Monday, September 25, 2023

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Local Voices: How to appeal your taxes for free


Submitted by Elvis Slaughter

The median home sales price in the United States reached $436,800 in the first quarter of 2023, indicating a significant 32 percent increase compared with the median price of $329,000 in 2020. Over the past 40 years, the average cost of houses in the United States has shown a consistent upward trend.(1) Typically, counties and cities conduct property reassessments every one to two years, although occasionally, there can be a longer gap between reassessments. In Bloom Township, it is three years. Consequently, homeowners are experiencing the property market boom’s effects on their tax bills.(2)

Why appeal your tax assessment?

First, why may you not want to appeal your tax assessment? You may hesitate to file an appeal because you feel that the assessment seems reasonable enough as you expected. You may even wrongly believe that appealing is a risky endeavor and that you might lose. The bureaucracy involved can intimidate, the terminology may be confusing, and you may not have the time to visit the assessor’s office locations.

But it’s important to recognize that if you don’t take advantage of opportunities to appeal your Cook County property tax assessment, you may miss out on potential savings. Seeking a reduction is a chance to significantly reduce your tax bill, and the best part is that it doesn’t cost you anything. Officials won’t reconsider your appeal and raise your property value because you exercised your right to appeal. Appealing your assessment is a common practice nationwide and carries no risk. Assessments are unlikely to increase upon appeal, even if homeowners request it to boost their property’s market value.

Another reason to consider appealing is that it often yields positive results. In 2016, more than 50 percent of reduction requests were approved at the initial stage, and this figure rose to 80 percent after the Cook County Board of Review reviewed rejected appeals. Similar success rates were seen in nearby counties, with initial success rates for appeals exceeding 40 percent.(3)

The Assessor’s Office must be fair and accurate when assessing the value of your property. However, if you discover that the records are inaccurate, you may file an appeal with the Assessor’s Office. The major factors that will motivate you to file an appeal include:

  • Your home’s value is higher than similar homes and other homes in your neighborhood.
  • You notice characteristics in the notice you received that seem wrong.
  • Your home’s estimated value is more than 10 percent of the price you could sell for today.(40

Also, be aware of the available exemptions you may have the right to that might drastically reduce your taxes, including:

  • Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption
  • Veterans with Disabilities Exemption
  • Homeowner Exemption
  • Homestead Exemption for Persons with Disabilities
  • Longtime Occupant Homestead Exemption (Cook County only)
  • Returning Veterans’ Homestead Exemption
  • Senior Freeze Exemption
  • Home Improvement Exemption(5)

Hiring a lawyer or doing it yourself

Filing an assessment appeal doesn’t require a lawyer to guide you. It is relatively straightforward, and an attorney doesn’t improve your chances of success. Residential appeals filed with or without an attorney had similar initial success rates in 2016. While appealing your assessment may not be technically challenging and won’t cost you anything, it requires some familiarity and comfort with the system. It is also easier if you have a computer and know how to use it.(6)

If you fail to do something regarding your property tax assessment, you will be billed more than your fair share in property taxes. If you think your home is over assessed, there is still time to prevent this because you have until July 24, 2023, to contest your property tax assessment.

How to file a tax appeal

Each county has its specific process for disputing the assessed value of your property, and Cook County is no exception. To challenge the assessed value, you must provide evidence supporting your overassessment claim. Cook County offers a convenient property lookup tool that helps you find comparable properties for reference. This tool lets you apply filters to narrow your search based on specific criteria. In Cook County, all appeals must be submitted online. You can access the online appeal form through the official website of the Cook County Assessor.

Once you have submitted your appeal, you must await for a determination. County analysts will review your application, and they will send you a letter telling you about their decision.(7)

You may appeal the following year if you miss your appeal period during your reassessment year. There is no need to appeal your reassessment each year unless there are significant changes to the features of your property because of demolition, new construction, etc.(8) It is crucial to consider appealing your Cook County property tax assessment as a good choice for potential savings. It’s an opportunity worth exploring, even if the process initially seems daunting.

Bloom Township completed my appeal in less than ten minutes for free. Their phone number is 708-754-9400.

Elvis Slaughter

  1. Caporal, J. (2023, May 11). “Average house price by state in 2023.” Retrieved July 14, 2023, from The Ascent:
  2. Picchi, A. (2022, May 24). “Property taxes too high? Here’s how to appeal them and lower your tax bill.” CBS News. Retrieved July 14, 2023, from
  3. Zorn, E. (2019, May 10). “Why it’s foolish not to appeal your property tax assessment.” Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 14, 2023, from
  4. Cook County Assessor. (n.d.). Cook County Assessor’s Office, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from
  5. Cook County Government. (n.d.). Property tax exemptions. Cook County. Retrieved July 14, 2023, from
  6. Zorn, E. (2019, May 10). “Why it’s foolish not to appeal your property tax assessment.” Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 14, 2023, from
  7. Hector, M. (2023, June 13). “How To Appeal Property Taxes In Cook County (And Why You Need To). Retrieved July 14, 2023, from
  8. Cook County Assessor. (n.d.). Cook County Assessor’s Office, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from
Local Voices
Local Voices
Local Voices is The Lansing Journal's version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Submissions may be sent to [email protected] with “Voices” in the subject line.