Property taxes are an inevitable cost for most property owners, but the way the state or county determines what owners pay is a fuzzy process of estimation. Assessors do not have the time to investigate every nail and crossbeam on every lot.
But their job is important since, according to Urban.org, Illinois earns between 20% and 30% of its general revenue from property taxes. That does not mean, though, that property owners must accept the assessment.
Reasons from the actual assessment
Sometimes the assessment is wrong. This is not necessarily due to any malignant behavior. The assessor does their job as efficiently and expediently as possible, and details may fall through the cracks. If an assessment lists a home as having four bedrooms when it only has three, that is a clear reason to appeal the assessment.
There may be exemptions available to a property owner, such as homestead exemptions for those property owners who live in their residences as opposed to renting them out.
Reasons from systemic trends
Property tax law is a complicated affair that is difficult to dissect. Despite this, there are experts that look at the data and come to certain conclusions regarding lower-income neighborhoods.
According to UChicago news, a professor found that low-income homeowners pay more on average than high-income homeowners. The disparity sometimes found that property valued in the bottom 10% paid more than double the tax rate compared to the top 10% in particular jurisdictions. It also highlighted how predominantly black neighborhoods sometimes received assessments 1.5 times higher than average for their county.
Appealing property tax assessments might sound like a lengthy process, but homeowners may want to evaluate their individual assessments as well as their communities to make sure they only pay what is fair.