Attorneys At Law

Attorneys practicing in and around the Chicagoland area. Experienced in the practice areas of Real Estate Law, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Litigation, Social Security Disability, Business Law, & Estate Law.

Attorneys At Law - Attorneys practicing in and around the Chicagoland area. Experienced in the practice areas of Real Estate Law, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Litigation, Social Security Disability, Business Law, & Estate Law.

Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court Challenging Cook County Property Tax Assessments

Cook County SealA rare lawsuit by a group of seven Cook County taxpayers has been filed in Federal Court challenging their property tax assessments by the Cook County Assessors Office.

 

Here is the story below that was originally published by jdsupra.com:

Rare Lawsuit filed in Federal Court Challenging Property Tax Assessments

Last week a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by a group of seven Cook County taxpayers challenging the time it has taken to adjudicate their claims in the Cook County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit is brought, in part, under the Tax Injunction Act, a federal statute allowing a taxpayer to challenge a state or local tax in federal court when the remedy in state court does not provide for a ‘plain, speedy and efficient remedy.

The taxpayers have been contesting their real estate assessments in the Cook County Circuit Court for more than ten years.

For over a decade, they have been arguing in state court that their constitutional rights have been violated by an assessment process that departs from the requirements of the Cook County Classification Ordinance and the Illinois Constitution.

Now, they are alleging in federal court that the Cook County Court has bogged down due in part to the County’s destruction of records and that only the federal courts can provide them with an appropriate remedy.

You can review the complaint by clicking here.

It is highly unusual for a state court property tax dispute to migrate to federal court.

Overwhelmingly the federal courts have declined jurisdiction of state and local tax matters. Only when the state court remedy denies the plaintiff a plain, speedy and efficient remedy will the federal courts consider a case.

We expect that the County defendants will move to dismiss this lawsuit, and if they are successful, the case will continue in the Circuit Court.

The named defendants in this suit are Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and outgoing Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios.

The taxpayers are claiming total damages of more than $27.0 million.

The properties involved are in Bridgeview, Calumet City, Niles, Northbrook, Rolling Meadows, and Rosemont.

Original story via jdsupra.com

 


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides real estate law services including loan modificationsbuying and selling legal assistanceshort sales and deeds in lieumortgage foreclosure defense, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPageCookKane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090

 


Cook County Senior Property Tax Exemption and Freeze Application Deadline Extended

Senior Tax Exemption for Chicago Bungalow

Senior Exemption Application Deadline Extended

If you have not applied for your Cook County Senior Property Tax Exemption or Property Tax Freeze Application, there is still time.

The deadline for senior homeowners in Cook County to apply for the senior property tax exemption and senior property tax freeze has been extended to Friday, March 2.

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios has extended the deadline past the original deadline, previously Friday, March 2.

If you know someone who may be eligible, please let them know. Thousands of eligible homeowners have not renewed their exemptions.

Related post: Real Estate Tax Exemptions Cook County Chicago

 

According to Assessor Joseph Berrios:

Property tax bills Kane & DuPage County“I extended the deadline so all seniors have extra time to return their applications to ensure they receive the expanded exemption savings this year.

It is also important to remember that under Illinois law, seniors are required to reapply annually for both the Senior and Senior Freeze Exemptions.”

Related post: Cook County Assessor Faces Controversy Over Widespread Inequities

 

Many qualifying seniors have not renewed

The assessor’s office said over 270,000 applications were mailed in early January to seniors who received the exemption last year.

Approximately 80,000 seniors who received that notice have not yet renewed their exemptions.

 

Senior Property Tax Freeze Exemption Qualifications

Cook County SealTo qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption for Tax Year 2017, taxpayers must have:

  • been born prior to or in the year 1952,
  • a total household income of $65,000 or less for [income] Tax Year 2016,
  • owned the property or had a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017,
  • used the property as a principal place of residence as of January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017, and
  • been responsible for the payment of 2016 and 2017 property taxes.

 

Download forms

Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption  Application (PDF)

Senior Property Freeze Exemption Application (PDF)

 

For more information, visit http://www.cookcountyassessor.com/ or call the Assessor’s office at 312-443-7550.

 


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides real estate law services including loan modificationsbuying and selling legal assistanceshort sales and deeds in lieumortgage foreclosure defense, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPageCookKane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


 

Photo credit: “Chicago bungalow” photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

Cook County Assessor Faces Controversy Over Widespread Inequities

property tax assessments

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios is facing continued pressure over widespread inequities in the Cook County property tax system.

Homeowners in Chicago have complained for years about the complicated and arcane tax assessments for homeowners in Cook County.

The controversy gained a huge amount of publicity from the Chicago Tribune investigative series The Tax Divide published this summer. Their investigation uncovered evidence that the Cook County property tax system helped wealthy homeowners at others’ expense.

The Tribune alleged that the Cook County Assessors Office routinely overvalued homes in poor neighborhoods while undervaluing homes in wealthier ones. This has led to inequities in property tax bills, giving wealthy homeowners lower tax assessments while unfairly placing a great burden on fixed and low-income residents.

Contesting your property tax assessment is not a simple process and can be even more difficult for homeowners with fixed incomes. For many of those most likely to receive overvalued assessment, hiring an attorney to help contest their property value is not an option.

Related: Battling the Cook County Assessor’s Office

Property tax bills Kane & DuPage CountyIt doesn’t help Berrios’ case that tax appeal lawyers are major contributors to his campaign. They have contributed over 2 million dollars to his campaign but he has declared there is no conflict of interest.

These stories have galvanized property owners in Chicago to place pressure on government agencies to investigate. The Cook County inspector general has opened an investigation.  State and local lawmakers have proposed new legislation to limit the assessor’s ability to raise campaign contributions from tax attorneys.  A new bill has been introduced in the General Assembly that would require greater transparency in the assessment process.

Joseph Berrios has recently been called before the Cook County Board for questioning and his office was accused by some of being guilty of institutional racism.

Formal mayor candidate Jesus Chuy Garcia stated: “My concern is whether the poor people in Cook County are getting the shaft.” “That is what I want to avoid, and I want to know when it will cease because it shouldn’t be tolerated.”

Berrios repeated his previous assertions that the assessments are fair and accurate. He did not, however, offer any detailed evidence.

Cook County SealAfter the meeting, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that a group called Civic Consulting Alliance would perform a review of the property tax assessment system.

The controversy has reached a point where it seems there will be either change to the system or political repercussions.

Even though Joseph Berrios faced tough questioning from the Cook County board, he remains highly influential as the Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. Many of the people he faced in the meeting rely on him and the party for political support.

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what happens next.


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides real estate law services including loan modificationsbuying and selling legal assistanceshort sales and deeds in lieumortgage foreclosure defense, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPageCookKane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


Related Stories:

The Tax Divide – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Assessor Faces Questions About Property Tax Inequity – ProPublica

A Troubling Assessment of Joseph Berrios – Better Government Association

Cook County leaders pile on Assessor Joe Berrios – Daily Herald

Outsider to Review Cook County Assessment Process – Chicago Tonight

Joe Berrios Will Continue To Accept Campaign Cash From Tax Lawyers – CBS Chicago

Sen. Biss to introduce overhaul to property tax assessments – Chicago Tribune

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios Grilled on Property Tax System – Chicago Tonight


Taxes header image by DonkeyHotey -  Taxes ahead sign by 401(K) 2012

 

Due Date for 2016 Cook County Property Tax Bills Second Installment is August 1st, 2017

 

Cook County SealCook County 2016 property tax bills for the second installment were sent out to homeowners by June 30, 2017.

The due date for the second installment of your 2016 tax year property taxes is Tuesday, August 1st, 2017.

Cook County homeowners can pay their property tax bill online, allowing you to conveniently pay your tax bill from your mobile phone, tablet or computer without visiting the treasurer’s office.

Pay Your Taxes Online – Cook County Treasurer

If you wish to pay in person, you can pay by visiting any Chase Bank location or at these 139 local community banks.

To make an online payment on your Cook County tax bill, please visit the Cook County Treasurer’s Office Payments page.


Below is a list of other Cook County property tax related pages online available to the public.

You can find information regarding your payment status, money owed by your taxing district, pension and healthcare amounts owed, information on previous years taxes and more.

Cook County Taxes – Related Links:

Cook County Treasurer’s Office

Cook County, Illinois Property Tax Portal

Check Your Payment Status or Make an Online Payment

Understanding Your Tax Bill

Information about Prior Year Property Taxes

View Your Taxing Districts’ Financial Statements and Disclosures


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides real estate law services including loan modificationsbuying and selling legal assistanceshort sales and deeds in lieumortgage foreclosure defense, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPageCookKane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


 

Battling the Cook County Assessor’s Office

Property Tax Assessment - Calculator

In this post, we discuss the story of a Cook County homeowner and their ongoing battle with the county assessor over their real estate taxes.

As a basis for this discussion, we will review an article which originally appeared in the opinion section of the Chicago Tribune titled “My real estate tax battle with the Cook County assessor’s office“. It’s a really good letter that inspired this post and we would recommend reading it.

In his letter to the opinion section of the newspaper, a Chicago Heights homeowner talks about his ongoing dispute with the Cook County Assessor’s Office over the value of his home.

The homeowner was inspired to write a letter about his “horror story” after reading the investigative story in the Tribune “An Unfair Burden” in which they state that Cook County failed to value homes accurately for years, resulting in a property tax system that harmed the poor and helped the rich.

Cook County Property Tax Assessments

Cook County SealIt was another investigative story from their ongoing watchdog series “The Tax Divide“. This has been a series of articles examining the controversy around Cook County property tax assessments, the problems with the appeals process and assessment errors which have continued for decades.

Property tax valuations are the crucial factor when it comes to calculating Cook County property tax bills. If done correctly, the tax assessments should be fair, transparent and be able to stand up to public and legal scrutiny.

Unfortunately, the Tribune determined that is not how it works in Cook County. The Assessor’s Office has resisted adopting any reforms and has ignored industry-wide standards, resulting in a steady stream of inaccurate home values for property tax purposes.

Unfair Property Tax Assessments

The author of the letter to the editor, My Real Estate Tax Battle” Harold Plucienik, stated:

“I have been doing battle with the Cook County assessor’s office for many years with very little success. I have a rental property in Chicago Heights. It’s a one-and-a-half story frame home built by my grandfather in 1928 and is located in a poorer section of the city among similar homes. During the last assessment, which I believe was 2014, my property fair-market value went up $20,000, while most of my neighbors’ fair-market value went down by $2,000 to $10,000”

On your tax bill, your assessment is based upon the value of several properties which are supposed to be similar to yours.

As Mr. Plucienik went on to say:

mortgage rates going up after presidential election“But when I looked up the properties that it compared to my own, I found one to be a two-story brick home across town. Another was a dilapidated home in an industrial area for which no one in his or her right mind would pay $160,000. In fact, that same home was sold a few years ago at auction for $2,000, and it still sits vacant and in disrepair.”

This is a frustrating situation that will sound terribly familiar to a lot of Cook County homeowners.

He ends his complaint by saying:

“I personally prefer those in charge of the assessor’s office get out, because I never cared much for Joseph Berrios and his ilk. But that is my opinion — a Democrat who now votes Republican.”

This is a difficult situation to be in. Fair property tax assessments are not just a technical matter.

The issue directly affects the futures of people whose homes are their biggest financial investments and who have to pay overpriced taxes, causing a constant state of anxiety.


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides real estate law services including loan modificationsbuying and selling legal assistance, short sales and deeds in lieu, mortgage foreclosure defense, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


Image Credit: Pixabay