Why You Pay Higher Property Taxes If You Don’t Appeal
One of the most unpleasant and unspoken aspects of paying property taxes is that, if you don’t appeal for reductions, you may be paying more in property taxes than you should – perhaps even $1,000 or more. Why?
Again, It Starts with Government Spending
As we covered in our How Are Property Taxes Calculated in Illinois? blog post, the first step in determining your property taxes is the property tax levy. How much revenue is required to support your local government spending on schools, fire departments, police departments, libraries, etc.?
It Ends in a Zero Sum Game
Once the total valuations for each taxing district are certified it is the County Clerk’s job to “back into” the tax rates needed to meet the levies for each taxing district. If your property is not assessed fairly you will pay more than you should when your district’s tax rate is set and multiplied against your assessed valuation. Property tax rates are set once a year.
As many property owners seek a fair assessment through the appeals process, those property owners not appealing an unfair assessment are going to pay more than their fair share of the overall tax burden. This can easily amount to thousands of dollars.
We believe every property owner can best protect their interests in such a system by consistently evaluating their assessed value and appealing when unfairly assessed to ensure they are paying no more than their fair share.
Why You Should Evaluate Your Assessment Annually
Every property in Cook County is reassessed every three years. If you appeal in the first year of a reassessment, the new assessed value of your home should hold until it’s reassessed again three years later. Thus, a property tax appeal in year one can offer three years of reduced property taxes.
This does not mean you should only appeal once every three years. Many property owners appeal in non-reassessment years for a variety of reasons, such as an unfair assessment, property description error, recent purchase price below market value, etc. Since property taxes are a zero sum game you should review your assessment against similar properties annually to ensure a fair assessment and that you pay no more than your fair share every year.