I want to make sure you are saving every possible dollar on your property taxes.
There is no reason to over pay!
Here are the three most important elements + other resources that can help:
1. APPEAL PROPERTY TAXES: First, you should annually appeal your property taxes. This means you fight the county on how they have valued your home and the tax bill that they charge. If you are in a condo association, the association has to file the appeal together. If you live in a single family home, you do it on your own. You can appeal twice. First with the Cook County Assessor’s Office. Second with the Cook County Board of Review. Most people hire an attorney who only charges you if they save you money on your annual tax bill. They also automatically re-file and manage the whole process. I look at it as found money- let the experts handle it! Otherwise, you can opt to appeal your taxes independently. The schedule for appealing your taxes can be found HERE. Other resources include:
2. CLAIM YOUR HOMEOWNER’S EXEMPTION: Next, you need to make sure you are getting your Homeowner’s Exemption. If you owner-occupy the property – you are eligible for an annual discount in your property taxes! In order to receive your Homestead/Homeowner’s Exemption, you will need to apply for the exemption HERE. The application form is typically available on the assessor’s website by the first week of February each year. The assessor’s office recommends having your application submitted by St Patrick’s Day. Although they do typically offer extensions for applying, the best rule of thumb is to apply by mid-March. You only have to apply once–it automatically renews itself each year that you own the property.
TIP: The law states that you can only receive one Homeowner Exemption on one property. You can however receive the Senior Exemption and Senior Freeze Exemptions if qualifications are met. If you still have questions or concerns, some of the most common questions and answers can be found by visiting this link: https://www.
3. REQUEST RETROACTIVE REFUNDS: Finally, if you missed claiming your Homeowner’s Exemption in the past years of owning and living at the property, you are entitled to a retroactive refund for overpaying those years! More money in your pocket! Here is the link where you can claim an error on your taxes. They will reimburse you for the past savings that you should have had. You’ll need to submit separate error claims for each individual year. You’ll need your Property ID Number to apply (listed on all your tax bills). You must have lived in the property on January 1st onward (i.e. if you closed on your property and moved in January 2, 2016, the first eligible year for claiming your Homeowner’s Exemption would be in 2017 since it is the first year that you will have occupied the property on January 1st)
The Cook County Assessor’s Office is re-assessing every property in 2020, including the City of Chicago, to try and reflect any effects of COVID-19. Assessment notices will be mailed out over the next few months.