Your property tax assessment: Why it pays to hire a law firm
Are you paying too much in property taxes? Perhaps your property has been overvalued, resulting in a larger tax bill than expected. You could start preparing evidence for an appeal. But wait. This is not the do-it-yourself spring project you had in mind.
You should consider the professional services of a law firm that specializes in the property tax appeal process. People have a technician check their furnace every year, an accountant do their income taxes every year, so why not a proficient specialist to help you try to reduce your property taxes?
"This is our full-time business, and we are more knowledgeable than 99.99 percent of the people who file their own property tax appeal," said Ron Kingsley, tax attorney and owner of Lake County Appeal, a leading property tax appeal firm formed to help Chicagoland commercial, industrial and residential property owners appeal the assessed valuation of their properties.
Here is why you should use a law firm to help you try to reduce your property taxes.
Many people don't have the time to prepare an appeal before the deadline, which is less than 30 days after receipt of their tax assessment notice. If you miss the deadline, it is a missed opportunity to appeal for an entire year.
The value of a commercial, industrial or residential property fluctuates over time, and township assessors may incorrectly measure that change, resulting in many property owners paying too much property tax. They may not even realize they are being overtaxed unless they have an assessment review by a professional who is intimately familiar with the marketplace.
The law regarding challenges to property tax assessments is complicated, and the facts of each case are different.
You will have a knowledgeable and experienced partner who is familiar with the process of appealing the assessed value of your property if you are unfairly assessed.
They will provide you with details of the assessment review process, which happens before the appeal process, then complete an accurate assessment review to determine whether an appeal is appropriate.
Lead the way
If an appeal is appropriate, they will appeal your property tax assessment, requiring nothing further of you the vast majority of the time.
Save on frustration
It saves property owners the frustration of handling the appeal, if warranted, which includes gathering evidence and completing legal forms to present to the county Board of Review to prove that the property has a lower value than was assessed.
Having a team of professionals file the appeal increases the possibility of success. A property tax attorney is skilled at presenting an appeal and gets better results than a property owner with no experience in this profession.
With you all the way
The legal team handles all aspects of the appeal, including in-depth research, data and evidence gathering, case preparation and appeal submission, along with tax attorney representation.
Proficient specialists on board
The team is comprised of local and experienced real estate analysts, brokers and legal advisers with access to many resources that are important in a property tax assessment review and appeal, if warranted.
The team has strong relationships with township assessors and years of experience working alongside appellate decision-makers. These relationships are an important component to ensure that the client is fairly assessed.
Tops in data technology
They are a leader in data quality. The technology they use includes a customized proprietary database consisting of historical data collected since 2007. This data contains data points that result in evidence in support of clients' cases.
If a Board of Review does not rule in a client's favor, or if a ruling does not result in enough of an assessment reduction, typically they will file an appeal with the state of Illinois at no extra cost.
The upfront cost is minimal when compared with the amount that could be saved each year, as is the contingent fee in the event of tax savings.
Able to appeal when you can't
In Lake and Cook counties, only individuals who own properties in their name can file an appeal. Only a lawyer can file an appeal if the property is owned by a corporation (including an LLC), a trust or a partnership.
Illinois has the second-highest property tax rate in the nation, according to the Tax Foundation, so questioning your assessment is even more critical. Lake County Appeal has helped residential, commercial and industrial property owners since 2007 and continues to represent clients throughout Chicagoland. Lake County Appeal's goal is for every client to be fairly and equitably assessed.
This article is sponsored by Lake County Appeal.
For more information, contact Ron Kingsley at RonK@LakeCountyAppeal.com.