Monthly Archives: July 2015

Appealing Your Property Taxes at the Cook County Board of Review

Cook County Property Tax AppealDid you miss your window to appeal your property taxes with the Cook County Assessor, or did you file an appeal with them only to have it denied?

You only have a month to appeal and the Cook County Assessor’s Office only sends out one assessment notice to a homeowner when the window to appeal opens for your township.

Don’t Panic

If so, remain calm: you can appeal when the Cook County Board of Review opens their window for your township in the second half of this year. Their purpose: “Ensuring Fair and Timely Review of Property Assessment Appeals throughout Cook County.” As it states in their mission statement, “The Board of Review serves to be an impartial judge of property assessments; a separate office to provide a check and balance to the Assessor’s Office which is responsible for initially determining your total assessment.”

The Board of Review has the authority to reduce your property tax assessment and our clients were successful 77% of the time last year with appeals through their office. Board of Review property results come 3-6 months after their appeal window closes. Have no fear: even if you receive results in the new year your new revised assessment will be applied to your second installment tax bill!

Why Appeal Twice, Each Year

Even if you did appeal your property taxes with the Cook County Assessor, an additional reduction is still possible by also appealing with the Board of Review. Our clients’ more than 10,000 successful appeals include many instances of achieving property tax reductions at both the County Assessor and the Board of Review.

And, because so much changes from year to year, we recommend that you appeal every year with both the Cook County Assessor and Board of Review, especially in the first year of each township’s triennial reassessment.

What Are You Waiting For?

Since there are no costs and absolutely no risk, all Cook County homeowners should consider appealing their property taxes at these offices. Consider also using a service like ours: no upfront costs, no risks and we track all the deadlines at both offices so you don’t have to.

Contact us for a free estimate on what your property tax appeal reduction could look like if appealed with the Cook County Board of Review

Where Do Cook County Property Taxes Go?

The second installment of property tax bills are out now. Where does your money go?

Cook County Property Taxes from 2000-2010

Where do Cook County property taxes go?According to findings by The Heartland Institute, Cook County property tax collections rose from $7.89 to $11.69 billion (a 48% increase) from 2000 to 2010, which is twice the rate of inflation during that period. Property taxes levied by Cook County government remained flat, so here’s where the increases came from:

  • Suburban municipalities: 75% property tax increase
  • Taxing agencies located within the City of Chicago: 44% property tax increase
  • Metropolitan Water Reclamation District: 29% property tax increase
  • School districts: 58% property tax increase with 27 more than doubling their levies

Read more from The Heartland Institute

Cook County Property Taxes Today

Cook County Property Tax Bill ExampleEach property tax installment bill identifies exactly where your property taxes go. See an example Cook County property tax bill here.

Each property tax bill is different as it identifies spending in your township and also identifies your exemptions.

Here’s a link to the Cook County Treasurer’s website that allows you to see specific taxing districts.

Cook County Property Taxes in 2015 & Beyond

According to The Civic Federation, here’s what 2015’s property taxes are expected to pay for in 2015 (you will receive these bills in 2016):

  • City of Chicago – $862.9 million: 45% for debt service, 41% for pensions, 9% for the Chicago Public Library and 4% for City Colleges debt service
  • Chicago Public Schools – $2.2 billion: 93% for the general fund, 5% for the Workers and Unemployment Compensation Tort Immunity Fund, and 2% for Public Building Commission lease and debt service payments
  • Cook County – $741.6 million: 30% for the Bond and Interest Fund, 26% for The Public Safety Fund, 21% for the Health Enterprise Fund, 18% for the Pension Fund, and 4% for Corporate and Election Funds

Read more from The Civic Federation

Chicago Asking for More

According to an article in Crain’s, City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to request an additional $328.6 million to fund the police and firefighter pension fund. A decrease from the state mandated contribution of $550 million. Even with the decreased contribution, 25-72% of this cost is expected to come from property tax increases. This equates to a 30% increase in your property tax bill starting next year.

Read the whole Crain’s article here

How to Minimize Your Property Tax Payments

If you want to avoid paying more than you have to and to ensure a fair assessment of your home’s value, you’ll want to appeal your property taxes taxes with both the Cook County Assessor’s office when your township’s appeal window is open as well as later in the year with the Cook County Board of Review.

Get your free property tax reduction estimate

Why Use a Service to Appeal Your Property Taxes

Property Tax Appeal Service | Cook CountyIf you’re a homeowner and you haven’t appealed your property taxes this year (or ever), you’re likely overpaying your county government by hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Third-party services exist to help you appeal your property taxes, but why use them when you could just do it yourself?

Experienced Reductions

The property tax system is complicated so it’s very difficult for homeowners and condo boards to successfully appeal their own taxes. It’s time consuming and identifying accurate comps is challenging on a good day. Most third party services offer many years of experience and high success rates. Though buyer beware: be sure to ask about what experience they actually have as some companies without much experience have recently entered the market.

No Up-Front Fees

Third-party property tax services almost always work on a contingency basis, so you pay nothing up front. You are only charged a percentage of the savings for the first year even though savings typically are realized over a 2-3 year period. As a result, third-party services are incentivized to get you the largest possible property tax reduction. If they try to charge you a fee up-front, know that there are alternative options out there which do not.

You Will Pay More If You Don’t Appeal

As we covered in this blog post, the government is going to generate revenues they need from property taxes no matter what, so it’s a zero sum game: if one homeowner has a reduction of $1,500, then others that do not appeal will need to make up the difference.

Go Local

Some companies have recently entered the market offering property tax appeal services nationwide. They lack experience and look more like an internet start-up. Who would you rather work with? A service based in California employing agents that are learning how to appeal property taxes with your account or an established partner that’s successfully provided tax relief for over 10,000 clients over the past 15 years where you live?

Contact us to learn more about appealing your property taxes