Thousands of people in Cook County, Illinois, are facing exorbitant property tax bills, with a record 40,000 people filing property tax appeals due to a doubling of bills. Cook County property taxes have gone up 100% or more for thousands of people, with the average tax rate also increasing across the county. This increase has come at a time when inflation is already affecting consumers, leaving people feeling outraged and their real estate investments in the brink.
The record property tax increase has left families like the Marinos’ wondering how much longer their business can survive. The company, Bel-Mar Wire Products, which makes displays for retailers to showcase products, has already laid off five employees, which amounts to half their staff. Their property taxes went from about $42,000 in 2021 to about $109,000 in 2022. And this is the reality for thousands of homeowners and families along the country, which are juggling with their household economy to pay their ludicrously high real estate taxes.
How to Appeal Real Estate Property Taxes in Cook County – Some Hiked up to 1,000%
There are no extra zeros in the number: some real estate property taxes in Cook County have had astronomic raises for this fiscal year. Data shows that a home in the Roseland neighborhood on the city’s South Side received a property tax bill that increased 1,000% year-over-year. In the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, Dorothy Ross, who gets the senior exemption, was hit with an 884% tax hike. That’s right, not even a retired woman can have a relief, and that’s absurd.
The Cook County Assessor said Ross and the other residential property owner who faces the 1,000% hike both saw assessed value increases based on market value. A spokesperson said they may also qualify for a “senior freeze,” which could roll back the assessment and put their bills back to where they used to be.
Property owners said they understand some increases are needed to pay for county services and pensions. However, they feel the spikes are extreme, with little time to pay after getting the bill. If you are dealing with a huge increase, you can go through an appeals process.
Learn to Appeal the Property Tax Increments
There are three opportunities to appeal the property tax growths: a property tax firm can file an appeal on your behalf for a fee, or you can file yourself in person or online with the Cook County Assessor. Their website has a guide to online appeals and information about filing a paper appeal form. Typically, you have 30 days after receiving your reassessment notice to file an appeal. Individual taxpayers represent themselves before the Cook County Board of Review.
Now, the process is different if property is owned by a corporation or LLC: the tax increase must be appealed by an attorney. At a Board of Review Hearing, taxpayers have the opportunity to explain why their assessment should be reduced. Finally, if a taxpayer is not happy with the results of the Board of Review, they can bring their assessment challenge to the Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB). A petition must be filed within 30 days of the board of county review’s decision or within 30 days of the publication of the assessed valuation list, whichever is later.
To file your PTAB appeal, go to http://www.ptab.illinois.gov/filing.html and present your final appeal.