Grounds for Appealing Cook County Residential Property Tax
If you feel your home has been improperly assessed, you are ENCOURAGED (their words, not mine!) to file an appeal with the Cook County Assessor’s Office.
The three main reasons for filing a residential appeal include:
- Your property was not valued uniformly. This is the most common ground for appeal. Uniformity requires that two or more properties in a neighborhood that are similar in size, type of construction, age and style have similar assessed values. The tricky part here is that the Assessor's Office utilizes a computer assisted appraisal method. So, while you may THINK that your property and a neighbor's property appear similar to YOU, that may not be the case at all. The Assessor's Office valuations are done on a price/square foot basis. So, that sunroom you have on the back of your house that your neighbor does not have can have more of an impact on your assessed value than you think. In addition, to be truly considered "comparable," the homes should share the same neighborhood code and property classification (i.e. number of stories, style of home, etc.). So, while you can certainly do this research yourself, it can be somewhat time-consuming and sometimes better left to an experienced professional.
- There is a property description error. The value of your property is partially dependent on your “property description.” An assessment that contains a major error in the property’s description such as an incorrect property classification or an incorrect land or building measurement may affect property value. Please keep in mind that changing a minor property characteristic may not necessarily change the assessment. It is also extremely difficult to predict how much savings there may be by changing the property description. For example, your property may be described as "masonry" when it is actually "frame" OR the square footage of your basement or garage has been included in your property's overall square footage. While the "masonry" vs. "frame" example may result in some savings depending on the comparable properties in the neighborhood, a major square footage error may result in significant savings.
- Your property is overvalued. If you have evidence that establishes your property’s market value is less than the estimate determined by the Assessor’s Office, you are encouraged to submit supporting documentation. Acceptable documentation would include: a recent closing statement, sales contract or appraisal. The value of residential property may also be affected by recent occupancy of a newly constructed home, conditions that have caused the property to become vacant and not habitable, fire damage, demolition or vacancy due to renovation.
If you have already filed an Assessor's Office appeal and did not get the results you feel you deserve, you also have the right to appeal your assessment further with the Cook County Board of Review. IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO FILE AN ASSESSOR'S OFFICE APPEAL IN ORDER TO FILE A BOARD OF REVIEW APPEAL. So, even if you have missed your Township's deadline for filing an appeal via the Assessor's Office, IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO FILE A BOARD OF REVIEW APPEAL.
If you think you may have proper grounds for appeal, please give me a call at (773)549-7390 or send an email to Lauren@easytaxappeals.com with your complete property information and whether you have purchased or refinanced your property in the last 3 years. I will be more than happy to prepare a completely free analysis for you and offer my guidance as to whether your property is truly over-assessed.
** Some information contained in this article has been taken directly from the website for the Cook County Assessor's Office, www.cookcountyassessor.com.