Big Jump in Home Value Assessments Leads to Bigger Taxes for Many

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When homeowners received their residential property reassessments in the mail, many were shocked to see the dramatic change in the assessed value of their home. While upped value in itself is not problematic, the fact that it will have a drastic effect on the homeowners’ future property tax bills was worrying for many who feel they do not have extra cash to pay the bigger tax bills coming their way.

The reassessments came about to address long-standing problems exposed last year by the Tribune’s investigative piece, “The Tax Divide, which revealed that the Cook County assessor’s office tended to overestimate the value of homes in poor or working-class neighborhoods while underestimating the value of homes in wealthier locales.

As per the updated methods of assessing and valuing residential homes, homes in up and coming areas that are gentrifying or in neighborhoods considered upscale saw the median assessed value of residential properties increase by 50 percent or more. At the same time, less affluent neighborhoods saw their home values plummet.

According to the Law Offices of Gary H Smith, P.C. in Chicago, for the 2018 property tax assessment year, homeowners in Humboldt Park, on Chicago’s West Side, have seen the taxable value of their homes go up 40 percent since the last assessment three years ago. Taxable values of homes in the trendiest neighborhoods in Chicago, including Logan Square, West Town, and the West Loop have also increased dramatically.

Some residents in areas where the home values jumped the most were fearful that the higher home assessments will result in unprecedentedly hefty tax bills – taxes for which they say they do not have spare cash lying around to pay off. Home assessments determine how much of the overall real estate tax burden each individual property owner is responsible for paying. When assessments go up, a higher tax bill for the property owner is likely to follow.

The frustration on the part of Chicago residents can be gauged by the mounting number of home assessment appeals being filed in the hope that their assessments will be lowered. For property owners who feel their homes were over-assessed, the assessor’s office is encouraging residents to appeal in an effort to build a foundation of trust with residents. The new assessment will be reflected on the second-installment tax bills to be mailed in the summer of 2019.

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