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Thinking of Appealing Your Property Tax Assessment?

Time is of the essence - as Lemont Township residents have until Tuesday, Oct. 16, to file appeals with the Cook County Board of Review.

The Lemont Township Assessor’s office will be available to assist residents in appealing their 2012 property tax assessments until Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Taxpayers who seek assistance for filing an appeal should make an appointment to meet with Lemont Township Assessor Kenneth C. Jacobowski  by calling 630-257-2522 or sending an email to assessor@lemonttownship.org.

According to the Lemont Township website, the township assessor is an elected official who actually does no assessing. All assessments come from the office of Cook County Assessor Joseph Barrios in Chicago.

The Lemont Township Assessor’s office does, however, assist residents with filing appeals, tax bill changes, property location and verification of tax numbers, filing for homeowners exemptions, homestead exemptions, etc. The Cook County Board of Review www.cookcountyboardofreview.com is ultimately responsible for adjudicating assessment appeals for all Cook County property owners.

On its website, the Cook County Board of Review offers suggestions to taxpayers on how to present their cases, based on lack of uniformity; in other words, properties in the neighborhood with similar characteristics, yet a lower tax assessment.

The board of review offers the following suggestions for submitting an appeal:

You can support your complaint by submitting evidence of properties with similar characteristics to yours that have lower assessments. Similar properties must be:  

  • Preferably on your own block; may also be a block or two away, must be within your neighborhood.
  • Similar to yours in size, type of construction, age, construction materials, and general condition. For example, if your property class is a 2-03 (small ranch house or bungalow), your comparables should be 2-03’s.

You should have 3 to 5 similar properties for evidence. Your documentation of lack of uniformity should be presented in the following manner:

  • Bring or mail the addresses, Permanent Index Numbers, the assessed values and photos of these properties, as well as yours, to your hearing at the Board of Review. 
  • You may obtain the Permanent Index Numbers for the addresses of your comparables from the Cook County Assessor's Office (County Building, 118 N. Clark Street, Room 320, Chicago, (312) 603-7550 or if you live in the suburbs, from your local Township Assessor. You may also use the Assessor’s website at www.cookcountyassessor.com.
  • Once you have the Permanent Index Numbers of the properties similar to your own, you can look up their assessed values. You may do this by using the Assessor's web site www.cookcountyassessor.com.
  • Photos of the front of your property are required. Photos of comparable properties are very helpful to your case. Since it would be impossible for the board’s decision-makers to visit each appealed property, these pictures can help prove your case.
  • Information from the Assessor’s website may be printed out and attached to your evidence or you may staple or glue the picture(s) to the “Appeal Based on Lack of Uniformity” form or to a standard 8-1/2” x 11” sheet of paper. Beneath the picture(s) you should write the address, Permanent Index Numbers and assessed value of property shown. Show the land and improvement breakdown as well as the total. Remember to include all of the above for your property as well.

If lack of uniformity does exist between your property and similar properties, you will have a much better chance at a reduction from the Board of Review if you present your case in a well-documented and orderly manner. If you need help finding comparables, the board of review's staff can assist you.

Remember, however, that the board is required by law to take into account what properties in your neighborhood (including your own property) have been selling for in making a final decision on what your assessment should be.

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