Special Update Re: Property Tax Appeals

March 29, 2022

Our real estate tax team at Rock Fusco & Connelly, LLC continues to work hard fighting to keep your property tax bills as low as possible. Below are key updates as the 2021 appeal session progresses.

 Cook County: The Assessor has certified 25 of the county’s 38 townships as of this writing, or about 66%. Townships in the City of Chicago were the ones reassessed in 2021 and only two of those have been certified thus far: Rogers Park and West Chicago. Suffice it to say that the Assessor’s Office is severely behind schedule this year.

 The Assessor’s Office has sent out Real Property Income and Expense (RPIE) forms to property owners for 2022. This is a voluntary request from the Assessor to disclose your income statements to his office. We recommend not volunteering your property’s financial information and operational data. Choosing not to submit data in the Assessor’s RPIE tool will neither impact your ability to appeal nor the appeal of your property’s tax assessment.

Any data you provide via the Assessor’s RPIE tool will be without context and could result in a higher tax assessment of your property. Providing RPIE-related information as part of a customized tax appeal by our firm will provide the proper context of your data, assist the County’s understanding of the specific challenges facing your property, and be instrumental in a fair tax assessment of your property.

Speaking of which, the Assessor’s Office released a “Data on Chicago Commercial Properties” report last week (link: https://bit.ly/3wHZZrs) touting the fact that this Assessor has radically increased assessments on commercial and industrial business owners under his tenure. For example, in West Chicago, commercial and industrial property assessments have spiked a whopping +115% over 2018 (the last time the City of Chicago was reassessed). The next highest are South Chicago and Jefferson townships at +83% and +81% spikes in commercial and industrial assessments, respectively, followed by +64% in Lake, +62% in Rogers Park, +60% in North Chicago, +50% in Lake View, and +33% in Hyde Park.

Keep in mind that this was during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw nearly 40% of small businesses nationwide and fully 35% of Chicago small businesses permanently close after two years of disruptions, according to Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights, and as all businesses still struggle to recover with ongoing supply chain delays, 40-year-high inflation costs, and a record 11.3 million jobs unfilled.

 The Board of Review is currently open for appeals. Group 1 consisted of Norwood Park, Oak Park, River Forest, and Riverside townships. Group 2 consisted of Barrington, Calumet, and Cicero townships. Group 3 consisted of Berwyn, Hanover, New Trier, and Schaumburg townships. Group 4 consisted of Elk Grove, Evanston, Lemont, Orland, Palatine, and Rogers Park townships. Group 5 consisted of Bloom, Bremen, and Thornton townships. Group 6 is currently open and consists of Maine and Palos townships. The deadline to file is April 26.

With the exceptions of Leyden, Northfield, and West Chicago townships (which were certified and published in late March), we do not yet know when any other townships will be certified by the Assessor’s Office and subsequently open at the Board of Review for appeal – particularly in the City of Chicago.

First installment bills for 2021 were due March 1. Please note that the first installment bill is always 55% of the previous year’s total tax bill (2020). Anyone who has suffered from vacancy issues over the past year or suffered income losses related to the pandemic should make sure to document attempts to lease the vacant space, tenant concessions, deferred rents, photographs of the vacancy, and projections for a path to stabilization.

Collar Counties: All collar counties – DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will – have closed for 2021 appeals. Scheduled hearings before the respective Boards of Review are ongoing and the first installment bills will likely come out around May, with a due date of June 1. Please note that the first installment bills in all collar counties are always 50% of the current year’s tax bill (2021).

Rock Fusco & Connelly, LLC is here to serve all your property tax needs from appeals to exemptions to incentives. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or requests.