Who is it best to file an appeal with regarding Cook County IL property taxes?
Cook County Board of Review?
Cook County Assessor?
1 Answer from Attorneys
I have always been of the belief that there is no harm in taking a "bite" out of the apple by filing at the Assessor's Office first and then, if necessary, pursuing an appeal at the Board of Review.
For those who may not understand fully, the Assessor begins the process by sending a Notice of Assessment establishing an associated market value for the property. The Assessor then opens for filing of "complaints" a 30 window of opportunity to get your evidentiary information together for submission. Complaint forms may be filed on-line, or printed and mailed or walked into the Assessor's Office. The forms are available on his website at www.cookcountyassessor.com. Once the complaint and decision are timely filed, the Assessor will render his written decision formally by sending the taxpayer or their representative a letter by mail. If the decision is favorable, granting a reduction that is reasonable, the taxpayer is probably finished with the appeal process. If the decision grants too little relief, or no relief, the taxpayer may choose to continue the appeal to the Cook County Board of Review.
Generally, the Board of Review opens each township's filing period within a month or two after the Assessor's review is completed. The Board generally allows a 30 day or so period to file your appeal with their office. The Board for 2011 allows taxpayers to file its on-line appeals as well. The Board's website is www.cookcountyboardofreview.com. If a taxpayer files its complaint online, the evidentiary materials in support of that complaint must be filed within 7 days of the online filing. Again, same process, the Board will issue its Decision by mail. One aspect which is different at the Board is that taxpayers can have a "hearing" in front of one of the Commissioners or their staff for purposes of advocating their reasonings as to why their property is overvalued. Corporations or tenants occupying property which they do not own must be represented by legal counsel.
If a taxpayer does not receive relief at the Board, or isn't happy with the relief received, there is a 3rd venue to appeal ones assessment, and that is either the State of Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB) or in Circuit Court. The PTAB has its own forms (see www.state.il.us/agency/ptab/default.htm), rules and requirements as well, but the process is similar as the other agencies. Unlike the Assessor's appeal and the Board of Review appeal whose processes are completed before the 2nd installment taxbills come out in the fall, the PTAB or Court processes take much longer and occur after the property taxbills are required to be payed. Thus, if successful in a PTAB or Circuit Court appeal, the taxpayer is issued a refund for the overpayment amount of taxes paid. In order to have an appeal heard by the PTAB or in Circuit Court, a taxpayer MUST have, at a minimum, filed an appeal at the Board of Review. Otherwise the PTAB or Circuit Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Taxpayers can file EITHER at PTAB or in Court, but not both.