Chicago Real Estate Tax Hikes Over The Moon Since 2000

Runaway real estate tax hikes have been a major problem in Chicago and Cook County for decades, especially in tony North Side city neighborhoods.


For example, a spot check of Cook County Treasurer’s records shows “Ma-and-Pa” owners of two four-flat apartment buildings in Old Town and Logan Square were hit with tax hikes ranging from $117% to 121% over the past two decades,


Despite annual appeals, the vintage Old Town property’s tax bill soared to $26,284 in 2019 from $12,091 in 2000, while the Logan Square greystone’s bill skyrocketed to $12,317 from $5,564.


As shocking as these examples are, they are a drop in the bucket compared with the over-the-moon 1,505% to 2,073% tax increases revealed on five city condominium properties headlining “The Top 50,” a new report by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.


Here are details on the five Chicago properties based on tax-bill increases over the past two decades in the Gold Coast, East Lake View and Wicker Park:

  • The owners of a luxury Gold Coast condo at The Mayfair, 189 East Lake Shore Drive, witnessed their tax bill jump a whopping 2,073% to $47,782 in 2019 from $2,199 in 2000. Records show the owners filed successful appeals over the years to fight the increases. In 2016, the tax bill hit a high of $59,413.

  • In Wicker Park, the owner of a walk-up condo at 1945 W. Evergreen saw his tax bill jump a whopping 1,912% to $9,085 in 2019. The bill rose steadily from $1,503 in 2004 to $7,320 in 2016. In 2000, the tax bill for the unit was only $451.

  • The owner of an ultra-luxury Gold Coast condo at 189 East Lake Shore Drive, saw her tax bill jump a whopping 1,889% to $133,954 in 2019 from $6,731 in 2000. Records show the owner filed successful appeals over the years to fight the increases. In 2008, the tax bill hit $124,231. An appeal in 2010 lowered the bill to $105,088. By 2016, the bill skyrocketed to $165,926. Another appeal lowered the bill to its current level.

  • In East Lake View, the owner of a loft condo at 811 W. Aldine saw his tax bill jump a whopping 1,504% to $8,588 in 2019. The bill rose steadily from $2,030 in 2005 to $8,770 in 2014. In 2000, the tax bill for the unit was only $535.

  • The owner of a walk-up condo at 1945 W. Evergreen in Wicker Park saw his tax bill jump a whopping 1,812% to $9,874 in 2019. The bill rose steadily from $4,152 in 2003 to $7,952 in 2016. In 2000, the tax bill for the unit was only $516.

The Top 50 report represents a new chapter in “The Pappas Study,” an unprecedented analysis that shows Cook County’s tax bills virtually doubling over 20 years—an increase that is nearly triple the 36% rise in the cost-of-living index.


“There is a solution to the problem of skyrocketing taxes,” Pappas said. “Vote.” She noted that less than 29% of the voting-age population in Chicago has cast ballots in elections held since 2011. “If you don’t hold elected officials accountable, then you only have yourself to blame,” she said.


“If you don’t hold elected officials accountable, then you only have yourself to blame,” she said.

The other way to receive relief is to file an appeal. Property owners who think they are over assessed should appeal now, advises Michael Griffin, an expert tax-assessment lawyer. Visit the assessor’s website: www.cookcountyassessor.com, or call 312-443-7550 to find comparable properties or start the appeal process.


The Assessor is now concluding appeals process for 2020. A taxpayer can file with the Cook County Board of Review (312-603-5542) or www.cookcountyboardofreview.com and later with the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board (217-785-6076), or www.ptab.illinois.gov. Or, call Michael Griffin at 312-943-1789.


For more housing news, visit www.dondebat.biz. Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit www.escapingcondojail.com.

“The book is Escaping Condo Jail by Sara Benson and Don DeBat. I would say that anybody thinking about buying a condo, or even anybody serving on a condo board, or anybody who has any connection to a condo, this is must reading—all 600 and something pages. Thanks a lot for a great book!”

 

Steve Sanders, “Your Money Matters” WGN TV, December 22, 2014

By Don DeBat

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