“2022 Property Taxes: Impact on Chicagoland Community Associations” – KSN attorney Timothy Jacobs reviews the property tax appeal process for community associations and commercial properties in the Chicagoland area. Tim also discusses what community associations and commercial properties can expect to see during the 2022 property tax appeal season. (11 mins.)
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Since 1983, KSN has been a legal resource for condominium, homeowner, and townhome associations. Additionally, we represent clients in real estate transactions, collections, landlord/tenant issues, and property tax appeals. We have multiple office locations, serving hundreds of clients and thousands of communities throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
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Nikki: You’re listening to the KSN podcast and today we’re talking about property tax appeals for residential and commercial property owners. Welcome to the KSN podcast where you’ll hear from KSN attorneys as they share their experience and insight on legal issues surrounding community associations, collections, property tax appeals, and landlord tenant law. I’m Nikki and today we’re joined by KSN attorney Timothy Jacobs. Tim concentrates his practice on property tax appeals and representing Illinois properties. It’s good to have you on the podcast today, Tim.
Tim: Hi, Nikki. Great to be here.
Nikki: So. Today our topic is property tax appeals and if you are a property owner in the Chicago land area, I’m sure you have felt the dramatic increase of assessments over the last two years, I know I have. And Illinois is actually number two in the nation when it comes to property taxes, second only to New Jersey. So, Tim, let’s talk about how you can help property owners when it comes to property taxes. What can you do for our listeners?
Tim: Well, Nikki KSN represents our association clients in a variety of legal matters, be it collection issues or violation issues, or say building code violations with municipalities. One of the other services we provide is that we represent our association clients in group property tax appeals. I’ve been here at KSN doing this work for about eight years and we primarily work with condo, HOA and townhome associations in getting their property tax assessments reduced so that the owners realize some much-needed property tax savings.
Nikki: I know Tim, we could all use some property tax savings if you’re living in the Chicago land area and with that you represent properties in the Chicago land area, including Cook County, right?
Tim: That’s correct. Nikki. We work primarily in Cook County, although we do do [Inaudible:01:59] some McKenry and Kane as well. But most of our appeals are focused in Cook County. Cook county is unique. It has about 38 townships within the county that are placed in three different sections of the county. The city of Chicago is one section. The Northern suburbs are another and that’s everything outside the city of Chicago, north avenue. And there’s also a Southern section, which is everything outside the city, south of north avenue. The city of Chicago is wrapping up their 2021 assessment appeals. These appeals can kind of bleed into subsequent years. Just so you know, the city was reassessed in 2021. So, we’re fighting those reassessments, but I’ll explain what a reassessment is in a minute but our clients in the Northern suburbs are getting reassessed this year in 2022. That includes properties in Barrington, Elk Grove, Evanston Niles, Palatine, Schaumburg Wheeling and Sycamore Township. Just to name a few.
Nikki: So, Tim, like you said, just to name a few, we have Barrington, Hoffman Estate, Streamwood, Waneka, Deerfield, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, you name it. So, now that we know what areas are going to be reassessed this year in 2022, how does this impact community associations?
Tim: Well, let me back up a little bit and explain what a reassessment is, just so our listeners understand that term. Property taxes are unique. They’re not calculated based on someone’s ability to pay or someone’s income. They’re actually calculated based on the value of the property itself. It’s called ad valorem tax and they’re primarily calculated based on the assessor’s value of the property. They’re primarily calculated based on the assessor valuation opinion of the property. So, when they get reassessed, they typically go up. This is a process done every three years. So, I mentioned the city of Chicago is wrapping up their reassessment year. They had many increases in certain parts of the city because the last time it was done there was in 2018 and the market was much stronger in 2021 and that did not go unnoticed by the accessor. So, coming up in 2022 properties in the towns that you mentioned a minute ago are getting their reassessment, they’re getting revalued for tax purposes. And the last time it was done for that area was in 2019. So, the market is much stronger in 2022. I have a strong feeling the assessor is going to pick up on that and assess accordingly. So, in terms of the impact on our association clients it can have a very serious impact. Our association clients work tirelessly to maintain the value of the structures and their developments, be it with roofing work, window work, landscaping, sidewalks, driveways, you name it. They spend endless hours and dollars on maintaining those physical structures to preserve the value of the properties.
Well, taxes are a silent killer of value and one-way associations can maintain the unit values in a non-physical sense is by appealing their owner’s property tax assessments so that the tax stays in check and equity is not eaten away by excessive taxation. Individual owners can certainly appeal on their own, but group appeals tend to be more effective and associations can do this as a group. The condo act gives the conduit boards authority to do it. The common interest community act gives the HOA and townhome boards the authority to file as a group, which many associations do not know and this is something that can benefit all unit owners. It can keep the taxes down. It ensures that the taxes are fair and uniform within an association and if an association needs to raise assessments or do specials due to some unplanned expenses, if those taxes are within reason, kept low, that’s going to give them some more room to do such a thing. Otherwise, it’s going to be very difficult for their owners to pay higher assessments or even their current assessments if this reassessment kicks in and no appeal is filed when it could have been there are multiple levels to the appeal process. It initially starts at the assessor’s office.
The owners in the Northern suburbs will get a notice from the assessor at some point this year indicating what the assessor thinks their property’s worth for 2022 and at that point we can file an appeal to the assessor’s office if that new value is excessive. The assessor typically takes a few months to issue a decision. If the result from that office is not satisfactory, we can actually file a subsequent appeal to the Cook County board review, which is another agency that hears tax appeals and the board would issue a decision usually around three to four months after it’s filed to that office. If that decision is not satisfactory, there’s actually a third appeal of that could be gone to called the property tax appeal board which is housed in Springfield or you can actually file a lawsuit in the circuit court. Those appeals are a bit rare for associations, but they do occur. So, there’s multiple levels and there’s multiple ways to ensure that these assessments get to a level that’s fair and based on what the unit is actually worth and not necessarily what the assessor thinks it’s worth.
Nikki: You know, Tim, everything that you kind of explained right then and there, it seems like a lot of work that you do. So, on my behalf, on my Association’s behalf, I would love for them to appeal to our entire association as a group. You and your team have saved our clients over a hundred million dollars since 2015 by successfully reducing their property tax assessments. What kind of examples have you had come in? I mean, what kind of reductions have you seen from our clients that you can maybe let our listeners know on today and how can property managers and board members help their community associations with their property tax appeals?
Tim: Well, I mentioned earlier, Nikki, that we’re in the midst of the city assessment appeal process right now, it is wrapping up soon, but we’ve had some recent results that had a dramatic impact on our associations. We had a recent association that got a 90% increase in their assessments last year by the Cook County assessor 90, 90 and we recently successfully appealed that and got a reduction to about a 24% increase. We still have one more appeal to go, as I mentioned, there’s multiple levels. That was just the first level called the assessor’s office. We’re going to be pursuing a subsequent appeal to the board review, but imagine if that association didn’t hire us or they didn’t appeal this, those owners’ taxes would’ve literally doubled in today’s financial world with inflation and all these things getting out control in terms of cost, a doubling of the property tax would’ve been very difficult to absorb. We had another association that didn’t get quite as a bad treatment by the assessor, but they get about a 50% increase. We just got their results this week and their increase has been reduced to about 17%. So, those are real numbers and without effectively appealing the assessments on those units [Inaudible:09:29] would’ve had quite a surprise in the mail later this year when their second installment tax bill came out. It’s still going to go up and that’s unfortunate, but it’s in those particular cases, it went by a much more manageable amount for those owners and the boards were wise to pursue the appeal and they save those owners a lot of money
Nikki: That was KSN attorney Timothy Jacobs. Tim concentrates on property tax appeals, and represents Illinois properties in downtown Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. KSN is an experienced legal resource, ready to provide you with quality advice and exceptional service. We look forward to demonstrating how we’ve earned the trust of thousands of clients over the past 35 years. If you’d like to reach Tim or any one of KSN’s experienced attorneys, please call 855-537-0500. You can also visit ksnlaw.com and complete the contact form to send us a message. Thanks for listening.
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Please note the material contained on the KSN Podcast is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by your review or receipt of the information contained on the KSN Podcast. You should not act on the information discussed on the KSN Podcast without first obtaining legal advice from an attorney duly licensed to practice law in your State. While KSN has made every effort to include up-to-date information on The KSN podcast, the law can change quickly. Accordingly, please understand that information discussed on the podcast may not yet reflect the most recent legal developments. Material is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up to date. KSN reserves the right to revise or update the information and statements of law discussed on the podcast at any time, without notice, and disclaims any liability for your use of information or statements of law discussed on the podcast, or the performance of the podcast generally. The KSN Podcast may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions under applicable law/s and/or ethical rules/regulations. © 2022 Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit, A Professional Corporation.