How to Reduce Property Taxes in the Chicago Area
Illinois lawyers provide effective advice and advocacy regarding property tax appeals and exemptions
Property taxes are a fact of life, but unless you speak with a knowledgeable attorney, you might not realize that you are entitled to a reduction in what you owe. At Rieff Schramm Kanter & Guttman LLC in Chicago, we are experienced Illinois attorneys who represent clients throughout the Chicagoland area in property tax appeals and advise them on what exemptions might be available to lower their financial burden. If you believe that your property tax bill is too high because of a faulty assessment or because you are entitled to relief under Illinois law, our firm can help.
Appealing the assessed value of your home or business
For many Illinois residents, the most effective way of lowering a property tax bill is appealing the assessed market value of their home or business. In many cases, property assessments are incorrect regarding basic characteristics of either the land and/or any structures on it. You might not realize that your assessment misstates the size of your property or whether a given area of your home or commercial building is finished, such as the basement area. We will review your assessment notice to determine if any errors have contributed to an artificially high market value as indicated on your assessment notice. From there, our firm will work to correct the misinformation as promptly as possible.
The other method of reducing the assessed market value of a property is to challenge the comparable sales used to generate the assessment. These analyses can often be very rough, and nearby sales that have little in common with your property could be used as the basis for your appraisal. You have the right to appeal your property assessment to your local board of review, such as the Cook County Board of Review. Consulting with an experienced Illinois property tax lawyer can help you make an informed decision about whether it is worthwhile to challenge the taxable value assigned to your property. If you decide to go forward, our firm will present a thorough case in support of a lower assessment.
Exemptions that can reduce property taxes
A variety of programs exist to relieve the tax burden for various categories of Illinois property owners, including:
- Senior exemptions — Homeowners 65 and older are eligible for an automatically renewing benefit that lowers the assessed value of a primary residence. In addition, seniors with an annual income not exceeding $65,000 can also apply each year for an exemption which freezes the assessed value of a property so taxes don’t rise to due market changes. However, this freeze does not guard against tax rate increases.
- Persons with disabilities exemption — Someone with a disability is eligible for a reduction in the equalized assessed value of their property, which will cut their overall tax bill.
- Veterans’ exemptions — If you are a veteran with a service-connected disability certified by the Department of Veterans Affairs or a veteran returning from active duty in an armed conflict, you can have the assessment lowered on your home.
- Home improvements — When someone makes an improvement to their home or property, they can avoid taxation on up to $75,000 of the increase in value for up to four years.
- Victims of natural disasters — After a qualifying natural disaster damages your home, you have two years to make repairs and improvements. Any increase in the home’s value caused by this work is exempt from taxation.
Along with these exemptions, most homeowners qualify for an automatically renewed exemption due to the fact that the property is their primary place of residence. If you believe you are eligible for any type of exemption, we’ll explain how the rules apply in your case.