How to Appeal Cook County Commercial Property Taxes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2016 tax increase introduced the largest property tax spike in Chicago’s history. The increase, which is being rolled out over the next four years, has its largest hit ($319 million) this year.

With this new increase, businesses could be taxed an additional $1,670 on $500,000 properties. That being said, exact amounts will be determined based on newly-assessed property values.

If you fear that your commercial property portfolio is being overtaxed, as many are, filing a tax appeal could generate significant tax savings. Yet many businesses are unaware that commercial property tax appeals are an option, let alone how to go about doing it.

The Cook County property tax appeal deadline to file documentation is this month (the exact date depends on township). Even if you missed the deadline for this year, it is never too early to start researching and collecting data to build a successful case for your property tax appeal.

Step 1: Gathering Key Information
The first step involves gathering information so you are aware of all of the details required to file your tax appeal.

Here is some information you’ll want to secure:

  • What is the exact day and time the appeal must be filed?
  • Does the appeal deadline mean that it must be received or postmarked by that date?
  • Where do you need to mail the appeal?
  • Can your appeal be filed online?
  • What documentation (evidence, letters of authorization, etc.) do you need to file a valid appeal?

Step 2: Assessing the Data
Once you have all of the details, you can start doing research on market data and analysis to build a case for your appeal. Here are some areas you’ll want to consider.

Fair Market Value
If your property is not being taxed at fair market value, then you’re going to be paying more taxes than you should. Building a good case to the local taxing authority means that you’re almost certainly in a position to appeal.

Research and Analysis
In order to build a solid appeal, you need to have enough data to prove that you’re being overtaxed. What amount have buildings in your area sold for? If you compare your property to those recently sold, how does your value measure up? When you have your data, you can establish a fair market value for your property. If your assessment proves to be more than similar buildings on the market, then you have strong evidence that will be in your favor for your commercial property tax appeal.

Step 3: Doing the Work
Filing for a commercial property tax appeal takes time and effort. If this is something that you want to pursue but don’t want to do the heavy lifting, there are plenty of property tax professionals (who specialize in Cook County appeals) that would love to guide you through this process.

That’s where AppealTrack steps in. Our software 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.