Report: Commercial properties in Cook County 'significantly underassessed'

Commercial properties in Cook County were significantly underassessed in 2018, creating the potential for unfair tax disparities, according to a report released Monday by Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi.

The report from the International Association of Assessing Officers found that, on average, commercial properties in Chicago were given estimated market values in 2018 that equaled 52% of their sale values.

Underassessed properties can lead to some property owners paying more than their fair share of property taxes, according to the assessor's office.

Assessments also lacked uniformity, with accuracy varying significantly, and often were regressive, meaning properties with high market values were more likely to be underassessed, while properties with low market values were more likely to be overassessed, Kaegi's office reported.

Similar problems were discovered in commercial assessments in the suburbs, according to the report. Two-thirds of the county's townships and more than half the towns and municipalities examined as part of the study appear to be underassessed, the report determined.

The municipalities with the highest commercial assessment regressivity were Bedford Park, Evanston, Homewood, Winnetka and Oak Park.

The study compared actual property sales in the county during 2018 with the estimated 2018 commercial market values determined by the previous assessor and certified by the Cook County Board of Review.

"My team and I have already taken significant steps toward more accurate assessments, though we know there is still work to be done," Kaegi said in an announcement of the study. "Gaps in data can structurally embed disparities and inaccuracy in the assessment system leading to underassessment of some at the expense of all others. Closing these data gaps is the key to addressing tax disparities."

To read the full report, visit

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.