Why Is My Property Tax Bill Higher Than My Neighbor’s?

Written By Jill Odzer,
Lake County Appeal, Commercial Analyst
 

This is a frequent question posed to Lake County Appeal.  The most likely answers are below. 

 

As we have stated in other articles, the assessor places a value on your property based upon various characteristics such as land size and location (e.g., if your property backs up to a pond or is located on a major road), above-ground living area, number of bathrooms, etc.  You may tell me that your property is identical to your neighbor’s, but is it really?  If you live in a condo, townhome or some other development with identical models, then your property likely is similar, but if you have done a major renovation and your neighbor has not, then your property is worth more.  If you have a balcony or patio and your neighbor does not, this will affect value too.  “The devil is in the details.”  There is a plethora of public information on the Lake County Assessor’s website if you want to see the details of your or your neighbor’s property. 
Go to www.tax.lakecountyil.gov and do a search. 

 

Another possibility, since we are in the middle of the quadrennial reassessment cycle (from 2019 through 2022), is that your neighbor may have successfully appealed his / her assessed valuation in 2019 or 2020 and you did not.  Have you hired Lake County Appeal to complete an assessment review for 2021 so that Lake County Appeal might also successfully appeal your valuation? 

A third possibility for residential property only is that your neighbor’s property is receiving exemptions that your property is not qualified to receive, sometimes because it’s not your principal residence.  The most common exemption is the General Homestead Exemption, but there is also a Senior Homestead Exemptions, a Disabled Veterans Exemption, a Home Improvement Exemption, etc.  There is also a Senior Citizen’s Assessment Freeze, which needs to be applied for yearly and, if your total household gross income is $65,000 or less, it will freeze the property’s assessed value even if your property’s fair market value increases. 

Finally, I have found that sometimes neighbors exaggerate to one another.  “My property tax bill is only $5,000! What’s yours?” When I take a look, their bill is $5,999 (which I would call $6,000) or even more.   

As an aside, please remember, there must be specific reasons for an appeal.  (Please see Ron Kingsley’s article.)  Your neighbor’s property tax bill is not one of them.  Our staff works diligently to save you money on your property tax bill by trying to find the strongest reason to appeal your property’s assessed value.