read but the step-by-step process is laid out so Chicagoans can appeal their property taxes.

Though the actual rules are extensive, they boil down to a few basic tips. Property owners should:

  • Follow the directions.
  • Use the forms provided on the Board of Review website.
  • Fill out each form required in its entirety.
  • Fill out paper forms in duplicate.
  • File by the deadline provided for each township. There are 38 townships, so it can be easy to misread the deadlines.
  • Attend the Board of Review hearing with all the proper documentation.

On the final page of rules, the Cook County Board of Review outlines that paperwork should include a log sheet that outlines all the documents included, a summary sheet that spells out the reasons for filing and signed related documentation.

The three-page outline of rules might make this seem like a time-consuming process, but it shouldn’t take more than two or three hours to put together, plus the time to attend the Board of Review hearing.

Property Taxes Aren’t Lowered When Property Owners Don’t Appeal

Many Chicago property owners don’t appeal their property tax assessments because of the misconception that by protesting the assessed value, it’s actually lowering the market value of the home. However, the reality is that those are two different and unrelated valuation equations.

Additionally, the belief that government entities always win discourages many property owners from even trying. However, that’s not necessarily the case with property tax appeals. A high percentage of appeals are granted, so the odds are in the owner’s favor.

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