Tag Archives: Property Tax Exemption

Illinois Pays the Nation’s Highest Property Tax Rates

Illinois Pays Highest Property TaxesIf you suspect that you’re paying too much in property taxes, consider this: Illinois has the highest median property tax rate in the United States, with various taxing agencies levying a combined rate of 2.67%, according to a nationwide analysis by CoreLogic, an Irvine-based research firm serving the global real estate and financial services industries.

The average median property tax rate across the country is 1.31%, which means that the owner of a home valued at $200,000 would pay annual property taxes totaling $2,620. In Illinois, however, a homeowner would pay $5,340 a year on a property of the same value. In Hawaii, which has the lowest median property tax rate at 0.31%, homeowners pay only $620 per year.

Only six other US states, all but one in the Northeast, have median property tax rates of more than 2%. As the Chicago Tribune points out, the states that border Illinois in the Midwest all have considerably lower property tax burdens: Indiana (0.88%), Missouri (1.26%), Iowa (1.69%) and Wisconsin (1.95%).
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Illinois Legislature Paves Way for More Chicago Property Tax Hikes

Illinois Legislature paves way for more Chicago property tax hikesRight before the start of the long 4th of July weekend, the Illinois Legislature passed and Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a stopgap budget that provides a year of funding for the state’s public elementary and secondary schools and six months of financing for higher education, social service agencies, state operations and capital projects.
Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the clear winner in the deal, will receive $100 million of a $250 million statewide poverty grant targeted to low-income school districts. Who will pay for this? If you own a home in Cook County, it’s you and the only relief you have is to appeal your property taxes.
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Congrats on Your New Home: Now Get Your Property Tax Reduction

Cook County New Home Buyer Property Tax ReductionCongratulations on your new home. What could be a better housewarming present than a property tax reduction that could save you thousands per year?

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, upgrading from a condo to a single-family home or relocating to Cook County, you’re entitled to appeal your property taxes twice a year: once at the Cook County Assessor’s Office and once at the Cook County Board of Review.

We recommend that you appeal at both, every year. Like many of our clients, you may see an annual reduction from $1,500 to $15,000 per year.

How Property Tax Reductions Work

When your purchase price is lower than your assessed value, we can make a compelling case for a successful appeal. Kensington Research has access to the purchase price and assessed value for every home in Cook County, so we can quickly identify discrepancies.

However, that is not the only grounds for a successful appeal. Our proprietary property tax reduction algorithm identifies other discrepancies and unclaimed exemptions that can result in a compelling reduction.

Property Tax Reduction Timing

If you bought (or are planning to buy) a new home in Cook County during 2015, you can start off the new year right by first appealing at the Cook County Assessor’s Office in early 2016, which starts opening townships for appeal in January. Then you can also appeal at the Board of Review starting in September.

Estimate Your 2016 Property Tax Reduction Now

We can provide you with a free estimate today for how much you can expect for a property tax reduction so you can plan for next year. It just takes a few minutes by phone. Then, when the Cook County assessor opens up the property tax appeal window for your township, we’ll notify you to begin the process and there are no up-front costs to you.

We only get paid if you see a reduction, so we only appeal cases we believe we can win so we don’t waste your time or ours, and we’ve got the experience of working on over 10,000 successful property tax appeals in Cook County.

Don’t Mistake Property Taxes as a Fixed Cost

Your mortgage payment is high enough. You don’t have to pay more than your fair share of property taxes on top of that and, if you don’t appeal, there is an extremely high likelihood that you will do so.

Get your free property tax appeal reduction estimate today

Cook County Condo Association Property Tax Appeals

Cook County Condo Property Tax AppealIf you own a condominium in Cook County, you’re entitled to appeal your property taxes with the Assessor’s Office and Board of Review just like any other homeowner. However, there are a few key differences and best practices that will help you ensure a maximum property tax reduction.

Agreement Approval

Condo property tax appeals generally need to be done on behalf of the condo association. An officer of the homeowner’s association needs to commission the appeal, with either the condo board’s approval by a 2/3 vote, or by the vote of a majority of the unit owners, in order to move forward with an appeal.

Condo Property Tax Appeal Best Practices

As for homeowners, the following property tax appeal practices apply in order to receive a maximum reduction:

Kensington Research has helped achieve tax relief for over 10,000 condo and homeowners in Cook County since 1999.

Contact us today to learn more about appealing your condo property taxes

Why Have a Pro Review Your Property Tax Assessment

Why Have a Pro Appeal Your Property TaxesAs always, Cook County property taxes are on the rise and the only way to combat that dreaded second installment tax bill is by lowering your property tax assessment.

In a perfect world, you’d have time to handle the stress of the job, family responsibilities and right on time drop off an expertly formulated argument for a reduction in total assessment without breaking a sweat.

The only problem: we don’t live in a perfect world and everyday demands come before we consider our property tax bills, until July first rolls around and it’s too late by then. Now you can get rid of the hassle and the frustration of this process by hiring a company to handle this annoying but necessary task.

Don’t Pay More than You Have To

Having a professional company review your property tax assessment annually is your best bet to ensure that you’re fairly assessed and aren’t paying more in property taxes than you have to.

When looking for a professional company to hire, consider:

  • How long they’ve been in business
  • Their success rate
  • Their reputation

Professionals with years of expertise will know the best strategy to use when appealing your property taxes and what exemptions you should be aware of for even more savings on the second installment.

No Risk

If you’re not sure whether there’s an argument to make for appealing your property tax assessment, it won’t cost you anything for most professionals to perform an analysis on your home or any additional properties you may own because they work on contingency.

All it takes is a few minutes to fill in some basic information and within 24 hours they will contact you with the results of our analysis. If there is an argument to be made, and you’re interested in using us, our property tax appeal service will appeal on your behalf on a contingency basis: no costs up front.

Avoid Wasting Time

Kensington is in the business of successfully appealing property tax assessments with special expertise in Cook County. We handle the paperwork and manage the deadlines so you don’t have to. No one wants to spend their precious free time tracking appeal deadline dates, finding comparable properties or “comps,” or waiting around in county offices.

Because property tax assessments and policies change annually, let a professional at least review your total assessment every year. Click on the link at the bottom for a free analysis from a company who is in the business of making sure you’re not paying more in property taxes than you have to and who wants to keep your free time free for what is really important to you.

Contact us to for a complimentary property tax assessment

Are You Eligible for a Cook County Property Tax Exemption?

Are you eligible for a Cook County Property Tax Exemption?


For ALL homestead exemptions including the General Exemption, a taxpayer must:

• Live in the property as of January 1 of the tax year;

• Use the property as his or her principal dwelling place; and

• Assume legal responsibility to pay the property taxes.


For the Senior Citizen Exemption, a taxpayer also must:

• Be at least 65-years-old anytime in the tax year.


For the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Exemption, a taxpayer also must:

• Be at least 65-years-old anytime in the tax year; and

• Have a household income of $55,000 or less.


For the Returning Veterans’ Exemption, a taxpayer also must:

• Have served in the U.S. Armed or Reserve Forces or the Illinois National Guard; and

• Have actively served in an armed conflict involving U.S. Armed Forces.


For a Disabled Veterans’ Standard Exemption, a taxpayer also must:

• Be honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed or Reserve Forces or the Illinois National Guard; and

• Suffer a service-related disability of at least 50%.

• Live in a property with an equalized assessed value of no more than $250,000 (excluding any part used for business or rented for 6 months or longer.)


For a Disabled Veterans’ Exemption, a taxpayer also must:

• Qualify for the Disabled Veterans’ Standard Exemption (see above); and

• Live in a property with an assessed value of no more than $70,000; and

• Have a disability of such a nature that the Federal Government has authorized payment for purchase or construction of Specially Adapted Housing or as otherwise specified in Section 15-165 of the Property Tax Code.

  • Note: Anyone who claims this exemption may not also claim the Disabled Veteran’s Standard Exemption (see above) or the Disabled Persons’ Exemption (see below).


For the Disabled Persons’ Exemption, a taxpayer also must:

• Be unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.


For the Long-Time Occupant Exemption, a taxpayer also must:

• Have a total household income of $100,000 or less;

• As of January 1 of the tax year, have occupied the property as principal residence for at least 10 continuous years OR have occupied the property as principal for at least 5 continuous years if the taxpayer received the property as part of a government or nonprofit housing program; and

• Face a property assessment increase that exceeds limits set out in Section I S-177 of the Property Tax Code.

Additional information on all exemptions is available online at www.cookcountyassessor.com and in the Illinois Property Tax Code at www.ilga.gov.

Source: Cook County Assessor’s Office

How Are Property Taxes Calculated in Illinois?

how-illinois-property-taxes-calculatedIf you’ve noticed that your property tax bill increases at a rate that doesn’t correspond with changes in home prices on the market, you may wonder how your county assessor determines your annual property tax bill. This blog post explains the process of how your property tax assessment is calculated.

You may get more out of this post if you read it with a copy of your latest property tax bill handy.

It All Starts with Government Spending

The first step in determining how much you owe in property taxes is based on how much revenue your county needs to generate to fund the budgets of all of the taxing bodies. Most property tax revenues go towards funding local school districts, followed by the other taxing bodies such as the fire department, police department, libraries, water reclamation districts, forest preserves, park districts, mosquito abatement districts, etc.

Aggregate Rate & EAV

After the total amount of the property taxes to be levied in a given year is established, the taxing authorities determine the property tax rate that must be applied to the total value of real property in each taxing district in order to raise the required property tax revenue. In a simplistic example (ignoring adjusting factors such as levels of assessment, exemptions, state equalization, etc.), if a taxing district needs to generate $5 billion in property tax revenues to cover its budgeted spending and all of the real property located in the taxing district is valued at $100 billion in the county, then the tax rate would be 5% or $5B/$100B.

The market value of your home is estimated by the assessor using sales information of homes similar to yours in your area, and then used in determining your home’s assessed value.  Your home’s assessed value is then equalized along with all other properties in accordance with applicable law. The tax rate is multiplied by the equalized assessed value (EAV) of your home net of any exemptions applied to your property.

Property Tax Exemptions

You may qualify for one or more of several property tax exemptions. Exemptions are available to certain taxpayers who may qualify on the basis of:

  • Residing in the property
  • Senior citizen status
  • Veteran status
  • Disability

Property Tax Fairness

Thus, whether the market value of your property goes up or down in any given year, may have no effect on your property tax bill because your county needs to fund its budget regardless of home prices and there are other non-market forces that determine your property tax bill.

Because your county is using macro/aggregate information, there are inherently discrepancies in fairness for what you may be asked to pay in property tax relative to other properties.

Ascertaining whether the assessed value of your property is fair or should be appealed can be time consuming and difficult, as there are many factors that determine what properties are actually comparable to yours.

Cook County homeowners: click here for more information on how to read your tax bill.

Contact Kensington to learn more or for a free property tax appeal estimate if you live in Cook County