Cook County Commercial Property Tax Rates Threaten Small Businesses

Cook County, Illinois, is known for its notoriously high property taxes. Which is why when Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that 2016 property taxes would hit a record high, its effect on local small businesses was thrown into the spotlight.

The tax increases, which are being rolled out over a four year period, took their biggest hit this year, totaling $319 million. With the increase, businesses were subject to newly-assessed property values based on fair market value and an additional $1,670 on $500,000 properties.

Many of Cook County’s new property tax rates are one percentage higher than residential properties, and small businesses are feeling its weight. Cook County is the only county in Illinois where businesses bear more of the property tax burden than residents.

Properties that are commercially zoned in Cook County are assessed at 2.5 times more than residential property. Thus, a $15,000 tax bill on a $500,000 home would be $37,500 for a commercial property.

The higher business expense is unique to Cook County, and it acts as an unfortunate competitive disadvantage. Although brave business owners set up shop anyway, sometimes the customer density, talent, and easy transportation access aren’t enough to maintain profit.

Higher commercial property tax rates discourage new businesses from opening, which could result in a tax base that increases so slowly that it struggles to support the ever-growing cost of public services. This, in turn, could result in even higher tax rates for both businesses and residents.

Because mixed-use developments (buildings with a few floors of businesses that are topped with residents) are taxed as a residential space, many small businesses are relocating to these multi-purpose buildings to alleviate some of their financial strain.

With the increased 2016 tax rates, many Cook County businesses are seeking appeals. Some Cook county property tax appeal attorneys and paralegals are struggling to maintain their increased workload with their desired level of client satisfaction.

That’s where AppealTrack comes in. Our software helps commercial property tax professionals store and access property and client information, invoicing, and reports.

If you have questions about AppealTrack software and how it helps commercial property tax attorneys and paralegals save their clients money. (To date, $400 billion has been spared from being paid in taxes unnecessarily.) To learn more about our software and how it streamlines the process of managing deadlines, taxes, and reports for property tax appeals, click here.