What Is a Property Tax Assessment?
Because what you pay in property taxes is usually in the thousands, it’s important to understand what a property tax assessment is and how to ensure that it’s fair.
Why You Pay Property Taxes
Counties use property taxes to fund local school districts, police and fire departments, water reclamation districts, libraries, park districts, forest preserves, mosquito abatement districts, etc.
Each year, the county determines the revenue they need to fund the budgets of all of the taxing bodies mentioned above. The county assessor determines the value of your home as of January 1st of the tax year. In Cook County, residential property is assessed at 10% of the value of your home. This is your property tax assessment. Learn more about how property taxes are assessed here.
What you owe in property taxes is calculated by taking your equalized assessed value and multiplying it by the tax rate determined by your county, minus exemptions. If you live in Cook County, see if you qualify for any tax exemptions here.
Paying a “Fair” Amount of Property Taxes on Time
As with paying income taxes, paying property taxes on time is important so that you do not incur penalties, fines and liens on your home – such as those who improperly claim a homeowner exemption and who are now being actively pursued by Cook County.
How do you know if your property taxes are assessed fairly or if you would be a strong candidate for a reduction? While you can conduct your own research and do it yourself, your best bet is often working with an experienced property tax appeal service.