Property Tax Assessment Appeals in Cook County: An Overview of the Process

December 8, 2020 Tax Appeals

If you are dissatisfied with your Cook County real estate assessed valuation, you have the right to file an appeal to contest the value. Appeals are filed with the Cook County Assessor’s Office and/or the Cook County Board of Review

Filing a successful property assessment appeal can provide significant tax savings—in some cases in the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, in order to achieve a favorable result, you need to be thoroughly prepared, and you need to know how to navigate the process successfully. Here is a brief overview of the steps involved in filing an industrial or commercial property assessment appeal in Cook County:

1.  Determine The Applicable Time You Can File Your Property Tax Appeal

In Illinois, commercial, industrial, and residential property owners can file a property assessment appeal every year.  In Cook County an appeal can but is not required to be filed first with the Assessor’s Office, and then with the Board of Review, if necessary.  You cannot file a property assessment appeal at any time you choose. Instead, you must file within a prescribed window of time.  Those windows are:

  • Within 30 calendar days of receiving a reassessment notice in the mail from the Cook County Assessor’s Office, or within 30 calendar days of the Assessor’s publication of the assessments of an entire township.  A schedule of the publication dates can be found on the Assessor’s website; or
  • Within a 30 calendar day period that is set by the Board of Review for each township.  The filing schedule can be found on the Board of Review’s website.

Several townships are closed for the remainder of 2020. You can view the list of annual closures here.

2. Collect Documentation to Support Your Request for a Reduced Assessed Valuation 

In order to appeal your Cook County property tax assessment, you will need to submit supporting documentation.  For commercial and industrial property, such documentation can consist of, but is not limited to, an appraisal, income and expense information, documentation of recent purchase or sale, or vacancy information.  For residential property, documentation can consist of, but is not limited to, an appraisal, sale or purchase information or documentation detailing comparable properties in your area.

3. Make Sure You Know the Requirements for Filing an Appeal

In addition to timely submitting supporting documentation and your appeal form (formally referred to as a “complaint”), when filing your property tax assessment appeal, you must comply with the Official Appeal Rules of the Cook County Assessor. Noncompliance may result in your appeal being denied, even if your property’s tax assessment is without merit. Unique rules include the necessity to file a detailed real property income and expense statement (R.P.I.E.) form, which is quite cumbersome, as well as numerous detailed filing requests for vacancy such as filing the utility bills. 

4. File Your Property Assessment Appeal with the Cook County Assessor’s Office

Once you are ready, you or your legal counsel must file your appeal with the Cook County Assessor’s Office. At this time, all appeals can now be filed online.

5. File Your Property Assessment Appeal with the Cook County Board of Review

If you are dissatisfied with the Assessor’s result, or if you failed to file at the Assessor, you can further appeal to the Board of Review. Filing at the Assessor is not needed to file at the Board of Review. The process of submitting a complaint to the Board of Review is similar to the Assessor’s process. Hearings at the Board of Review are via brief or oral hearings. 

6. The Property Tax Appeal Board (P.T.A.B.) and The Circuit Court of Cook County 

If you are unsatisfied with the relief obtained at the Assessor or Board of Review, your legal counsel will file further complaints with P.T.A.B. or the Circuit Court of Cook County. They will take into consideration the possibility of interveners (third parties objecting the current assessment and likely advocating an increase in assessment) and the degree of burden of proof. Thus, your legal counsel routinely balances these concerns to determine what venue of appeal is best for each client’s situation. Furthermore, even if a further appeal is made to P.T.A.B. or Court, you are required to pay tax in the full amount now and if successful, you may receive a refund years later.  

Let’s Talk about Your Cook County Property Tax Appeal

Do you need to appeal the tax assessment of your industrial, commercial or residential property in Cook County? If so, we encourage you to get in touch. To speak with one of our Chicago real estate tax attorneys in confidence, call 312-408-7200 or request an appointment online now.

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