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2014 Real Estate Tax Appeal Update

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“What do you mean I can protest my real estate taxes assessment!” is too often the comment made by property owners frustrated regarding ever rising residential, business and investment real estate taxes despite the struggling real estate market. Real estate tax appeal filing deadlines are very real and rigorously enforced by assessor’s and board of review’s offices, so the key to success is to start the preparation process early. By contacting Kelleher & Buckley, LLC now, we can review the viability of your appeal.

Township Deadlines
Real estate tax appeals must be made before the deadline provided by the county’s Assessor’s Office. The deadline is approximately 1 month after the Assessor’s office mails the assessment notices. Once the notices have been mailed the deadline to appeal is set officially. Typically, it is exactly 1 month from the date the notices were mailed unless that date lands of a weekend or holiday. The following chart displays the townships with upcoming dates the Assessor’s Office did or plans to mail out the notices.

Cook County
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Township Approximate Date
Assessment Notices Mailed
Palatine 05/28/2014
Palos 06/06/2014
Hyde Park 06/10/2014
Calumet 06/17/2014
Barrington 06/20/2014
Leyden 06/25/2014
Proviso 07/08/2014
West 07/17/2014
Wheeling 07/11/2014
Orland 07/28/2014
Northfield 07/31/2014

Reasons for Appealing:

  1. The Assessed Value is Too High- The most common basis of appeal is challenging the assessment because it is above the market value of the property. The assessed value of residential, industrial and commercial properties in Lake, McHenry and Kane counties for 2012 are generally 1/3 of the market value of the property (as of January 1, 2012). By statute, the local township assessors are required to use sale ratio studies for the 3 prior years for their assessment. When property values are increasing, this slows down the rate of assessment increases. Unfortunately, when values are decreasing the 3 year sale ratio also slows down the rate of assessment decreases. Another limitation placed on the township assessors is that they are not permitted to consider sales occurring even a few months after the January 1 valuation date. These restrictions do not apply to an owner appealing an assessment.
  2. The Property is Vacant- If your property has been vacant or partially vacant, a reduction in your assessment can be obtained. We will work with you to submit appropriate evidence to secure this reduction.

What are the expected costs to appeal?:

For residential properties, a qualified appraiser is retained, which costs about $300 for a market appraisal. Unlike the assessor, the appraiser can use sales shortly before and even after the date of valuation. For commercial and industrial properties, appraisals can be obtained using either a market, cost or income approach. Although more expensive than residential appraisals, this expense is usually worth the savings on reductions to a yearly $30,000 – $70,000 tax bill.

The selection of an appraiser is vitally important. The assessor should be not only experienced, but have a recognized reputation that will be well received by the Board of Review.

Attorney fees are customarily contingent in nature, reflecting the success of the appeal and amount of taxes saved the first year. On Cook County tax appeals matters, we often refer matters to other proven tax appeal attorneys.

Who do you contact to appeal?

Contact attorney:

Hon. Henry “Skip” Tonigan, ret.

E-mail at

Office Phone 847-382-9130

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Pursuant to requirements related to practice before the Internal Revenue Service, any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of (i) avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another person any tax-related matter.

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