How are commercial properties assessed?

If you own a commercial property in Cook County, you may be wondering how the property tax assessment process works. The process can be complex and even a bit mystifying to the average citizen. You may review your tax bill and wonder how they came up with that number. Especially if it varies widely from your own understanding of the property.


Challenges with assessments

Properties are assessed at “market value.” That means the value the owner could sell the property for on the market. The most difficult properties to assess are commercial and rental property that produce income. These properties involve complicated expenses and income, all of which affect the true value of the property. Under the current system, that information is submitted to the assessor’s office as part of the appeal’s process. Renovations and improvements can also affect the value, as does market activity in the area.

What can you do if you don’t agree with your tax bill?

If you don’t agree with your property tax assessment, you can appeal. Most people hire an attorney and appraiser to professionally appraise the property. Income-producing properties can also submit their expenses and income information, which can greatly affect the true value of the property. They then use all of that information to appeal their assessment, which the appeal board often reduces to a lower amount.

Details of Illinois House Bill 2217

Cook County Assessor Felix Kaegi has introduced legislation that he argues will make the system more efficient. Under the proposed legislation, owners of large income-producing properties would file annual expense and income statements with the assessor’s office. The office would then use that information when the property is due for assessment. Not everyone is excited by the prospect of this legal change, however. The Illinois Farm Bureau, for example, opposes the measure.

We will have to see if the commercial property tax system changes in the near future, but until then, you do have an appeal process available if you don’t agree with the tax statement appearing in your mailbox.

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