Ask Dan

Dan will be posting Frequently Asked Questions he receives at the Cook County Board of Review here.  If you have a question, please contact your local Township Assessor or the Cook County Board Of Review.

 
 

Question from Niles

I do have a question - when I inquired about the $100,000 cap to qualify for the Senior freeze exemption, I was told that I would have to consider the income of my daughter and family who are living in our household - the income of my husband and I is well under the $100,000 limit and should qualify us.

Why must I consider their income - they pay me a rental to live in my house, and are really a separate "household"?

Or, am I interpreting the qualifications incorrectly?  Is it possible that I do qualify for this freeze?

The income limit of $100,000 you are referring to actually applies to the Long Time Homeowner Exemption.  The Senior Freeze Exemption income limit is $55,000 for a household.  In both cases to qualify for the respective exemptions, all income from all persons residing in the property is added together to determine eligibility.

 

When do we get our second tax assesment? The date I can call to get the amount?

Over the past 34 years, second installment tax bills have been due anywhere from late August to mid-December. This year, for the first time in 34 years, tax bills were mailed on July 1 and due August 1 which is the statutorily required date. This was due to unprecedented cooperation between the Cook County Assessor, the Board of Review, the Treasurer and the Clerk who all worked to get tax bills out on time. It is the intention of these offices to make August 1 the routine date for tax bills to be due.

If you check the Treasurer's web site at www.cookcountytreasurer.com they usually post the taxes due for each property index number a few days before the bills arrive in your mail box.

 

If I bought my house for a certain amount in 2007 (I live in Lakeview) and now the sales in the neighborhood are lower AND I have comparables that are assessed lower, will the Board of Review lower my assessed value below the assessment that would be indicated by the purchase price?

Up until a few years ago, the Board would look at any arms length transaction of a residential property and apply ten percent of the purchase price as the assessment if the property was sold within the past three years.  If the assessment was already below ten percent of the purchase price, they would leave the assessment where it was and not take into account nearby comparable property assessments.  However, that policy has changed.  Now in light of declining market values and the fact that reassessments are not keeping up with those new lower values, if the purchase price does not justify an assessment reduction, the Board will review comparable properties and consider those comparables along with the purchase price to determine what the assessment should be.

 

If my assessment appeal is successful, will my tax bill decline?

A successful appeal usually means that your tax bill will be lower than it otherwise would have been if your assessment had not been reduced. However, it is possible for your assessment to go down and your tax bill to go up since increasing local tax levies and rates have a significant impact on property taxes.
 

If I appeal my assessment and receive a reduction, when will it appear on my tax bill?

Results of assessment reductions are reflected on second installment tax bills which you should receive in early July and which is due on August 1.

 

How do I file an appeal at the County Assessor’s office and at the Board of Review?

You can file an appeal with the assessor on-line by going to http://www.cookcountyassessor.com or you can mail your complaint to the Assessor at 118 N. Clark, Chicago, Illinois 60602.  Board of Review complaint forms can be downloaded from their web site at http://www.cookcountyboardofreview.com or they can be picked up and dropped off at any of the Board’s five suburban satellite offices located at the suburban county court houses.  As of September 2011 you may also file your complaint on-line from the Board’s web site home page.  However, all evidence must be mailed to the Board of Review at 118 N. Clark, 6th floor Chicago, Illinois 60602 or dropped at the satellite offices.

 

If appealing for the tax review, will you need to go before a judge or is it simply a matter of filling out alot of paperwork and submitting it for review? What is the full process?

All property owners who file for an assessment review at the Board of Review have the right to an oral hearing before a Deputy Commissioner/Analyst (Judge) who will listen to your case and then review your written evidence. Most residential property owners who file a complaint do not ask for a hearing and simply submit written evidence.  However, if you want a hearing then you must check off the box provided on the complaint form.  You will then receive a letter in the mail informing you of the date and time of your hearing.  If you choose to attend a hearing, you may bring your evidence with you.  If you are unable to attend your scheduled hearing, be sure to deliver or mail your evidence to the Board by the date of the hearing.  The Analysts at the Board may also at their discretion use information available to them about comparable properties and recent sales to help in determining whether or not your property is over assessed.

 

Where can I appeal my property assessment?

Assessments can be appealed at the Cook County Assessor’s office, the Cook County Board of Review, the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB) and Cook County Circuit Court.  Appeals to the Assessor and the Board of Review may only be filed at specific times during the year depending on which township your property is located.  You can find out whether your township is open for appeal by going to the web sites for each of those agencies.  Appeals to the PTAB can only be made if you have previously filed an appeal at the Board of Review for the tax year in question and must be made within thirty days of the date on the letter you receive from the Board informing you of their decision.  If you choose to file a case at the circuit court, you automatically forego the opportunity to appeal at PTAB and vice-versa.

 

Who is responsible for the assessment on my property and how often is it reassessed?

The Cook County Assessor assesses all property in Cook County on a triennial basis.  Property in Chicago was reassessed in 2012.  North suburban property will be reassessed in 2013 and south suburban property will be reassessed in 2014.

 

Is it best to appeal at the Board yourself or with an attorney? Who can get the best results?

There is no difference in results whether an attorney files on your behalf or if you do it yourself assuming you know how to put together a convincing case. However, if you are willing to pay the attorney's fee, you can sit back and let him do the work. Otherwise do the work yourself and save the fee.