Property Tax Appeals Process
What types of appeals are there?
There are two types of appeals: 1) Appeals decided prior to the issuance of your tax bill result in a correction that reduces the tax bill you pay below the amount that was originally proposed for you by the Assessor. These appeals result in a tax reduction (a corrected tax bill) not a tax refund. These include appeals to the Assessor or the Board. 2.) Appeals decided by the State, after the issuance of your tax bill, result in a refund. This is because, by the time a decision is issued, you should have already paid the taxes under appeal. The refund is equal to the difference between the bill you paid and the reduced bill indicated by the State Board’s decisions.
How will I know if I have a good case?
Our lawyers and tax professionals are happy to consult with you at no charge to evaluate your case. Depending on the type of property, we may need to employ different or multiple strategies. At no cost to you, we will provide you with a prognosis and a cost-benefit analysis for any upfront costs (from appraisers) that we might recommend during the process.
Can you tell me what I can expect to get back from my appeal?
Before we present an argument to the Assessor, the Board, or the State, we are available to discuss the prognosis for relief with our clients. Before any upfront cost is considered, we always present a cost-benefit analysis. Although we can never promise a result, it is rare for our clients to be surprised by the outcome of their appeal.
If I sell my property, do I still get a PTAB tax refund?
Yes. Refunds are issued to the party that paid the taxes for the year in question. Even if the taxpayer sells or transfers ownership of his property after appealing it, the Treasurer will still issue its refund to him if he paid the taxes for the year being appealed.
What documents will I need to provide?
The basic documentation required of every client is extremely simple and can be completed and emailed back to us usually in fewer than five minutes. For each venue for which we appeal on your behalf, we require a fee agreement and an authorization form. Additionally, we may require further documentation depending on the type of evidence that’s required to develop your case.
Owner Occupied Commercial and Industrial Property: This category typically requires an appraisal with the client paying for this upfront cost. However, before we recommend an appraisal, we provide several competing estimates at no charge. We present these estimates to you with a cost-benefit analysis. It is always your decision whether to move forward. We never present any unanticipated fees or costs.
Leased Commercial and Industrial Property and Multi-Unit Apartments: In this category, the typical required documentation includes three years of income and expenses, a rent roll, and executed leases, when available. If vacancy is an issue, we may need photographs of the vacant space, along with documentation of attempts to lease. Depending on the size of the property and the quality of the income stream it generates, we may require an appraisal to support the income analysis developed from your documentation.
For Condominiums and Residential Homes: For many of our clients, the engagement letter and authorization forms are all that we need to file an appeal on your behalf. However, for larger homes and condominiums, or residential properties with unique issues, we often recommend an appraisal. As with any property we represent, we will present you with competing estimates from appraisers, together with a cost-benefit analysis, at no charge. It is always your decision to move forward with this expense. Typically, we won’t recommend an appraisal unless we project savings, after appraisal costs and fees, even if we only get half the relief we’re requesting.
What happens if I don’t like the results of the appeal?
Appeals are usually conducted in multiple stages in several venues. Just as in the conventional court system there are several levels of appeal (circuit court, appellate court, and supreme court) in the practice of real estate tax assessment, we typically conduct our appeals in several stages. First, we appeal directly to the Assessor who proposed the assessment. If, after a decision has been issued by the Assessor, we feel more relief is indicated, we will pursue the appeal before the review Board. Finally, if the Board’s decision still leaves room for further relief, we will appeal our clients’ assessments before the State.