Appealing Your Property Tax Bill

By: Courtney Kleshinski

October 15, 2014

In Cook, DuPage, Will and Kane counties property taxes are on the rise. If you are like most Illinois homeowners, your second installment property tax bills may come as a shock. Many property owners are unaware that a property tax appeal can reduce their tax burden.

There are two steps in determining the amount of property taxes a certain property owes. First, the Township Assessor sets the assessment value of your property. The Assessor also determines which exemptions or deductions to apply to your next tax bill. Finally, the total tax owed is based on the property’s location. The property will be subject to several taxing districts. Each taxing district sets the amount of money it needs for the next year, subject to some restrictions and exceptions. Then, the County Clerk divides the cost of each of the taxing districts among the property owners in the area, with properties with a higher assessment level paying a larger share of the taxes. Usually, the most expensive taxing district will be for local school districts.

Property owners can challenge their tax bills in three forums: the Assessor’s office, the Cook County Board of Review and the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board. One study found that seven out of ten property appeals in Cook County successfully lowered the property’s tax bill.

What steps can you take now in order to prepare for a future property tax appeal? First, be prepared. Keep copies of any documents you receive from the Assessor, County Clerk or Treasurer. Many documents are publicly available online, but an attorney working on your case may appreciate a hard copy for their records. Next, if an appeal would benefit you and your family, contact an attorney to discuss your options. An attorney could assist you in lowering your tax bill by proving that you are being unfairly assessed when compared to neighboring properties. An attorney could also ensure that the assessment is accurate and that the property is receiving all of the exemptions to which it is entitled. Property tax appeals are only an option for a very short window of time in the spring and an attorney could also make sure you never miss an important deadline.

For more on how an attorney could assist you in your appeal of your Property’s tax bill, contact Courtney Kleshinski at 847-705-7555.