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Frequently Asked Questions about Property Taxes

Experienced Chicago attorneys explain how to appeal your assessment

Dealing with an adverse property tax assessment can be complicated. Your success depends on numerous factors, but a timely appeal that cites substantive evidence is essential. At Rieff Schramm Kanter & Guttman LLC, we have been helping residential and commercial landlords with tax issues for more than 20 years. We are ready to provide the personalized service and professional representation you need for a successful appeal. To get you started, we offer this list of frequently asked questions and answers.

Contact a reputable Chicago law firm for property tax issues

Your property taxes can be a serious drain on your personal or corporate resources, but effective legal representation can make a great difference. For reliable advice from a respected Chicago law firm, call Rieff Schramm Kanter & Guttman LLC at 331-310-0855 or contact our office online for a free consultation. 

What are the roles of the Cook County Assessor’s Office and the Board of Review?

The Cook County Assessor sets the taxable value on each parcel of real estate, numbering more than 1.8 million, located in Cook County.   When the assessor completes each township’s reassessment, property owners may appeal the assessment to the Board of Review, which is a quasi-judicial agency independent of the assessor.  The board then decides the final valuation of the property for that tax year.

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What do I do if my assessment is too high?

You should file an appeal with the Board of Review.  Filing an appeal is easy; you can do it online, in person at the board office or at a satellite office, or at a neighborhood “outreach seminar” sponsored by the board.  However, filing a successful appeal is a bit more complicated. You need to include pertinent, substantive evidence with your appeal. Our experienced attorney can manage the process for you.

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When can I file an appeal of my property assessment?

You can file once a year for 30 days after the Board of Review opens your township for appeal. Township filing dates vary from year to year and are not set in advance. If your township closes for appeal before you file, you must wait until the next assessment year to file.

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What information do I include in my appeal?

Evidence varies, depending upon the type of property and the basis of the appeal. Has your property been misclassified? Is the square footage incorrect? Has damage from fire, flooding or another casualty been overlooked? Have similar properties in the area been assessed at a lower value?

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Can I file an appeal even if the assessor gave me a reduction?

Yes. If you don’t think your assessment was reduced sufficiently, you can ask the Board of Review to reduce the assessment further.

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Can I file an appeal for a prior year?

No. The board only has jurisdiction over the current year’s assessment.

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Why do property assessments go up?

The assessor must reassess every parcel of property in Cook County every three years to reflect changes in value over that period.  In other years, your assessment can change due to an increase in occupancy, new construction, or other factors.

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Can a condominium association president file on behalf of the association?

No. According to the Illinois Condominium Property Act, the association’s board must retain an attorney to represent the entire building. If you decline to act, individual unit owners may file their own individual appeals.

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What exemptions are available for property owners?

There are numerous property tax exemptions available to Illinois property owners, including those for homeowners, senior citizens, longtime homeowners, home improvements, returning and disabled veterans, and disabled persons. Our attorneys can assess your situation and make a compelling case for the exemption you deserve.

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