Condominium and homeowners associations often have common questions concerning property tax adjustment. The most common ground for property tax adjustment is the overvaluation of properties in the community. This means that the county or township assessor has overvalued the properties compared to similar properties in that area. To appeal an overvaluation of property, owners need to present data regarding similar properties to show that the property value is too high for that type of property. Other types of property tax appeals can involve the mischaracterization of the type of property, such as terming common elements as commercial property, or the calculation and process through which assessments were determined.

Property taxes may be appealed through the assessor’s office on a rolling township schedule or through the county’s board of property tax appeals. Counties usually process assessment appeals on a rolling basis. This provides owners with a limited window in which to file an appeal to the assessor. Once the appeal deadline has passed, there are different approaches that an owner must follow to seek an appeal. There are also other types of deals that may be done outside of the township’s rolling schedule, which include the filing of certificates of error in some cases as well as presenting appeals to the property tax appeals board which is the second level of review over the assessors’ offices. There are further levels of review available at the circuit court level after exhausting the existing county-level appeals, and the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board for review for properties outside of Cook County.

More often than not, associations will seek adjustment for all the individual units’ property taxes as a whole to ease the process and ensure a uniform result. This involves an association’s attorney preparing the tax appeals documentation to submit to the local government taxing authority that assesses property in a specific area. Based on the outcome of the appeal, owners would then be responsible for the payment of their proportionate share of the property tax adjustment.

In the event that your association wishes to challenge its assessed property taxes, we recommend that you contact Tressler as soon as possible so that we can evaluate the potential options available and determine the correct appeals schedule for your property. For the most common appeal, where there is an overvaluation of the property, our attorneys work with property tax consultants who prepare evaluation data and assemble a package for the review process. This consultant data provides the necessary information for either the assessor’s office or appeal board to consider the existing property tax calculation and determine if adjustment is necessary. Once the appeals process has begun, our clients are charged based on a percentage of the first year savings rather than on an hourly basis for property tax appeals work. This means that if we are not successful in the appeals process, the association would not be responsible for any fees associated with the appeal. Property tax appeals, and their potential for success, will depend on the particular facts present for each association. For instance, there may be situations where an appeal is not suggested, such as situations where the properties are already valued lower than comparable properties in the area. Tressler can work with you to determine the best approach.