Radio Topic 8/20: Lake County Tax Appeals due Sept

Real Estate

If you live in Lake County your Blue Letter just arrived last week and assessments of your property value for 2016 are in. Some people feel the township and the county is assessing their homes higher than it should be. So if you live in Lake County, now is the time to file for tax appeal.The misconception is people think they're appealing their taxes, but what your appealing is your assessed value.

Appeals are due September 11

In Lake County less than 9% of homeowners appeal!

Your assessed value is computed through a process. The assessor takes the last 3 years (from the past January) so that's 2014, 2015, 2016 and they take an average of the median prices in township sales transactions to determine your assessed value. 

This is called the equalization process and it's meant to makes an equal playing field for all homeowners. So a house valued at $300,000 is paying the same percentage of taxes in a township as a house valued at $500,000. Homes are assessed at 33.33% of their market value.

You can hire a tax appeal attorney to help you do it or some people do it themselves. 

You don’t have to have an appraisal. Only about 1% of homes appealing need an appraisal. (That's when you call Randy!)For example, a house that would need an appraisal would be a house there are absolutely no local comps on like a 7000 sq' ranch in the middle of Zion....finding a comp to that house is impossible so the only way to evaluate its value would be an appraisal.

If you're appealing your taxes yourself, you have to build a case to substantiate your appeal. You'll need a minimum of 3 homes that were assessed for less than yours but had the same features or even better features.

You have a few options to prove your appeal to the review board. 1) You can do it in person...that's in Waukegan 2) you can have a phone review or 3) you can submit it and leave it up to the board.

Also appealing your assessed value is not a guarantee that your taxes will go down. 

If the tax rate goes up, and you're successful in the appeal your taxes may still go up.

So if you live In Highland Park / Moraine Township the average assessment probably went up 5%.? If yours went up 4% your tax bill should go down.

Unfortunately, the rules are kind of stacked against the homeowner - especially if you purchased prior to the 2007 bust, and for towns that have 11 taxing bodies that might to raise the assessments even though home prices continue to drop.

65-70% of the tax bill goes towards schools, and the College of Lake County.  The rest is libraries, the Police and fire districts, park districts and so on. BTW Illinois doesn't fund public education. And ILLINOIS pays the 2nd highest property taxes in the nation, next to New Jersey.

Lake County has 48 different HS districts and 48 different superintendents w/ salaries and Pensions ALL in the 6 digits.

Here’s an interesting comparison...There's a school district in Montgomery County, Maryland just outside of DC w/ the same number of students and just 1 superintendent.

Lake County Homeowners could save upwards of $150M a year if the system was restructured or consolidated. But let's be real, that will never happen.

So, if you want to call me I can help you through the process of finding comps. 

Or I can recommend a few excellent attorneys that specialize in Tax Appeal.

They have about a 60% success rate. They take a flat fee of like $60 to file and then 37% (up to -50%) if they're successful But you only have until Sept 11 to file so you need do it soon.