Property Tax Information Sessions on Assessments & Appeals

Reprint from

Raila & Associates, P.C. routinely presents at public, no-obligation tax talks about real estate assessments and appeals. These are mostly free or low-cost depending on the organizational sponsor and membership. All property owners, even if they are not clients, are invited to attend a Property Tax Information Session. These sessions inform participants about the Cook County Property tax appeals process so they are better prepared to engage with a property tax consultant or professional firm that may appeal on their behalf, or to appeal on a DIY basis.

Sponsors include non-profit and civic groups; community and owner associations; libraries and institutions; and prominent residential and commercial lenders — like Community Investment Corporation (CIC). See our TaxTalk Calendar and be attentive to RSVP requirements.

Learn more about Andrea A. Raila, the Firm’s principal presenter at Property Tax Information Sessions. She serves as faculty for CIC’s award winning Property Management Training program. Read a Testimonial Letter from a sponsoring institution about the benefit of these tax talks for members and community groups.

Andrea Raila
Senior Tax Analyst

Assessment districts – which have received the highest and lowest reassessments and tax rates and why?
Triennial cycles – significant changes have been made; what will happen the next time around?

Tax appeal deadlines and schedules – why they matter; determine when you get your second installment tax bill.
Reassessment Notice – the meaning of a government “proposal” to tax and add value, how to understand what characteristics are important to value and how to determine market value equity. If an owner does not
receive a proposed notice, are they exempt from any suggested increase?

Assessment complaint forms – how should they be filled out and by whom?

Assessor web site – how to make it work for you in your search for evidence for your appeal or peace of mind; tips on navigating the web site to make it effortless to obtain the proper comparables. Understanding the assessment break down on land and building, and how to use the same methods the assessors’ staff use to
determine if your assessment should be changed. Can land values be challenged?

Residential classifications – what do they mean? What if they are wrong, but favorable to you or not. Can a
homeowner request a classification change and does that help or hinder in the appeal

The Process – Do some classifications of property
automatically make that class prone for a higher
assessment or lower one?

Tax appeal reduction notice – how to determine if the reduction decision you received from the Assessor or
Board of Review is fair or not — instructions on how to
“read between the lines”. Re-review letters — how to
properly re-negotiate another reduction.

Certificate of error – reasons that determine if your case warrants tax refunds for prior years.

Homeowner Exemptions – using the Assessor’s and Treasurer’s web site to determine if you received this exemption for the past 4 years; understanding the 7% cap and the value of the so-called 7% (exemption) cap that can reduce your second installment tax bill from $260 to as high as $3,000.

Exemptions – overview of all types: Homeowner, Senior, Senior Freeze, “Long-term” Circuit Breaker. Can you get refunds for being qualified, but not having them applied for years?

Assessor’s Vault – property records you are entitle too but are not on the Assessor’s web site. Why property records are important, including property record cards, sales specific data and permits used in the reassessment process.

Evidence – how to put it together in a simple format that makes the appeal analyst want to give you a break.

Tax bill – how to read it, find mistakes and refunds from a pool of Cook County refunds totaling $158 million.

PIN – what is a property ID number, breaking down the components of the mystery tax id number.

Tax Rate & State Multiplier – how they affect your tax bill, your assessment and actual market values. History of rates and multiplier. Why Cook County owners, unlike those in 101 other counties, are not allowed to appeal their multiplier or equalized assessment values.

Omitted Assessments – the dangers of getting an “Omitted (back tax) Tax Notice”; what you can do to prevent one and how to appeal a back tax notice.

Cook County Treasurer – what role does this agency play in the tax appeal process? How to use the Treasurer’s web site to find lost exemptions, tax refunds, property tax payment status, change your name on your tax bill , etc.

Working with law firms and consultants – when it’s essential to work with a law firm or consulting company and how can you best negotiate, manage and support the property tax appeal process.

Learn more about our presenter and Senior Tax Analyst, Andrea Raila.

What People are Saying

Ms. Raila’s presentation is excellent. She is knowledgable and enthusiastic about helping taxpayers get relief. She has an easy manner and is patient with questions. She understands that everyone deserves fair treatment on this topic.

The Library holds other financial education events but these seminars are amongst the most attended. The four programs held between 2011 and 2013 drew 274 citizens.

Patrons are complimentary with many understanding that learning to read their tax bill or knowing the refund process is lasting knowledge.

This type of finacial education event supports the Library’s strategic plan to provide lifelong learning opportunities and is an important public service.

Judith McNulty
Business Services Librarian
Niles-Maine District Library


I have functioned as a Business and Media Consultant over the past sixteen years and spent many years developing my capacity to function in our ever evolving use of technology, communication, education and training.