Tag: Cook County Assessor

Senior Tax Exemption Deadline Extended To March 2

Sunday, February 11, 2018 || By Community Editor ||@maywoodnews 

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios announced on Feb. 7 that his office has extended the deadline for filing renewal applications for the Senior Citizen Exemption and Senior Freeze Exemption for the 2017 tax year. The new deadline has been charged from Feb. 7 to March 2.

Continue reading “Senior Tax Exemption Deadline Extended To March 2”

Berrios, Kaegi Clash Over Tax System During Melrose Park Forum

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, right, and his challenger, Fritz Kaegi. | VFP (Berrios photo: Chicago Tonight/WTTW) 

One day before a hearing officer’s recommendation shook up the Democratic Primary race for Cook County Assessor, three candidates for the office met face-to-face in Melrose Park on Feb. 3 for a candidates’ forum sponsored by the Proviso Township Democratic Organization.

Continue reading “Berrios, Kaegi Clash Over Tax System During Melrose Park Forum”

Cook County’s Property Tax System Burdens the Poor, Blesses the Rich, Shows Tribune Report

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A three-part Chicago Tribune investigation reveals gaping inequities in Cook County’s property tax system. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017 || By Local News Curator || @maywoodnews

A comprehensive three-part investigative report by the Chicago Tribune’s Jason Grotto lays bare not only Cook County’s deeply unfair system of taxing property, but also what appears to have been deep negligence and/or blithe neglect on the part of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

The Tribune’s report “reveals that for years the county’s property tax system created an unequal burden on residents, handing huge financial breaks to homeowners who are well-off while punishing those who have the least, particularly people living in minority communities.”

Those communities include Bellwood, Broadview, Maywood and Melrose Park — all “working-class neighborhoods” where property owners “were more likely to receive property tax bills that assumed their homes were worth more than their true market value, the Tribune found.”

“Meanwhile, many living in the county’s wealthier and mostly white communities — including Winnetka, Glencoe, Lakeview and the Gold Coast — caught a break because property taxes weren’t based on the full value of their homes.”

The Tribune report concluded that the tax assessments “have been so far off the mark for so many years that the credibility of the entire property tax system is in doubt.”

A statement by the assessor’s office countered that it “believes the valuation and uniformity opinions formed by the Chicago Tribune are not sufficiently credible.”

The Tribune reports that, contrary to the assessor’s office boast about its state-of-the-art computer models, the office’s system is actually quite faulty. Sure, the report claims, property owners who have issues with their assessments can appeal, but the tax appeal process is one utilized much more often by the wealthy.

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And, since 2009, “Cook County’s assessments have been so inaccurate they violated standards set by the International Association of Assessing Officers, a professional organization that develops guidelines used around the world.”

Among the people the Tribune talked to is Melrose Park resident Barbara Garner, who lives in a home that’s smaller than 800 square feet. She pays more than $4,000 a year in property taxes, the Tribune reported.

The problem?

“Garner’s tax bill was higher than she expected because the assessor overshot the price she paid for the house by a factor of two, the Tribune found. The county had valued the home at $164,640, just months before she bought it for $75,000.”

The Tribune report shows that the assessor’s office has exhibited a pattern of overvaluing lower priced homes. In 2009, the office “had overvalued lower-priced homes by as much as 150 percent.”

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Part 2 of the Tribune investigation shows that, “On average, even after appeals, people who own homes in the bottom 25 percent of values paid nearly $500 more a year in property taxes than they would have if the system were fair, the research shows.

“The reason: Wealthier neighborhoods appealed at much higher rates and regularly received significant assessment reductions even though homes in those areas were more likely to be undervalued. In poorer neighborhoods, homeowners not only are more likely to have their properties overvalued by the assessor, they are less likely to appeal.”

Part 3 reveals that, “For more than a decade, the Cook County assessor’s office hid a secret inside the massive computer programs used to calculate property tax assessments for single-family homes.”

That secret “created erroneous valuations for homes throughout the county, affecting the tax bills sent to more than 1 million residential property owners every year.

“What the code did was deceptively simple: It decreased every estimated home value in the county by about 40 percent, a troubling practice that ignored legal requirements set out in county ordinances.”

Read the entire 3-part Tribune investigation in full here. VFP

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Press Release: Senator Harmon To Host Property Tax Seminar Tomorrow, Tuesday May 6th (FYI: Cook County Appeal Deadline is May 14th)

Monday, May 5, 2014 

Senator Harmon
May 5, 2014
Dear Friends,


Tomorrow evening, Tuesday, May 6, the Oak Park Township Assessor, Ali El Saffar, and I are sponsoring a property tax workshop for area property owners. The workshop is to help homeowners better understand their property tax bills, learn the implications of recent tax assessments and explain the tax appeal process for filing appeals with the Cook County Assessor. The appeal deadline for the Cook County Assessor is May 14. Property tax policy professionals will be available at the meeting tomorrow to provide help and guidance. If you believe that the assessment of your home is too high, you should consider appealing the assessment with Cook County.


Further, in late July, I will also be co-sponsoring an additional property tax appeal forum with Cook County Board of Review Commissioner, Larry Rogers Jr. This July forum is designed to help with appeals submitted to the Cook County Board of Review, and the deadline for that next step in the appeal process will be some time this coming fall. I will contact you again when the details of this July event and the deadline for the Board of Review appeal process are confirmed.


Tomorrow’s tax workshop will be held at Oak Park Village Hall, Board Room, 123 Madison Street, Oak Park, IL, 60302 from 7 to 9 pm. If you have any questions, please feel free to call my Constituent Service Office at 708-848-2002.


Don Harmon
Senator Don Harmon
39th District – Illinois