Tag Archives: board of review

Cook County’s early 2nd installment property tax bills: What does it mean for you?

Even shorter version: taxes are due early. Great for schools, awful for homeowners.

The 2nd installment of Cook County Property Taxes is due on August 1, 2012 instead of in the late autumn as they have been for years. This is a total WTF moment in the history of Cook County property ownership and deserves a nice thorough review. The short version is that many Chicago and Cook County property owners are going to have to come up with a bunch of cash very quickly. Read on to find out if you're one of the lucky thousands, and to learn why we're in this kind of a pickle.

The Passive-Aggressive County Boards and You.

As I've briefly touched on before, the determination of property taxes in Cook County (and by default in Chicago) requires multiple parts of the county government to be singing from the same hymnal. Unlike most US counties where property taxes are paid in two equal parts, Cook County is a special snowflake. Because of a year of tax forgiveness back in the 1930s which may or may not have actually occurred, Illinoisans pay property taxes a year behind. A few other midwestern states do this but it isn't a national tradition. But for Cook County, this year (2012) homeowners are paying for the taxes that they racked up in 2011. Remember this, it becomes important later on in the story.


Chicago Real Estate Statistics: Probability and Property Taxes

I have personally never appealed my property taxes although after writing this article I intend to give it a try at my next opportunity. You've got really good odds of saving a chunk of change. The average Cook County appeal lowers property taxes by about $395. But there's so few people taking advantage of it! I know - it sounds like an annoying and scary thing to do with lots of red tape. That's why I haven't appealed either.  I will hopefully remember to write up my experiences as I do so. If you've ever done it yourself please let me know in the comments about how it went for you!

In the meantime, it's Friday, which means it's stats day here at StrawStickStone. I'm a big fan of Harper's Index so here's a little Harper's style breakdown for you to ponder.

Property Tax Appeals

  • Chances of a successful individual property tax appeal, 2007-2010: 75%
  • Approximate percentage of Cook County homeowners who appealed: 5%

Illinois Lottery Scratch Tickets

  • Percentage of players who break even on a $2 ticket... 22.6%
  • Percentage of Americans who think scratch tickets are a practical way to get rich.... (more…)