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Chicago Property Tax Attorneys Assert Landlords’ Rights

Illinois lawyers help your business get an accurate tax assessment and relief on appeal

Commercial and residential landlords in Chicagoland often feel like they’re in an abusive relationship with state and local government. Courted lavishly with tax incentives and abatements, then socked with astronomical assessments, property owners may wonder whether the business opportunities outweigh the burdens. At Rieff Schramm Kanter & Guttman LLC, our attorneys appreciate the vital contributions that landlords make to the economy of Cook and Lake counties. We know that when your property taxes are too burdensome, they prevent you from servicing your tenants, which in turn hurts your business. We offer robust property tax representation to get you an accurate and fair assessment that may lower your taxes and free your resources to grow your business.

Knowledgeable advocates advise on property tax appeals in Chicago, Cook County and Lake County

If your latest tax assessment has left you dumbfounded, there’s a good chance the assessment isn’t correct. Most assessments are, at best, an educated guess. There are numerous factors that can influence your assessment, including:

  • The condition of the property — A property rendered unusable due to fire, flood, or other circumstances may qualify for vacancy relief.
  • Vacancies on the property — An assessor may assume your building is operating at capacity. But if you’ve been unable to find commercial or residential tenants due to circumstances beyond your control, you deserve a lower assessment.
  • Temporary decline in rental income due to renovations — If necessary repairs cut into the revenue from the building, you are entitled to tax relief.
  • Assessments of property in your area deemed to be similar — Equality under the law extends to taxation. If similar properties in your area received lower assessments, yours should be brought into conformity.

There may also be state laws and local ordinances that affect your tax assessment. You might qualify for exemptions as well. A careful analysis of building sales in your area can yield data useful to a challenge of your property’s assessed value. We analyze data such as rents, purchase prices, income produced, and construction costs to test the accuracy of your property tax assessment.

If you have not appealed your property taxes in the past three years, now is the time to see if you’ve been overassessed. Our experienced attorneys have more than 140 years of combined experience in Illinois property tax law. We can guide you through the process of appealing your assessment and advise you when a negotiated settlement may offer you a better option for tax relief.

Proven advisers provide in-depth analysis to make tax planning predictable

In Cook County, authorities fully evaluate for property tax purposes only every three years. Outside Cook County, the assessments come every four years. As a result, the previously assessed value lags behind the current market value, and businesses can suffer a shock with the next assessment. Our attorneys assist with tax planning for various types of property, such as:

  • Apartment buildings and condominiums — It’s important to consider how the neighborhood has changed since your last assessment. Has gentrification made the area trendy, or has recent construction of apartments exceeded demand? It’s also important to consider whether your building is in need of repairs you’ve been putting off too long.
  • Commercial and office buildings — Has recent overbuilding in certain areas of Chicago created a glut of office space in your area, or are you in an area where startup companies are hiring and expanding? The answers to these questions will inform your planning priorities.
  • Retail properties and storefronts — With vacancy rates at around 11 percent toward the end of 2018, the Chicago retail property market was improving, but still tepid. As the economy continues to improve, two factors loom large: location and competition from online retailers.
  • Industrial property — During the Great Recession, the empty big-box warehouses were almost too numerous to count. Now that the economy is booming again, industrial space is greatly in demand.

We can help you structure your leases to include a reasonable share of the property tax burden based on an analysis of market data for buildings in similar condition, your property’s level of occupancy/vacancy, and the actual income you derive.

Contact a respected Chicago law firm for property tax issues

Don’t let excessive property taxes needlessly drain your company’s resources. 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.