Assessment Appeals Procedures
Illinois statutes provide an administrative review process for
property owners who believe their property assessment is not
fair. The review procedure begins with the local assessor and if
necessary, further appeals may be filed sequentially with the
Lake County Board of Review, the Illinois Property Tax Appeal
Board, and finally the Circuit Court.
Timing is a critical element of any appeal as there are specific
time periods within which appeals must be filed. Failure to file
a timely appeal will result in the taxpayer having little chance
for relief until the subsequent year.
Any appeal should begin with the local assessor, the elected
official responsible for appraising all real estate in the
township. Assessors use many of the same appraisal techniques as
licensed fee appraisers but with variations to satisfy the
uniformity criteria of the United States Constitution and the
Property owners should begin by reviewing the property record
card on file in the assessor's office. This is the public record
of the characteristics used to determine the assessed value of
the property. Errors in square footage, number of fireplaces or
bathrooms are easily corrected. In many cases, no further appeal
is necessary. (The assessor may require an on site inspection of
the property to verify property characteristics.) This is also
the time to verify
exemptions which may apply to your property.
Record review can take place any time during the year. However,
depending upon the exact timing of the review, a correction may
be retroactive for one year or applicable only for the following
Lake County Board
A formal appeal of the assessed valuation may be filed with the
Lake County Board of Review on or before 30 days after the
publication of the township assessment roll in a local newspaper
of general circulation.
All complaints to the Board of Review must be on the prescribed
forms and conform to the established
the Board. Late
filings are not accepted. Hearings are scheduled at fifteen
minute intervals or can be conducted by phone or simply by
Appeals to the board can be based on a contention of law,
uniformity and/or market value.
Contention of law complaints: These complaints focus on a
violation of a specific requirement of the
Property Tax Code.
The area of the Code should be cited and an explanation of how
the statutes were not followed as they pertain to the assessment
under appeal should also be presented.
Uniformity/equity complaints: These complaints are filed when
comparable properties (land or building portions of the
assessment) are assessed less than that of the property under
appeal. The most important aspect of these appeals lies in the
similarity of the comparables selected for review. Properties
with dissimilar characteristics are not required to be assessed
similarly. Comparable houses are those properties displaying
similar characteristics as those of the property under appeal.
Areas of comparability include:
Style of the house
Amenities (pools, decks, basements, garages, etc)
Land comparables should be similar as to location, size, zoning,
and external influences.
Market value complaints: These complaints are filed when the
equalized assessed value (EAV), when converted to market value (EAV
times 3), exceeds what the property might reasonably sell for if
listed for sale in the open market.
The best evidence of value is a recent sale that conforms to the
criteria of an arm's length transaction and the definition of
market value. Some of these criteria include adequate market
exposure, willing buyer and seller, no pressure to sell and the
parties to the transaction being unrelated.
Appraisals by licensed real estate appraisers are acceptable as
evidence. The appraiser should be present at the hearing to
explain methodology, reasoning and value conclusions. In lieu of
an appraisal, taxpayers can submit data on comparable sales,
doing their own market analysis.
Once all the hearings have been held, the Board of Review
notifies each appellant in writing as to their decision findings
showing the original assessment, the Board' opinion of the
correct value, and a brief reason for their decision.
A property who is dissatisfied with the results of the
assessment challenge has 30 days from the date of the Board's
decision to file an appeal with the Property Tax Appeal Board.
Property Tax Appeal Board
Appeal Board (PTAB) is a misnomer since a
taxpayer is not appealing the property tax but rather the
equalized assessed valuation placed on the property by the Board
of Review. The PTAB is a quasi-judicial state agency comprised
of five members appointed by the Governor with the advice and
consent of the Senate. The PTAB is empowered to hear appeals
from local Boards of Review on the valuation of property for tax
Hearings before the PTAB are considered de novo, meaning, they
are viewed as if the Board of Review had never heard or decided
the case. New evidence may be submitted by any and all parties.
The PTAB is required to base its decision on the weight of the
evidence and upon equity. After all testimony has been examined,
the PTAB will render a decision. These decisions review the
facts as presented by all parties to the appeal, they may cite
relevant court cases that pertain the appeal and they typically
explain the reasoning for the decision.
Decisions of the PTAB can be moved into the courts under the
Administrative Review Law. The court will make a ruling on
whether the PTAB's decision was contrary to the evidence or if
the decision was just.
Finally, an assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher
taxes, but an attempt to prove the value is either incorrect or
unfair relative to similar property. An appeal will be
unsuccessful if the basis is high taxes. This issue must be
taken up with officials from the