Independent Report: Cook County Property Assessments Flawed
Cook County property assessments are flawed and homeowners who don’t appeal are bearing the worst of it.
Those are among the key conclusions of a recently released report by the Civic Consulting Alliance, a non-profit, non-partisan consulting firm.
Who’s Paying Their Fair Share?
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle commissioned the independent study of the existing residential property tax assessment system. The study provides further support for the conclusion that properties are not assessed uniformly in Cook County.
The result is that “some property owners pay more than their fair share of property taxes and some pay correspondingly less,” according to the study.
The study found that the current system produces assessments that are more variable than industry standards recommend, with homes in the city of Chicago most likely to be assessed at a value outside of the acceptable relationship to actual market value.
In fact, the study found, the owner of a residential property in Chicago, has a 50% chance of being assessed outside the accepted variability. Given that 2018 is a reassessment year for the city townships, it’s especially important for Chicago homeowners to appeal their assessments this year.
Why Some Homeowners Pay More
Under the current system, the flawed assessments are far more likely to affect homes that are less expensive, with higher value homes more likely to be undervalued.
In the city of Chicago, for example, the owner of a $600,000 home is likely to have an effective property tax rate that is 24% lower than the rate for the owner of a $300,000 home, according to the Chicago Tribune. Homeowners in the former category also appeal at much higher rates, the study found.
How Homeowners Can Receive Fair Property Tax Assessments
It’s a system that puts the burden on homeowners to appeal their assessment. Those who don’t are underwriting the savings of those who do.
Plus, as Cook County property tax rates continue to climb year after year, the effect of an over-assessment is magnified.
Appealing your assessment is the only way be sure that you are not paying more than your fair share of property taxes.
In fact your best strategy is to appeal twice every year: first to the assessor’s office and second to the Board of Review.
It’s also important to pay attention to any recurring exemption deadlines. Senior citizens must apply for the senior exemption every year.
How Not to Pay More than Your Fair Share
If you think you may be one of the many Cook County homeowners whose properties are over-assessed, contact us for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your tax situation.
Our clients pay nothing unless we are successful in helping them obtain a significant reduction in their assessed value. And we won’t take a case unless we see an opportunity for significant savings. That, along with our proprietary algorithm for identifying the comparable properties needed to make the case, have helped us build a success rate of more than 90%.