Why the Cook County Assessor Wants You to Appeal
The National Taxpayers Union has estimated that as many as 60% of taxable properties in the United States are over-assessed, but fewer than 5% of property owners nationwide challenge their assessments.
The reasons for this include being too busy, lacking awareness and knowledge of the process, assuming that an appeal would be a waste of time because it likely would be unsuccessful, and not paying attention to deadlines. In actuality, appealing your property tax assessment might save you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year – and the Cook County Assessor’s office wants you to appeal, even though they’re the ones assessing your property…
In Cook County, approximately 60% of all protests result in lowered assessments, according to Tom Shaer, a spokesman for the Cook County Assessor’s office, who was quoted in a Crain’s article on May 3.
With property tax re-assessments continuing to roll out in Cook County townships, many homeowners are experiencing sticker shock. In New Trier and Evanston townships, the median single-family home’s assessed value climbed 25% from 2013, the last time the county re-assessed properties. In the townships of Barrington and Palatine, the median increases were 17.3% and 17.9%, respectively.
Straight From the Horse’s Mouth
Unlike the vast majority of homeowners across the country, many in these townships are speaking out. As the Chicago Real Estate Daily article reported, “The owners of 22,878 residential parcels in the four townships have protested their new re-assessments.” That’s an increase of roughly 22% over the number who protested in 2013.
The Cook County Assessor anticipated the increase in protests and even welcomes them, Shaer told Chicago Real Estate Daily. In the three years covered by the re-assessment, “The real estate market has been healthier than it used to be,” Shaer stated. “That means your assessment goes up, and who wants to pay more taxes?”
Although this seems contradictory coming from the government entity that assesses and collects property taxes, the Cook County Assessor wants you to appeal your property tax assessments.
“We hope you will protest the reassessment,” Shaer said in the Crain’s article, noting that this is because the assessment system is complex and it is difficult to account for variances among the county’s 1.8 million properties. Protests “are a vital part of this process.”
The grounds for appealing an assessment include lack of uniformity, or the assessed value is out of whack from that of similar properties in your neighborhood; over-valuation compared to your home’s current market value; and property description errors, such as inaccurate room sizes.
Be Aware of Deadlines
The deadline for filing an appeal is roughly one month after assessment notices are mailed. You can view the deadline for your township here.
But unless you have an accounting, legal or real estate background, don’t go it alone or you may only get a small fraction of the savings you could get. Instead, leave your appeal in the hands of our experts at Kensington Research & Recovery.
During our 18 years in business, we’ve saved more than 10,000 homeowners millions of dollars in property taxes due to unfair over-assessments. Our success rate is over 90% and the road to your reduction starts with a free estimate.