Illinois Real Estate Tax Appeal

Illinois Real Estate Tax Appeal

It is time to file your Illinois Real Estate Tax Appeal. This blog post is courtesy of a question from Jay in Cook County Illinois who just has a surprise awakening. Jay bought a foreclosure and the tax bill doubled from $2,000 to $4,000 in one year. There are many possible reasons but unless Jay shows me the tax bill from both of those years I am unable to perform an in depth analysis.

County Assessments

In Saint Clair county and Madison County Illinois the property taxes and assessments are handled at the county level. The county offices next to the court house is where we file our appeals. Being as Cook County is allegedly part of Illinois it may be done the same way up there. They do seem to have different laws than the rest of us so no guarantees.

Frequency of Appraisals

In Madison and Saint Clair County, Real Estate taxes are re assessed every four years. After the assessment is completed we receive a white post card in the mail letting us know what the new assessed value is.

When to Appeal

As soon as you get the card in the mail, go to the court house and file an appeal for every property you own in that county.​ For the years you do not receive a post card ask about filing an appeal when the first real estate tax payment is due. There is a two payment plan in Saint Clair County but a four payment plan in Madison County.

Foreclosure Purchase

Since you purchased a foreclosure, the property was probably reassessed to match surrounding properties. The other possibility is that the original owner may have had some political connections that kept prices artificially low until your purchase triggered an “oh crud Bob isn’t there anymore panic”. It also may have had some type of discount on the tax bill that went away at the time of purchase.

Illinois Real Estate Tax Appeal Process

The appeal process is simple but you need to pay attention. With an arms length transaction you can use the purchase price as the assessed value for 2 to 4 years based upon which county the property is located in. In many counties a foreclosure is not viewed as an arms length transaction because of the discount at purchase.

What to do if the property is in poor condition. Take photographs of the defects and get estimates of the repair costs.

Always check the county records for your neighbors assessed value. Write down the tax parcel ID for properties of Like Kind and Quality. Only use them as comps if they have lower assessed values. Always take the sales contract in with you.

Second Chance Appeal

After going through the county review process you can also file a Property Tax Appeal at the state level. “The Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB) is a quasi-judicial body made up of five Members and a professional staff which serves the Board. The Board was created in 1967 to provide an unbiased forum for taxpayers and taxing bodies outside of Cook County that are dissatisfied with property assessments.

In 1997, PTAB’s jurisdiction was expanded to include all Counties in Illinois. The Board will only consider appeals after decisions from County Boards of Review. The burden of proof before the Board is “the manifest weight of evidence.” The Board will only determine the correct assessment of property on appeal. The amount of the tax bill or the tax rate used in the computation is determined by local county officials and may not be appealed to the Board. Likewise, the Board has no jurisdiction to exempt property from taxation.”


File your appeals annually. Do this when you buy property. Pay your first real estate tax installment. Wwhen you get the white post card of financial death.

There was only one thing you could have done prior to purchase. Check the assessed values of adjacent properties before making an offer.

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