Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin is offering taxpayers help from his staff in filing appeals of property tax assessments.

Homeowners who missed the deadline for filing appeals this year for 2007 assessments will have an opportunity to appeal their 2008 assessment next year.

Suffredin says taxpayers have three arguments upon which to base an appeal:

  • Uniformity: The assessed value of your property is not in line with other similar properties in your neighborhood.
  • Over-Valuation: The proposed assessed valuation of your property is higher than its actual value.
  • Property Description Error: There is an error in the description of your property that adversely effects the proposed assessed valuation of your property.

Uniformity is the most common basis for an appeal.

The Board of Review has not yet announced when the filing period for 2008 will open, but filing dates will be posted on the board’s website and on Suffredin’s website.

Suffredin says that for now, taxpayers should check their tax bills to make sure they are receiving all the exemptions allowed.

  • If you live in the house for which you are paying taxes, you should receive a Homeowner Exemption.
  • If you were 65 years old or older in 2007, you should receive the Senior Citizen Exemption.
  • If your household income was less than $50,000 and you or your spouse was 65 years old or older in 2007, you should have applied for the Senior Freeze Exemption.

Four new exemptions also are available for those who qualify. They are:

The Disabled Persons Exemption. A $2,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value of your property is available if you were disabled during the assessment year (2007), are the owner of the property and occupied it as your principal residence as of 1/1/2007, and were liable for the payment for the taxes.

The Disabled Veteran’s Standard Homeowner Exemption. A disabled veteran or the veteran’s surviving spouse can receive an annual reduction in the equalized assessed value on their primary residence of up to $5,000, depending on the extent of the disability and the value of the home.

The Long Time Occupant Exemption. This is available to owners who have occupied their residence since Jan. 1, 1997, have a total household income of $100,000 or less, and whose assessment increase exceeded the maximum exemption amounts set by the state legislature. The maximum exemption amount is $33,000. Eligibility notices for the Long Term Occupant Exemption have been sent to all Cook County property owners who meet the criteria. Contact the Assessor’s Office if you think you qualify for this exemption and did not receive an eligibility notice.

The Returning Veteran’s Homeowner Exemption. A one-time $5,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value of the veteran’s principal residence available for the taxable year that the veteran returns from active duty in an armed conflict involving the United States. The veteran must own and occupy the property on Jan. 1 of the assessment year and it must have been the veteran’s principal residence prior to departing for active duty.

More information on the above exemptions is available on the Assessor’s website.

To request assistance from Commissioner Suffredin’s staff, call 847-864-1209.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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