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Property Tax Appeals 101

General information

Property taxes are determined on an ad valorem basis, which means that the cost of the tax bill is based on the value of the property. The county assessor’s office compares each property with similar properties in the area to determine their respective values.

For Instance, the Cook County Assessor’s Office is responsible for placing a value on about 1.8 million parcels.

Local governments spend the revenue they collect from property taxes on various projects and services for the community.

What does it mean to appeal your taxes?

When you file an appeal, you are not actually challenging the tax bill – you are contesting the value of your house or building as determined by the county assessor.

The appeal decision is reached by County officials. There are also varying levels of appeals (Board of Review, Property Tax Appeal Board, Circuit Court) that can impact the appeal decision timeframe.

The appeal process can take anywhere between 6-12 months, depending on when the appeal is received.

Appeals are not the only way to ensure that you are paying no more than your fair share. If you are a senior citizen, military veteran, or a longtime homeowner, you may qualify for an exemption that would lower or freeze your property taxes.

What are some reasons to challenge your assessment?

  • The assessor’s market value is higher than actual market value
  • Results of an assessment/sales ratio study show that the assessed value is at a higher percentage of market value for your property than the prevailing township or county median level
  • The primary assessment of the property is based on inaccurate information, such as an incorrect measurement of a lot or building
  • The assessment is higher than those of similar neighboring properties

How do you file a property tax appeal?

There are formal and informal processes for appealing property taxes. You have the option to appeal on your own. Or you can hire an attorney who specializes in property tax law to handle your appeal. 

If you believe the assessment is erroneous, you may contact your township assessor or chief county assessment officer to express your complaint. Calling an erroneous assessment to the assessor’s attention may result in a correction without using the formal appeal process. If the assessor still has the assessment books for that year, he or she can correct any erroneous assessment.

Deadlines, complaint forms, evidence, and rules of practice can vary by county. You should contact the board of review to make sure you have all the information you need.

Some of the information you’ll need to provide in a formal appeal can include:

  • Property record cards
  • Evidence of unfair assessment
  • Property photographs
  • Property appraisal
  • Evidence of Recent sales of comparable properties
  • Fair market value details
  • Prevailing assessment levels in the respective district

Property taxes unappealing…we can help!

Appealing your property taxes is one way to ensure that the amount you pay is fair. In some Cook County townships, median sales prices increased by about $50,000 over a two-year period. Staying on top of your assessment notices and researching local appeal procedures can help homeowners avoid being overburdened with property taxes.

Appeal.Tax can prepare your property tax appeal and handle it from start to finish. There is no fee unless a reduction is obtained. And we only charge a small portion of the overall tax savings secured. 

Since 2015, we’ve saved Illinois property owners over $100 million in reduced property taxes.

Contact today to discuss your Association, residential, or commercial property tax appeal. Tax Attorney Timothy Jacobs can be reached at 847-777-7270 or