Tips to Appeal Your Property Tax
The most commonly used evidence for challenging a new reassessment and market value on your home for property tax purposes is called “lack of uniformity.” This evidence is gathered online at www.CookCountyAssessor.com by clinking on the SEARCH button on the Assessor’s Home Page.
You have the right to be similarly assessed with comparable homes on your block(s), in your neighborhood code and housing type called “property classification.” For example, should the Assessor value your home at $300,000 when very similar bungalows on your block or a few blocks away are assessed at $200,000, these “undervalued” homes become your evidence “baseline” for a property tax appeal. Identifying 5-6 of these lower assessed comparable homes from the Assessor’s on-line database is called “lack of uniformity” evidence. The Assessor even has an online Appeal Page that allows you to type in those “undervalued” homes' permanent index numbers (PINs) to challenge the Assessor’s estimated market value of your home. The assessment value is 10% of the estimated market value. There are several ways you can strengthen your tax appeal which may or may not be based on “lack of uniformity” evidence. Your tax appeal may have several arguments such as:
By statute, Cook County residential properties should be assessed at 10% of market value. The Assessor regards a recent (within the past 3 years) purchase as a valid indicator of market value, so if your assessment is more than 10% of your purchase price, submit a copy of your Purchase Contract or Settlement Statement as evidence that your property is over assessed.
Many insurance policies will list a “Replacement Cost” for a home to be rebuilt based upon 100% destruction of the home by a disaster. If your insurance policy lists a lower value for your home than the Assessor’s market value, submit a copy of your policy as evidence that your property is over assessed. Keep in mind you must also add the Assessor’s land value to the replacement cost and the final value should be at least $50,000+ lower than the estimate market value.
Square Footage (SF) Error
Errors of 10% or more in the Assessor’s listing of your home’s outside SF measurements can result in an over assessment. Verify that a recent appraisal from a refinancing or a recent survey of your property lists the same SF that is on the Assessor’s records. If not, submit this appraisal or survey as evidence that your property is over assessed.
File an appeal if you determine that you are over assessed so that you only pay your fair share of property taxes. In cases where there are major property description issues, like square footage errors or property disasters, not only can you get property tax relief reflected on the 2nd installment tax bills but you also have the possibility of getting tax refunds for the prior years that the errors existed.
Want to learn more about how to appeal your property taxes? Attend one of our public seminars at www.TaxesTooHigh.com
Senior Tax Analyst
Raila & Associates, P.C. www.TaxesTooHigh.com 312.587.9494