Property Tax Laws in Chicago

andreas-weiland-252613-copy-300x200An economy that relies on the realty market must take an interest in property taxes. Chicago realty law is often dominated by concerns about taxation. That is what is happening in Chicago today. From a legal point of view, the legislation that has been passed and that which is due to be passed is meant to streamline the process of conveyancing. At the same time, these reforms are also meant to ensure that the taxman gets a cut of the largesse. It is not so much a case of the tax increases but the reforms in the procedures. This procedural fairness also incorporates any possible consultations prior to confirming the tax rates as well as the forms that are required.

For most members of the Chicago public, the issue is fariness. Some argue that the increments are just too high. On average, Chicago increases its property taxes on an annual basis. The year 2016 was an anomaly because the legislative reforms meant that some people experienced property tax rises in the region of 32%, a clearly unfair increase by all standards. Some legal experts argued that even if the legislature was determined to increase that amount of money, they ought to have staggered it in order to minimize the immediate impact on property owners and those that transact realty.

Structuring Tax Increments

Some of these increments are not just about an aggregate change in the tax code but rather an accumulation of various due increments. The 2016 rise in property rates was associated with an increase in both Chicago Public Schools charges and the City Hall charges. The other source of contention is the assessment of the value of the home. This is not a static decision that is based on bricks and mortar cost allocation. Instead, it may consider fluid factors such as the location and the crime rates in the neighborhood. In any case, the more affluent and safe neighborhoods are likely to experience higher taxes.

The tax code can be complex, particularly for lay people that are not conversant with realty law. Of particular controversy is the idea that the local authorities are free to increase the assessed value of a property despite a demonstrable slump in general property prices. This is almost like a tax on those that maintain their neighborhoods well. Legally speaking, the law actually allows this leeway to the authorities when they are raising their revenue. However, it is envisaged that the changes will be proportionate and that people will receive some notice before the actual amendments. Better still, those authorities that allow the right of appeal will allay some of the fears that are expressed by the public.

Payments and Complaints

One of the peculiar things about this law is that it always ends up with increments rather than reductions. A balance between increments and reductions might reassure the public that there is a sliding scale. As it happens, the practice is to simply tax more each year. Moreover, the fact that the tax is a composite payment that emanates from many sources can be challenging.

Some people might argue (with some justification) that because they do not use the national parks, they ought to be recused from having to pay for them. However, the counter to that is the fact that tax law is always premised on the notion that you put in money regardless of the services you are getting so that the nation as a whole can continue to function. Perhaps the only remedy is to get a good property tax attorney that can arrange to keep the taxes as low as possible within the current rules. For expert counsel on your property tax law case, contact David Freidberg, Attorney at Law at 312-560-7100.

(image courtesy of Andreas Weiland)

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