The Tax Bills Are Here!

The 2015 Second installment real estate tax bills for Cook County have been released as of 10:00am this morning.  For Chicago residents, this bill has been highly anticipated (dreaded) since the 2015 re-assessments were announced.  As I wrote earlier this year, may of you expect to get dinged pretty hard.

To see how bad the damage is, head over to the Cook County Treasurer’s website by clicking here.  Once there, click “continue” and enter your PIN.  If you do not know your PIN, head over to the Cook County Assessor’s website here.  Click “Dont know your PIN?” and enter your address.

LIFE PRO TIP!!!

If you are an owner occupant, and you do not receive a homeowner exemption, you are paying too much tax!!!!  The property tax information on the Treasurer’s website will indicate whether you have the exemption.  If you do not receive the exemption, and you qualify, please contact me immediately!  I will help you find the forms you need to submit to save hundreds immediately, and I will not charge you!

If you have questions about real estate taxes, or any other real estate matter, as always, you can contact me at patrick@loftus-law.com or 773-632-8330.  To see what my clients have to say about me, please visit me at avvo.com or on my oh page.  Cheers!

Get Your Real Estate Tax Assessment Appeals Ready!

   You probably just received the first installment of your 2015 real estate tax bills, and once the panic over the upcoming second installment subsides, you want to know how to lower that bill. As I talked about a couple of weeks ago right here, some of the assessments went absolutely bananas for 2015, and you can expect the second installment of your tax bill to deliver a real sucker punch if you are not prepared. One way to combat the ever-increasing property tax bill is to appeal the assessment.

   Believe it or not, appealing your assessment can be relatively simple. Many people choose to use an attorney to appeal. The good news is that most attorneys who handle assessment appeals work on a contingency basis and charge a fee based upon how much they save you on your tax bill. In other words, if they don’t win, you don’t pay!

   It is crucial to know the appeal deadline for your township. Once the 30-day appeal window closes, you are stuck! The Assessor mails assessment notices throughout the year. In Cook County, you can find out when the Assessor expects to mail the notice for your township here. As of today, there are 2 townships in Cook County open for appeal, River Forest and Riverside. Importantly, those townships close for appeals on February 29, 2016. If your property is there, you have no time to waste! Other counties publish similar information on their assessor and treasurer websites. Appeals are accepted for 30 days after the date the notices are mailed.

   Owners of single-family detached homes can either contact an attorney or file an appeal themselves. Some people feel relatively comfortable with the process, and filing online is pretty easy. The link for filing an appeal online is here. Grab your comparables and have at it!

   For townhome and condominium owners, the process is a bit more complicated. You should reach out to your association board and suggest hiring an attorney to file an appeal for the whole building or community. The reason for this is that your community probably has many similar units, which are likely assessed equally. As a result, an individual appeal is likely to fail, because the law requires the assessor to assess properties uniformly. In other words, it does not make sense for you to have a lower assessment than your neighbor with an identical property, regardless of the fair market value of the units.

   This is a birds-eye view of the process, and everyone’s situation is unique. I encourage everyone to consult with an experienced assessment appeal attorney about the feasibility of an appeal.

   As always, I welcome you to contact me at 773-632-8330 or patrick@loftus-law.com with any questions about filing an assessment appeal. There is no good reason to pay more tax than absolutely necessary!

   Realtors, I am honored by your referrals! See what my clients have to say about my responsive service and fantastic results right here.