The Lake County Board of Review has the authority to raise, lower or sustain property assessments as appears just. The typical appellant before the Board is a property owner who is dissatisfied with the assessment on a Lake County property.
Prior to filing a formal appeal to the Board, the Board strongly encourages property owners to visit their local township assessor’s office to discuss their concerns. In two types of appeals, those based on a “Factual Error” (such as incorrect square footage of a lot or improvement) and “Vacancy” of an income-producing commercial property, the Board actually requires that the local township assessor’s office be contacted first. Often the reason for an assessment can be made clear or an issue resolved at the local assessor’s office without going before the Board.
For those cases which cannot be settled at the local township assessor’s office, the Board accepts appeals which meet criteria delineated here and discussed in Section III of the Board’s Rules:
The appellant must have standing with the Board, must use and complete the prescribed forms of the Board, attach required evidence and submit one copy in a timely fashion—i.e., on or before thirty (30) days after the date of publication of current assessments for a particular township.
It is important to follow the Board’s rules regarding the filing of an appeal. If the criteria are not met, the Board will not schedule a hearing for the case, the Board will not render a decision and the appellant will have forfeited the right to further appeal the current assessment of a subject property.
For 2013, the Board of Review has a comprehensive e-filing application available for the filing of assessment appeals. Comparable sales and assessments can be researched through this application. The Lake County Comparable Property Grid is available in the application and can be uploaded to the Board of Review. The application can accept the upload of documents from recent sales transactions and ad valorem appraisal documents as well.
Appellants choose the basis of their appeals and the form of hearing they prefer.
The typical bases or reasons for appeals are:
1. The assessment of a subject property is based on a factual error (e.g., incorrect square footage).
2. The assessment is greater than 1/3rd of the subject property’s recent sale price.
3. The assessment is greater than 1/3rd of the subject property’s market value.
4. The assessment of the subject property is higher than that of comparable properties.
5. Matters of law.
The type of evidence required by the Board for each basis or reason for an appeal is specified on the Appeal (application) Form and discussed in Section IV of the Board’s Rules.
Appellants also may choose the form of hearing for their case. A hearing can be by letter, phone or in person, respectively options “1,” “2” and “3” on the Appeal (application) Form. If by letter, the Board decides the case on the basis of the written evidence submitted by the appellant and local township assessor’s office. The appeal by letter is the easiest form of appeal, because the appellant (and any representative and/or witness) does not need to remember to call nor travel to the Board on a designated date and time.
While any appeal may be heard by letter, two kinds of residential appeals accompanied by required written evidence are particularly well-suited for review by letter. One kind is an appeal based on a Subject Property’s Recent Sale Price and accompanied by a signed Settlement Statement or signed HUD-1, MLS listing history and the recorded Illinois Real Estate Transfer Declaration (PTAX-203). These documents typically are among the closing documents for the sale of a subject property or are available from the real estate broker involved in the transaction. (See the Board’s Rules, Section IV B, for further information.) The second kind of appeal that is well-suited for review by letter, is based on Fair Cash Value and accompanied by an ad valorem appraisal of a subject property, valuing the subject property as of the lien date (January 1st) of the current assessment year. (See the Board’s Rules, Section IVC, for further details.) Aside from the above mentioned instances, any well prepared case based upon comparable properties can also handled by the Board of Review without a hearing.
If the hearing is by phone or in person, the hearing begins with the swearing-in of parties to the case. Appellants and/or their attorney give evidence and testimony. The Township Assessor’s Office presents evidence and testimony. The Board and parties may ask questions. Parties to the case may provide rebuttal testimony. Board members deliberate between or among themselves and render their decision. Hearings are scheduled every fifteen (15) minutes.
The Appeal (application) Form, the Board’s 2013 Rules and this website are designed to be instructive. Just click on Appeal Forms and then the Rules of the Board of Review on this website to learn more. However, for those property owners who have additional questions or concerns, the Chief County Assessment Office conducts Tax Assessment Help Centers throughout the County during the appeal application time periods. In addition, the Chief County Assessment office has taxpayer advocates available each business day that can assist taxpayers with their assessment and appeal process questions.