Do all those property tax numbers make your eyes squint? If you're looking for some clarity, you're in luck. Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak will host a property tax seminar in Northfield Township on Wednesday, Jan. 11. The event is at 7 p.m. at the Bernard Weinger Jewish Community Center, 300 Revere Dr. in Northbrook. Patch talked with Patlak to learn more about the seminars.
Patch: Why is it important for residents to attend the property tax seminars?
Patlak: No one should pay more than their fair share of taxes. Therefore, any property owner who believes they may be overassessed owes it to themselves to attend a Board of Review Assessment Appeal Seminar to find out the range of reasons a home may be entitled to an assessment reduction. Any taxpayer who wonders why property values can go down while property taxes go up will walk away with several reasons for that occurence. Any homeowner who wants to learn more about which exemptions they may be entitled to should plan on attending as well.
Patch: How many people usually attend, and what are their reasons for coming?
Patlak: Seminars can attract as few as a half dozen and as many as 400 taxpayers. Most attendees come because they want to take advantage of their right to appeal their property assessment, and they want information that will help them be successful.
Patch: Some people feel that their property taxes do not reflect their property value. What is the biggest misconception when it comes to understanding your property tax bill?
Patlak: Since property values had risen steadily for many years before the real estate market crash, people were conditioned to believe that if their property value went up then their taxes would go up and if their property value went down then their property taxes would go down. While property value has a lot to do with property taxes, there are other factors that play important roles in determining a final tax bill. The value of any one particular property is just one factor.
Patch: What are some specific issues for residents in Northfield Township?
Patlak: Northfield Township residents face the same issues as residents of other townships, a poor business environment which negatively affects the value of commercial properties, and thus has an inordinate affect on all other property, foreclosures affecting the value of surrounding property, and a constant demand for more property tax dollars from local governments.
Patch: What have been some of the highlights for the Board of Review in the past year?
Patlak: The most significant improvement at the Board of Review has been the installation of online appeals, which make it possible to file an appeal from the comfort of your own home and receive instant confirmation of the filing.
Also, the Board of Review has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Assessor's Office to permanently correct mistakes in property descriptions brought to its attention by appellants. In previous years the board could only reduce the assessment based on a property description error for one year. The result was that the taxpayer ended coming back year after year to protest the same mistake.
In addition, the board has issued the first ever Board of Review Annual Report highlighting all the responsibilities of the Board as well as providing important statistical information about appeal volume, results and budget.
The seminar is sponsored by Northfield Township Assessor Patty Damisch, Candidate for State Senate Dr. Arie Friedman and Candidate for State Representative Jonathan Greenberg.