Cook County property tax assessments leaving owners with sticker shock — how you can appeal

Property tax reassessment notices have started going out to Cook County residents and business owners in the south and west suburbs, and for many, that could mean sticker shock.

"Our tax liability was about to jump from the normal $26,000 to $85,000," said Juan Manuel Giron, owner of Giron Spanish Book Distributors.  "For one moment, I could almost see my hard-earned dollars going down the drain."

He received that reassessment notice a year and a half ago. 

To save his business, Giron had no choice but to start the arduous appeals process, including hiring an attorney, paying for an accurate appraisal of his property and complying with all the deadlines. 

He described the process as "a year and a half of patience and nail-biting and pleading and believing."

For Giron, the effort paid off. 


All said and done, he was able to actually lower his tax liability from where it had been. 

If you're in the south or western suburbs and received your reassessment notice this week, you're advised to do the same thing he did if you're feeling the sticker shock.

"I anticipate a lot of appeals at the Board of Review, and I'm concerned about the property owners not being able to afford their payments," said Samantha Steele, Commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review, which helps property owners get fair assessments.

Steele strongly encourages property owners to go over their assessment notices with a fine-tooth comb to make sure they're accurate, make sure they get all the exemptions they qualify for, and — if necessary — appeal before it's too late. 

"[Many property owners] don't really pay attention to their assessment notice; it's the tax bill that hurts them. Then at that point, it's too late," she said.

If you're in a tough spot, meeting the required deadlines is absolutely crucial. 

You have 30 days to appeal your assessment from the time you get your notice, so for many people, the clock is now ticking. 

You can appeal to the County Assessor; the other opportunity is at the Board of Review, and if you're not satisfied with the result, you can then take it to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board.