Appealing your property taxes in Cook County should be no different than filing your income taxes...you NEED to do it every year. Why? Because you are leaving thousands of dollars on the table if you do not. What other tax would you pay more than you have to? NONE, so why are some people paying more property taxes than they should? Simply because some people don't know where to start or what to do. Here are five things that every Cook County property owner should know about appealing your property taxes:
1. Over 60% of people are over assessed and paying too much yet only 10% appeal.
Why would you not appeal every year? The chances are in your favor if you file an appeal as more than 60% of all properties are over assessed. In Cook County, there is no risk in filing an appeal every year. If you would like us to file one for you at no risk, you can click here.
2. Your assessment cannot be raised if you lose your appeal.
Some people are afraid to appeal because they think the Assessor will get angry, or try to get "revenge" on them for appealing by raising their assessment. That is just not true! The Assessor cannot raise your assessment when you appeal and they will not be upset or single you out for future increases. The truth of the matter is that it is your legal right to make sure that your assessment is as accurate as possible and that you are not paying any more than you are required to by law.
3. Once the deadline passes, it's too late.
By the time your property tax bill arrives, it is too late to fight it. That is why we recommend to our clients to sign up for the next appeal as soon as you receive your property tax bill. Want to check if your township is open for appeal? You can click here to find out! If it is too late for you to appeal but you don't want to miss the next deadline, you can click here to send us your information and we will send you the forms necessary for the next appeal. Our goal is to make it easy for you!
4. The proper exemptions can save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, but the wrong exemptions can cost you thousands in fines and penalties in addition to having to pay back the money to Cook County.
Exemptions can be confusing! Some people are getting stuck with thousands of dollars in fines and penalties through no fault of their own if it is found that you are receiving an exemption that you are not entitled to...even if you knew nothing about it! Alternatively, many homeowners are not receiving exemptions they should be which can cost them hundreds of dollars per year. The exemptions available to Cook County residents can be found here.
If your primary residence is in Cook County, you are eligible for a Homeowner Exemption. Taxpayers are only entitled to one homestead exemption on their primary residence for any given tax year. If your home is receiving a Homeowner Exemption, and it is not your primary residence, you could be in big trouble. The Assessor is actively looking for properties receiving an erroneous exemption and they are aggressively pursuing them with penalties and interest totaling thousands of dollars! (You can click here to access the Cook County Assessor page regarding erroneous exemptions.)
5. Every prudent and responsible homeowner should be reviewing their assessment every year or have a trusted expert to do it for them.
As mentioned earlier, appealing your property taxes in Cook County should be no different than filing your income taxes...you NEED to do it every year. You can do it on your own by clicking here or you can hire our trusted law firm. We have filed more single-family residential appeals in Cook County than ANYONE over the past five years! Let us use our expertise to help you too. Click here to sign up with us now.