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Homeowners Trying To Lower Cook County Property Taxes Hit 'Record High'

By Alisa Hauser | April 19, 2017 2:56pm
 A property tax bill.
A property tax bill.
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DNAinfo/Patty Wetli

CHICAGO — A record number of home and land owners in Cook County attempted to lower their property taxes last year, the Cook County Board of Review says.

The numbers were helped by an online appeal process and community outreach, a board spokesman says.

But how successful overall will the 208,147 complaint cases from holders of 422,449 parcels of real estate, or Permanent Index Numbers (PINs), be in proving a lower assessed value of their properties?

That will be announced in July once homeowners in the Northern Cook suburbs get their tax bills on July 1. However, Board of Review statistics tracked for the last 23 years show that for the past decade, well over half of the complaints filed resulted in reductions.

Based on the board's report for 2015, some 64.1 percent of appeals by property owners in the city of Chicago resulted in a tax reductions, saving property owners $125 million.

In 2014 and 2013, 58.6 percent and 61.8 percent of appeals resulted in a reduction, respectively, board records show.

James Thompson, a spokesman for the Cook County Board of Review, said a new digital appeals processing system introduced in 2015 "greatly improved our internal workflow and access for property owners."

Thompson said the 209,000 complaints in 2016 were the most in the 76-year-old board's history and a 13 percent spike from 2015, when there were 184,000 complaints from 476,000 PINS.

Thompson said there are 1.8 million parcels in Cook County and while 2016 was an assessment year for the northern Cook County suburbs, regardless of which part of the county gets reassessed, any homeowner can appeal, so the high number of complaints this year also included complaints from city and south suburban property owners.

"Everyone is eligible to file an appeal in any [assessment] year," Thompson said. 

According to a news release issued Tuesday by the Cook County Board of Review, 85 percent of the appeals received in 2016 were from residential homeowners.

Thompson said the numbers fluctuate depending on the part of the county which is being reassessed by the assessor.

Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak lauded the digital appeals system for allowing the board to "once again adjudicate another historic number of appeals on time."

"We had the highest number of cases filed in the history of the Board, a dedicated staff that tirelessly tackled this tsunami, and as a result, tax bills will be mailed out on time," Patlak said.  

As a check and balance to the Assessor’s office, the Cook County Board of Review (BOR) was established in 1939 as a forum for property owners to appeal their assessment.  For more info, visit CookCountyBoardofReview.com or call (312) 603-5542.