How to Appeal Property Taxes

Are you wondering how to appeal your property taxes? Check out this short video with property tax appeal attorney Fred Agustin to learn how.
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Fred is a Chicago real estate attorney and in this video he’s going to share with us how to appeal property taxes in Cook County. However, Fred, who is a partner with Maurides Law in Chicago – www.Maurides.com – also helps people appeal property taxes in other Illinois counties including Kane and Lake County.
To begin with, appealing your property taxes is a local and even a municipality issue rather than a federal issue. So what we’re talking about today would be applicable specifically if you were filing a Cook County property tax appeal. Make sure you check with an attorney in your area to see how the laws work there.
One question that comes up is when do you pay property taxes? You pay them in arrears meaning that right now in 2019, you are actually paying your 2018 taxes. So for example, here in Cook County, the first installment is 55% of the previous year’s total tax amount. Then in July you get another tax bill and that is the total tax bill minus that 55%.
Another question that comes up often is how are property taxes calculated? The formula here in Cook County is that you take the property’s assessment (x) the property’s local tax rate (x) the property’s state equalizer.
The state equalizer is set by the state of Illinois Department of Revenue and that is a set number. The local tax rate is a set number but that is set by the county clerk’s office. The assessment is what you are really appealing. In Cook County, the assessment is 10% of whatever the assessor thinks the fair market value of your property is.
So, in reality, you are appealing the value set by the assessor and therefore the real question is how do you appeal your assessment?
The process in Cook County has 2 levels. You can appeal at the Cook County Assessor’s office or you can appeal at the Cook County Board of Review. Or in reality you can actually file in both places.
If your appeal your property taxes and you are not happy with the decision, you can then appeal the decision to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.
The process for appealing your property taxes there are two approaches:
1. Market Value: meaning, you can either 1. get an appraiser to appraise the property stating what the property value is versus what the assessor thinks it’s worth. Or you can focus on a recent sale: if you purchased the property in the last three years and it’s an arm’s length transaction (meaning not a short sale or foreclosure)
2. Uniformity: this involves researching similar properties in your area and see what they’re worth
One thing that people get confused on is how often you should appeal your property taxes. This is different than getting reassessed. The property gets reassessed in Cook County every three years, the north, south and city portions of Chicago get assessed in alternating years.
How often you should appeal is different. You can actually appeal your property taxes every year not just when you get assessed.
The last issue Fred discusses is how much does it cost to hire a property tax attorney. Fred and a lot of attorneys charge a percentage of whatever he can get reduced in your assessment. If you can’t change your assessment after going through the appeal process, you don’t owe anything. So there is no risk on the part of the homeowner.
Hey thanks for checking out this video, if you have any questions or comments, put them in the comments section below. And if you need anything, reach out to me if I can’t help you, I’ll find someone who can.
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