Cook County 2nd installment tax bills have been mailed and will be due August 1, 2019. Here are some of the major trends that may have affected your tax bill.
1. In Chicago, taxes are shifting from homeowners with low-value properties to high-value properties. All properties in Chicago were re-assessed for the 2018 tax year. Assessments of homes and condos in the City center, north and near west sides increased a lot (13% to 18% on the average) versus the south side where increases were much lower (3% to 5%). In addition, the highest valued homes and condos typically saw the largest assessment increases. So, owners of high-value homes saw whopping tax increases while owners of low to mid-value homes are experiencing modest increases, and even decreases.
2. In Chicago, taxes for most commercial properties increased significantly. Assessments for commercial properties in Chicago typically increased a lot more than homes and condos. Commercial property owners in the City center and the north side experienced the greatest increases while those on the south side saw more modest increases. This is causing higher tax bills for commercial property owners, particularly those in the City center and the north side.
3. Suburban tax bills increased modestly. The suburbs were not re-assessed in 2018 and, therefore, most assessments should have remained flat. Local government spending in the suburbs increased modestly causing upward pressure on tax rates and tax bills, but this was offset by a decrease in the Cook County Equalizer because of the Chicago re-assessment. As a result, the median increase in equalized tax rates in the suburbs was under 2%, meaning that tax bills in many suburban areas should have only increased modestly.
4. Delays and mistakes cause more PTAB and Court appeals. A record number of tax appeals were filed to the Assessor and Board of Review in 2018 because of the Chicago re-assessment. In addition, the former Assessor lost his re-election bid and a new Assessor took office in December 2018, just as a huge number of tax appeals hit the Assessor’s office. Given these major disruptions, appeals didn’t receive the review they deserved, mistakes were made and many appeals were denied when reductions should have been given. We expect this will result in a significant volume of 3rd level appeals to the Property Tax Appeal Board or Court for 2018 and more Assessor and Board appeals in 2019 as attorneys pursue fair taxes for their clients.
What can you do to keep your taxes under control?
- Be Vigilant. You need to monitor your assessment each and every year and appeal when you have the chance because property taxes are such a significant expense.
- Be Strategic. You need a strategic plan designed to get top results in the current environment. It’s not who you know that counts, but what you know and how effective you are at convincing the assessing officials.
- Be Persistent. You need to aggressively pursue your case at all feasible appeal levels to secure the lowest tax bill possible.
The good news is: if you work hard and smart, you can obtain the lowest tax bill possible and free up money for what matters most to you. We’re here to help you do that.
The Cook County Clerk recently published a detailed report discussing the 2018 tax rates. Click here if you would like to read a copy of that report.