Understanding The Tax Appeal Process


Did you know?

  • Between 30 and 60 percent of taxable property in the United States is over-assessed, and this leads to higher property tax bills (National Taxpayers Union Foundation) 
  • Typically fewer than 5 percent of taxpayers challenge their assessments, even though the majority who do so win at least a partial victory when properly prepared. (Annuity.org)
  • States with the highest effective property tax rates in 2021 included Illinois (1.86 percent) (Attomdata.com)

Quick facts about tax appeals:

  • Hiring a tax attorney often costs nothing out of pocket, as most only charge a percentage of what they save you, if the appeal is successful
  • You are not fighting against your local taxing authority by disputing your property taxes.
  • There is nothing unusual about appealing property taxes; it is merely a request for review and is considered protocol in a city like Chicago.
  • If you request a review, you won’t be penalized more in taxes.
  • A property tax dispute can be handled on your own, without the help of an attorney or realtor, although professional guidance is helpful.
  • Although you may have bought your property this year, your property taxes may not necessarily reflect that purchase price yet.

Below is more information about our preferred tax appeal attorney in Chicago, Sarnoff Baccas. 

Assessment Process: 

Cook County consists of 38 Townships divided into three groups that are reassessed on an alternating triennial basis: the City of Chicago, the North & Northwest suburbs, and the South & Southwest suburbs. The City of Chicago was reassessed for tax year 2021. All property in the North & Northwest suburbs will undergo reassessment in 2022. Tax year 2023 is the reassessment year for the South & Southwest Suburbs.

Appeal Process

There are three levels of appeal in Cook County:

1. Cook County Assessor

The Cook County Assessor determines property values and sends each taxpayer an assessment notice. If a taxpayer disagrees with the value, they have 30 days from the date of publishing to submit an appeal before the Cook County Assessor.  Evidence submitted varies on the type of property. You may appeal your taxes in any year of an assessment cycle.

2. Cook County Board of Review (CCBOR)

The Cook County Board of Review is the second level of appeals. If you miss or determine not to file at the Cook County Assessor level, you may file an appeal directly to the CCBOR. 

3. Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB) or Circuit Court of Cook County

Appeals before the PTAB or Circuit Court of Cook County take place after the 2nd Installment bills are published. You may only file to one tribunal, and you must have filed an appeal before the Cook County Board of Review. Any relief at this level comes back in the form of a refund as 2nd Installment bills have been paid. 

Calculation of Your Tax Bill

Cook County Taxes are calculated multiplying the following: Assessment x Equalization Factor x Tax Rate 

Tax Bills are sent in two installments paid one year in arrears. The 1st installment bill is sent February 1 due March 1 and is based upon 55% of the previous year’s total. The 2nd installment bill is typically sent July 1 due August 1 and reflects the remaining portion of the taxes and any savings achieved in an appeal. Due to delays in the 2021 assessment process, 2nd installment bills for 2021 will be late. 

Why Appealing Your Taxes and Working with a Property Tax Law Firm is Important

We have great success in appealing assessments on behalf of our clients. All fees are contingent upon savings meaning that there is no fee unless we save you money. It is always to your advantage to have your property analyzed for possible appeal. Assessments have increased tremendously over the past 3 years and will continue to do so. 

If you are interested in learning more, please contact Jimmy Sarnoff at 312-782-8310 or jsarnoff@sarnoffbaccash.com

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