Assessment Change Notices & What they Mean

Property owners who feel that the assessment placed upon their property is incorrect have a very specific time limit in which to file an appeal of the assessment with the Board of Review.

At or about the same time assessment change notices are sent out a publication is made of all assessment changes due to a reassessment by either the local assessor or the Supervisor of Assessments. This publication appears in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or township. Property owners have thirty (30) days from either the date of publication or the mailing of the assessment change notices, whichever is later, in which to file an assessment appeal with the Board of Review. Assessment appeals are not accepted any later than this thirty (30) day period.

Because the assessment appearing on the assessment change notice and published in a local newspaper is based upon work done by the local assessor, the property owner should begin the appeal process by checking with the local assessor to determine how and why the assessment has been arrived at.

An explanation of assessing practices may explain the assessment and remove any need to file an assessment complaint.

The property owner should check whatever information the assessment is based upon to be absolutely certain that the information is 100% accurate. If errors are found, assessment records should be corrected to reflect the proper information, and the Supervisor of Assessments notified at that time.

If there are no errors in the assessor's records, the assessor cannot change the assessment placed upon the property for the current year. At that time, if the property owner is still dissatisfied with the assessed value placed on the property, the next step is to file an assessment appeal with the Board of Review.

Board of Review assessment appeals are filed in the Supervisor of Assessments office on complaint forms that are only available there. Appeals filed on other forms are not accepted. Assessment appeals are accepted until thirty (30) days after publication or mailing of the assessment change notices, whichever is later.

Assessment appeals are accepted only upon assessment-related items. These include overstatement of market value, understatement of market value, or inequity in the assessment process.

Appeals stating that "my taxes are too high" or "that my assessment increased by 20% and others only increased by 10%" are not valid complaints. If the property owner feels real estate taxes are too high they should address that concern with the taxing bodies who levy upon their property. Complaints based upon varying percentages of increase in the assessment must be able to prove either over-valuation or inequity in the assessment process; percentage increases in assessments will not be considered.

Assessment appeals must be filed by either the property owner or their attorney. Attorneys who file must be licensed to practice law in Illinois. In the case of a corporation or partnership,  an officer of the corporation or partner may file.

In order for a taxpayer to be assured their appeal is handled in the most efficient manner, it is important that all information requested on the assessment appeal form be provided to the Board of  Review. This includes recent sales of the property under appeal, if new construction cost, a  recent appraisal of the property under appeal, sales of properties that are comparable to the property under appeal, operating statements, etc. This type of information is important to the Board of Review's ability to act upon assessment appeals. Incomplete assessment appeal forms are returned without further action so any omitted information can be supplied by the property owner.

Once the Board of Review has received a complaint, a hearing may be scheduled. This hearing is an informal hearing before the Board of Review with both the property owner and assessor present.

Prior to the scheduled hearing, the Board of Review will inspect the property under appeal as well as the comparables listed by the property owner. The purpose is to give the Board of Review members a chance to see the properties and get some idea of how the comparable properties really compare to the property under appeal. For this reason, it is important that the property owner do a good job in presenting the evidence required on the assessment appeal form. At the hearing, the property owner will be expected to present evidence showing why he feels the property is incorrectly assessed. The assessing official who made the assessment will also be present to present facts about their assessment. Only relevant information concerning either the property's market value or assessment equity will be considered. The Board of Review will then render a decision based on the evidence presented.