- What are some of the most commonly used acronyms?
AV - Assessed Value BOR - County Board of Review FMV - Fair Market Value MV - Market Value PIN - Property Index Number PTAB - State Property Tax Appeal Board PTS - Property Tax Savings SEF - State Equalization Factor TX/TO - Tax Objection/Court
- How much does it cost to have ProTaxAppeal file an appeal?
We will file your appeal for FREE and only if there is an assessment reduction will there be a fee. Our fee is entirely contingent upon you receiving an assessment reduction. No reduction, NO fee. Also there is No application fee, No appraisal fee, or No retainer fee. Therefore we work hard to get you an assessment reduction and save you money because the more money we save you the more money we make.
Our fee for Assessor/BOR appeals is a percentage of your estimated property tax savings. The fee is the LESSER of: Method (1) 50% of the property tax savings based on the difference between the prior tax year final assessed value or current tax year proposed assessed value, whichever is higher, and the current tax year final assessed value; OR Method (2) 65% of the property tax savings based on the difference between the current tax year proposed assessed value and the current tax year final assessed value. It is important to understand that the fee is calculated both ways to determine which method results in the lowest fee and assures that you will never pay more than 50% of estimated property tax savings and in many cases less. This is a one-time fee per appeal filed.
For PTAB/TX appeals our fee is 50% of the estimated tax refund.
- How do you calculate my estimated property tax savings?
Your property tax savings are estimated and are calculated by taking the assessment reduction times the most current available tax rate and state equalization factor. The assessment reduction is determined by taking the difference from the prior tax year final assessed value or the current tax year proposed assessed value, whichever is higher, minus the current tax year final assessed value after appeal. The tax rate and state equalization factor used is typically from the prior tax year since the current tax year information is not available at the time of agreement.
It is important to note that property tax savings are NOT the difference of the dollar amount due from one tax bill to the next. Your assessed value is only a part of the information needed to calculate your property tax bill. The tax rate, the state equalization factor, and exemptions, all of which may change from year to year, are also used to calculate your property tax bill. However, a successful appeal will lower the assessed value which is used to calculate your property tax bill and generally results in a lower tax bill.
- I am still confused about how much it costs. Can you give an example?
Since the property tax system is so complicated we understand that just trying to figure out how much you are saving is confusing and since our fee is based on your estimated property tax savings just words alone can be difficult to follow.
To better explain our fee it will be useful to show you how it is calculated using some examples. Remember that we calculate our fee using both a 50% and 65% method of estimated property tax savings to determine the lowest fee. You pay the LESSER of these two methods. It may seem complicated but it is actually designed to save our client’s money versus using just one method.
For all these examples a few assumptions must be made. We will assume the following:
Tax rate = 8.000%
State equalization factor = 1.000
Prior tax year final assessed value = $100,000
Current tax year proposed assessed value = See examples
Current tax year final assessed value = $80,000
Example 1: Current tax year proposed assessed value as determined by the Assessor = $90,000
In this example the Assessor is proposing a decrease from prior tax year.
Method 1: Fee = 50% X ($100,000 - $80,000) X 8.000% X 1.000 = $800
Method 2: Fee = 65% X ($90,000 - $80,000) X 8.000% X 1.000 = $520
In this example our fee would be $520 based on method 2 which is the LESSER fee.
Example 2: Current tax year proposed assessed value as determined by the Assessor = $100,000
In this example the Assessor is proposing no change from prior tax year.
Method 1: Fee = 50% X ($100,000 - $80,000) X 8.000% X 1.000 = $800
Method 2: Fee = 65% X ($100,000 - $80,000) X 8.000% X 1.000 = $1,040
In this example our fee would be $800 based on method 1 which is the LESSER fee.
Example 3: Current tax year proposed assessed value as determined by the Assessor = $110,000
In this example the Assessor is proposing an increase from prior tax year.
Method 1: Fee = 50% X ($110,000 - $80,000) X 8.000% X 1.000 = $1,200
Method 2: Fee = 65% X ($110,000 - $80,000) X 8.000% X 1.000 = $1,560
In this example our fee would be $1,200 based on method 1 which is the LESSER fee.
- If you reduce my assessment, will my tax bill be lower?
Typically yes, assuming year to year variables, such as the tax rate and the state equalization factor do not increase to offset the assessment reduction. Or if you do not receive an exemption that you received the year before. If the tax rate, the state equalization factor, and exemptions remain unchanged your tax bill will be lower. In other words if we reduce your assessment your tax bill will be less than it could have been and probably less than the year before but not guaranteed to be.
- If you reduce my taxes, do I get a refund?
Typically no. Since taxes are paid the following year that they are assessed, any reduction in taxes will be reflected on your next tax bill. However if your taxes have already been paid for the tax year being appealed, then you will receive a refund for over payment of taxes from the County Treasure. In general appeals filed with the Assessor/County BOR will be decided before tax bills are issued and any reduction in taxes will be reflected on your next tax bill. Appeals filed with PTAB/TX usually are not decided until after tax bills are issued so you will need to pay the tax bill first and then if any reduction is granted by PTAB/TX you will receive a refund.
- What does your service include?
Our service includes everything required to have the best chance of obtaining an assessment reduction. This includes research, analysis, and all required documentation to support an assessment reduction. We have a proven system to achieve the best possible assessment reduction. This may include filing several levels of appeals to obtain the requested reduction or until all appeal options are exhausted. However we cannot guarantee any assessment reduction.
- How do I know if I got a reduction in my assessment or property taxes?
We provide you with written confirmation from either the Township/County Assessor, County Board of Review, State Property Tax Appeal Board, or Court as proof of assessment reduction.
- Do I need to attend any hearings?
No. ProTaxAppeal will represent you during the appeal process, or if required by law, ProTaxAppeal will engage Counsel on your behalf. This includes attending any hearings on your behalf.
- When do you bill or invoice me?
We invoice you only after we receive written confirmation from either the Township/County Assessor, County Board of Review, State Property Tax Appeal Board, or Court stating a reduction was granted. Invoices are due within 30 days. A late fee will be added if not paid by the due date unless a payment plan has been agreed upon.
- What if my taxes are paid out of escrow?
We recommend you submit a copy of the appeal findings and invoice to your mortgage company as soon as you get them from us and ask for the invoice to be paid out of escrow. Some mortgage companies will pay our invoice from escrow and some will not but it is always worth asking. Please note that regardless of who pays the invoice it is due within 30 days of the invoice date to avoid a late fee.
In addition, you want to request that your mortgage company do an escrow analysis as soon as possible to take advantage of the lower taxes. This analysis is important because it could result in your escrow payment being reduced and maybe even an escrow refund being paid to you for excess escrow funds.
- How long does the appeal process take?
Usually 3 – 6 months from the appeal deadline but it really depends on the volume of appeals filed in any given tax year. The appeal deadline varies each year by County and Township. We will notify you once we receive your appeal findings.
- If I get a reduction do I have to appeal the following year to maintain my reduced assessment?
Maybe, but only about 30% of our appeals in any given tax year need to be appealed the next tax year so you may not need to appeal again. However, we recommend that you review your assessment every tax year and consult with us to make sure that your assessment is fair.
- Can I appeal my property assessment myself?
Yes. As a property owner you may appeal your property assessment yourself. However, it can be very challenging. There are short deadlines and rules that are strictly enforced. Without having experience navigating through the appeal process your appeal may be denied for any number of technicalities, denied for lack of evidence to support your appeal, or if you are lucky you may receive a little reduction when, in fact, you should have received a much bigger reduction. Thousands of clients already trust ProTaxAppeal to handle their property assessment review and appeal because of our experience, knowledge, and determination to get them the best possible assessment reduction. Only you can decide if it is worth your time and effort or if it is best left to the professionals at ProTaxAppeal.
- Why should I hire ProTaxAppeal?
We are professional property tax consultants with years of experience in appealing property assessments with thousands of satisfied clients every year. Our staff and advisers include Attorneys, Brokers, Agents, and Builders. They each have extensive knowledge of the real estate industry and of the appeal process. We have done thousands of appeals and may have even appealed a property within your subdivision. Plus, we are A+ rated with the BBB and we have an overall appeal success rate of better than 90%. The chances are very good that we will get you a reduction if you are over assessed.
We are very aggressive in our appeals and expect to get the best assessment reduction possible by providing appeal evidence and appeal techniques that we have developed over many years which have proven to be successful appeal after appeal. We take pride in treating every client’s appeal like it is our own and we will exhaust all appeal options for you. Every one of our clients has the benefit of knowing we are using state of the art techniques to help reduce their property taxes. We have developed a proprietary, Property Tax Analysis (PTA), software system that assists us in finding, scoring, and equalizing the best comparable properties within your area to support an assessment reduction. The PTA system was specifically designed for property tax appeals and has proven to be a very successful, priceless advantage for our clients. We are the leader in the industry when it comes to property tax analysis. This system helps us get you the best assessment reductions possible and it is available only to our clients. Please remember that our fee is entirely contingent upon you getting you an assessment reduction. No reduction. NO fee. It’s that simple.
- What Counties do you provide appeal services for?
We do not limit ourselves to just one county or even a few counties. We provide appeal services for Cook County and all the collar counties, including but not limited to, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage, Will, Kendall, Winnebago, Kankakee, and DeKalb. If your county is not listed, please call us at 847-719-8450 to inquire.
- What do I need to do to have ProTaxAppeal appeal for me?
Assuming we have determined that you should appeal, all you need to do is email us at appeal@ProTaxAppeal.com or call us at 847-719-8450 and we will send you the appeal forms needed. Then, all you need to do is review, complete, and sign the appeal forms where indicated and return to us to start the appeal process. We can email you the forms in PDF format (preferred), fax the forms, or mail them to you. Once we receive your completed forms we will start your appeal. If any additional documentation is needed you will be notified.
- Is ProTaxAppeal an Appraisal Company?
No. We are a professional property valuation consulting firm that specializes in property tax valuations and appeals. We do NOT provide certified appraisals for any appeals. If you have a recent certified appraisal we will review it to determine if it can be used as part of the appeal. We do NOT require a current certified appraisal to appeal since we use our own proprietary state of the art automated valuation software system to determine fair market value.
- Is ProTaxAppeal a Law Firm?
No. We are a professional property valuation consulting firm that specializes in property tax valuations and appeals. If required by law and with your authorization we will engage Counsel on your behalf to represent you on any appeal matters needing legal Counsel. We do NOT provide any legal advice.
- What are my appeal options or rights?
Most property owners do not realize that they have the right to appeal their property assessment every year regardless if their assessment has changed. So you have the option to appeal yearly but it really depends on if you are over assessed or not. If you are like most property owners you probably have no idea if you are over assessed or not. The worst thing to do is assume the assessor is knows best. Based on our professional experience there is a very good chance you are over assessed so you owe it to yourself to find out. Please call our office at 847-719-8450 and ask an agent to explain our review option. We recommend your property to be reviewed yearly and appealed when necessary.
You also have the right to file a State PTAB appeal if you are not satisfied with the decision from the Assessor/County BOR appeal. ProTaxAppeal will exhaust all appeal options for you if necessary.
- Does ProTaxAppeal gives discounts for multiple properties?
No. Since each property is unique we must review, analyze, and appeal each property separately for the best results.
- Will ProTaxAppeal match a lower fee?
No. It is important to understand that any percentage based fee is relative to the savings. A low percentage fee may sound great but if there are no savings who cares what the fee is. Just as important is the added value provided by ProTaxAppeal with our state of the art software, experience, knowledge, and determination. Appeal after appeal our clients are amazed at the success we have and the amount of money saved for them. In addition if there is an upfront fee, that fee will make the effective appeal fee more than just the appeal fee, so any additional fees need to be accounted for.
To better understand percentage based fees take a look at the following comparison example between a 33 1/3% fee and a 50% fee. This seems like a simple decision, why pay 50% when you can pay 33 1/3%, right? Well maybe not. Let’s see.
At 33 1/3% if you save $900 then the fee is $300 and you save $600. At 50% the fee is $450 and you only save $450. Lower fee looks good so far, but you really do get what you pay for. Time and time again we see appeal results that failed to get the best possible reduction only for us to continue the appeal process and get a further reduction. So what if you could have saved twice as much or $1,800 instead, like many of our clients? Very rarely can anyone get a better reduction than ProTaxAppeal. We are very aggressive in our appeals and expect to get the best reduction possible by providing appeal evidence and appeal techniques that we have developed over many years which have proven to be successful appeal after appeal. That is why we developed the state of the art Property Tax Appeal software system. Before we appeal we know what our goal is. If our appeal system determines you should get a $1,800 savings then we will work hard to get you that $1,800 savings. We do not just appeal and hope for the best and take whatever we can get. Therefore, based on a $1,800 savings, our fee is $900 but you save $900 too. Even though we are making more money you are also saving more money. By setting our fee at 50% we are actually more motivated and incentivized than someone else with a lesser fee percentage. I think you would agree that less is not always the best.
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