Talk with the Assessor. During this informal session you can learn how your assessment was made, what factors were considered, and what type of records are kept regarding your property.
The next step is to file an objection with the Board of Review. The Board of Review is held annually and is the formal appeal process. You must file a "Notice of Intent" to file an objection with the City Clerk 48 hours prior to the start of the Board of Review's first annual meeting and complete a written objection form. Contact the Assessor's Office to see when the Board of Review is scheduled to meet. When you receive your tax bill in December, it is too late to file an objection. Paying your taxes under protest does not constitute an assessment objection unless you have first filed an appeal with the Board of Review.
The Board of Review is a 7-member citizen panel, 1 person appointed by each Alderman and Mayor. It is the Board's duty to hear evidence by the taxpayer and the Assessor and to decide if the assessment is correct.
State law puts the burden of proof on the property owner to show that the assessment is incorrect. Keep in mind that your evidence must be strong enough to prove that the Assessor's value is incorrect. The Board will consider only relevant testimony given at the hearing. Stating that property taxes are too high is not relevant testimony. You should establish in your mind what you think your property is worth. The best evidence for this would be recent sales prices for properties similar to yours. The closer in proximity and similarity, the better the evidence. Another type of evidence is oral testimony from a witness who has made a recent appraisal of your property.
Appeals can be withdrawn or settled at any stage in the process. If you do not agree with the Board of Review decision, the next step is an appeal to the Circuit Court.
An appeal to the Circuit Court must be made within 90 days after adjournment of the Board of Review. The court will then make a decision based solely on the testimony that was presented to the Board of Review. When your case goes before the Circuit Court, the court will review the record that was created at your Board of Review hearing and make its decision.