Property Tax Deadline a Reminder of the Need to Appeal
The deadline for Cook County homeowners to pay the second installment of their 2015 property taxes has now passed. Anyone who failed to meet the Aug. 1 deadline will need to pay a 1.5% interest penalty, assessed each month of the delinquency.
Worse: your tax liens can be sold to investors during the county treasurer’s annual tax sale, after you receive a formal written warning. The individuals and organizations that buy tax liens frequently receive high interest rates on the taxes that they buy—as much as 36% a year. If you don’t pay off the lien by the end of the redemption period, the tax buyer can acquire legal title to your property.
Thus, neglecting to pay property taxes is not a solution for the thousands of Chicago homeowners hit with much larger than expected bills. As the Chicago Tribune reported in their front-page article Chicago Property Tax Bills Land 1-2 Punch, Chicago property owners face not just higher tax rates than previously but also, in many cases, dramatically increased post-recession property valuations.
Though the average citywide increase was 13%, homeowners in trendy Chicago neighborhoods such as Hyde Park, Wicker Park, Kenwood and Logan Square saw a median property tax hike of 20%, according to the Tribune. And property owners in the most affluent neighborhoods–Gold Coast, Near North Side, Streeterville and Lincoln Park confronted tax bill increases of more than 30%.
Just the Beginning
We hate to say it because we live here too but, property taxes throughout Cook County will continue to go up. The city of Chicago is committed to raising property taxes by $225 million over the next three years. And the Chicago Public Schools will likely increase taxes by $250 million next year to fund teacher pension deficits. If you think you are already paying more than your fair share of property taxes, imagine what you will be paying in the coming years.
There’s Only One Way to Fight Property Tax Increases
You have one main recourse for lowering your property taxes: appeal your assessment. It’s too late to change the property tax bills on your property this year. But by appealing, you might be able to significantly decrease your future tax burden.
Don’t try file an appeal on your own, unless you’re an accountant or a tax attorney or you may sacrifice hundreds and possibly thousands in savings. The same may be true if you try using an online service.
The Cook County Property Tax Appeal Experts
Instead, enlist the help of the property tax appeal experts at Chicago-based Kensington Research and Recovery. During its more than 15 years in business, we’ve saved more than 10,000 clients millions of dollars in property taxes due to inequitable over-assessments. Our success rate is more than 90%.
The possibility of appealing your property taxes at the Cook County Assessor has ended in most townships but you can still appeal this year at the Board of Review. Don’t wait for the inevitable sticker shock when your 2016 tax bills arrive in the mail next year…