Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Appealing Your Assessment Detailed Document

APPEALING YOUR PROPERTY ASSESSMENT
IN LAKE COUNTY 2011

Citizens’ Action Project

The Major Steps (In appropriate sequence)

1. Discuss with your Township Assessor

2. Appeal to Lake County Board of Review (steps outlined below)

3. Appeal to state Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB)

4. Appeal in a Court of Law

Appealing to Lake County Board of Review (Do not delay! You have only 30 days to appeal.)

Research:

1. Review the steps described in your assessment notice.

2. Consult the Lake County Chief Assessor’s web site.

3. Look for properties comparable to yours by using the web page.

4. Review the appeal process and rules.

5. Optional but recommended: Obtain property appraisal by an independent, accredited, professional appraiser.

Document:

6. Secure written appraisal from professional appraiser as of January 1 of the year on the assessment notice.

7. Develop supporting data from Assessor’s web page (see Step 4.) on comparable properties in your neighborhood. Fill out “Comparable Assessment Grid” form.

8. Document all conversations.

Communicate:

9. Discuss with neighbors (especially those who’ve appealed); share information.

10. Before appealing, discuss with Township Appraiser. (He/she may agree or help)

Appeal:

11. Submit appeal form and supporting documentation before the deadline.

12. Prioritize and outline the key points to be made in your presentation (you have no longer than 15 minutes to make your case) before your hearing date.

13. Appear at the review site at the appropriate time During the review meeting, stick to the outline and keep your remarks to the assessment only, do not mention the property taxes. Stick to relevant and provable facts.

TIPS FOR THE DO-IT-YOURSELF APPEAL

As soon as you receive your assessment notice, get to work because you only have 30 days to notify the county of your intent to appeal.
See the appeal filing date deadline for your township.

1) Go to these websites to find sales in your neighborhood. Remember, for a 2011 appeal. You want sales of comparable properties that are as close to Jan. 1, 2011 as the data will allow. Make sure they are similar in square footage, type (e.g., ranch, 2-story, split level, etc.), construction, quality, age, etc. Here are some useful websites in order for ease of use:

Daily Herald
Lake County News-Sun
Chicago Tribune

If you find three to five sales that present average lower market value than what your notice says, you probably have a compelling case.

2) Contact your local assessor and tell them you want to discuss your assessment to see if you could work something out before you go through the appeal process. If your assessor is amenable to looking at your comps, then give him/her a few days to assess the data and get back to you. If they do not get back to you within one week, contact them once again and demand a response that same day. If no response, then go ahead with the appeal process.

3) Your notice has explicit instructions on how to go through the appeal process. If you get a certified appraisal, then when you fill out and submit the appeal paperwork, make sure to check the part where it asks if you are going to use an appraisal in your defense.

4) If you hire an appraiser, you must make sure you mention two things: 1) this is for an assessment appeal. 2) Make sure they date the appraisal as of 1/1/2011 (always 1/1 of the assessed year). Appraisals should run you no more than $300.00.

5) This year, the county has put a code on each assessment notice so you can track the progress of your appeal on their website. This it makes it much easier to keep all your ducks in a row.

6) If you get the assessor's defense material ahead of your scheduled appeal, look it over and share the results with your appraiser to get an opinion. You may also want the appraiser to testify at your appeal if you think it is necessary. Some appraisers charge extra for this.

7) Whether in person or over the phone, do not be late to your appeal. Remember, an appeal lasts only 15 minutes. Good luck!

Citizens’ Action Project is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit 501 (c)(4) organization. Additional volunteers and donations are always gratefully appreciated.

Our Mission: to make transparency, accountability and fairness in government the rule rather than the exception.

How to Appeal Your Property Taxes (marketwatch.com)