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Legislative Activists are Seeking to Abolish Cook County Taxpayers from Filing Property Tax Appeals at the Property Tax Appeal Board

The Illinois Property Tax Code provides three levels of assessment review to challenge taxpayers’ assessed fair market values and excessive real estate taxes.  A taxpayer can appeal to the Cook County Assessor’s Office (the first level of appeal), the Cook County Board of Review (the second level of appeal) and can choose a third and final level of appeal to either the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB) or to the Circuit Court in the County where their property is located with the filing of a “Tax Objection”.

The existence of one of these forums is being threatened by Illinois State Representative Abdelnasser Rashid of the 21st District in HB3105 and supported wholeheartedly by the Assessor of Cook County, Fritz Kaegi.  This legislation sponsored by Representative Rashid, who took office in January, 2023, will abolish the ability for Cook County taxpayers to appeal to PTAB and that any pending PTAB appeals not resolved before the last day of 2024 will be dismissed without a decision or a hearing on the merits of taxpayer’s complaints.  To see a full copy of this legislation, you can go to www.ilga.gov and Search HB3015 under the ‘Search By Number” search tab.

Representative Rashid had previously worked for Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and former Cook County Clerk David Orr who have openly and publicly advocated for the abolition of the PTAB appeal process for Cook County property owners and taxpayers.

The reasons why this legislation would be harmful for Cook County Taxpayers are as follows:

  1. PTAB is primarily used by Cook County residential taxpayers and small businesses.  Per the PTAB statistics set forth publicly by Chairman of the PTAB, Michael O’Malley, about 70% of PTAB appeals filed statewide are residential matters;
  2. Cook County PTAB filings have historically made up about 80% of the statewide PTAB filings and over 60% of those Cook County cases are residential filings;
  3. PTAB refunds are typically modest with a median refund if successful of under $2,000 per appeal (many, many appeals result in no relief at all); and
  4. Cook County Circuit Court filings are about $400 and many homeowners and small business owners cannot afford the filing fee and will be dissuaded from filing if the PTAB appeals are abolished for Cook County homeowners where there is no filing fee.

Representative Rashid, Cook County Assessor Kaegi and former Cook County Clerk David Orr have consistently cited the backlog of PTAB appeals as the reason for seeking the abolishment of PTAB appeals for Cook County property owners.  Their logic fails to acknowledge that if PTAB appeals are abolished, then the Cook County Circuit Court filings will increase dramatically forcing tax objection litigation in Cook County Circuit Court to be backlogged requiring additional staff and attorneys to be hired by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Circuit Court who will be deluged with increased dockets to handle thousands of additional appeals that are currently filed at the PTAB forum.

Owners of both commercial and residential properties need to be aware and notified of the harmful effect of legislation like HB 3105 is a direct attack on the ability of Cook County property owners to challenge their properties’ assessments and real estate taxes which they may consider to be excessive and where evidence exists which corroborates that their property is overvalued by the assessing authorities.  Illinois property owners with property in Cook County need to notify their local Illinois State Representatives of their strong opposition to HB 3105 and the strong negative effect it would have on Cook County property owners as a whole.