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Experienced Chicago Lawyers Negotiate Property Tax Settlements

Illinois attorneys provide determined representation for commercial property owners facing crippling assessments

There’s no sugarcoating the situation in Illinois: property taxes are among the highest in the nation, and high assessments are damaging businesses, threatening homeowners and putting the future of the state in doubt. Still, few authorities in Cook County are seeking to rein in commercial property taxes. Instead, many seized upon the record sale of the Willis Tower for almost three times its assessed value in 2015 as evidence that Chicago properties were underassessed. What followed was a tax hike in 2016 that was the sharpest in the city’s history. Under those circumstances, it’s no surprise that commercial property owners fall behind on property taxes or simply refuse to pay what they see as sky-high assessments after their appeals fail. Unfortunately, the tax bill continues to accumulate as county authorities begin enforcement actions. If you have unpaid Cook County or Lake County commercial property taxes, it’s time to call Rieff Schramm Kanter & Guttman LLC. With more than 140 years of combined experience, our business attorneys know how to negotiate a settlement to back taxes so you can get on with your business.

Should you accept a settlement offer after you file a property tax appeal?

The good news for commercial property owners is that because so many businesses and homeowners are filing appeals of their tax assessments, the system is overwhelmed. Appeals take time and tie up resources for state agencies that would rather be processing payments and courts that already have full calendars. Consider the various stages your tax appeal may go through:

  • Filing an appeal with the county assessor’s office
  • Filing an appeal with the county Board of Review
  • Filing an appeal of the county Board of Review decision with the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB)
  • Filing for an administrative review of the PTAB decision in Circuit Court for the county or, if the assessment on the property is greater than $300,000, the Appellate Court for the district

Rather than spending the time and resources to complete this exhaustive process, the county assessor might offer a property tax settlement at one of the latter stages. A settlement might seem like a small victory at first, but it’s usually for an amount higher than you need to pay. To know whether the settlement is fair, you must consult an experienced property tax lawyer with a proven record of savings for clients.

Skilled negotiators manage settlements to deliver positive results

When business owners try to negotiate a property tax settlement on their own, they are at a great disadvantage because they lack knowledge of how the other side operates. While assessments are public records, they don’t reveal how much the owner of a building like yours in a similar location paid in a settlement. In other words, you don’t know how low the assessor is willing to go. But our attorneys have handled enough cases to know the range of outcomes we can expect. We also know what facts you need to present in negotiations to make a compelling argument for a lower assessment.

Negotiating a settlement can be complicated because the assessor has to answer to various stakeholders, such as the board of education for the county, which gets the lion’s share of property tax revenues. With an experienced and determined advocate from our firm negotiating for you, however, you have a much better chance of achieving a favorable outcome.

Contact a reputable Chicago law firm to manage your property tax settlement

Don’t accept a property tax settlement for more than you should have to pay. Rieff Schramm Kanter & Guttman LLC provides reliable advice that can lower your tax burden. To schedule an appointment, call 331-310-0855 or contact our Chicago office online for a free consultation.