Chicago Homeowners May Be Able to Lower Property Tax Bill

Something scary is on its way to your door, and I'm not talking about trick-or-treaters.

It's property tax season. And if it isn't bad enough that many of us have to pay a property tax bill on top of credit card bills and an expensive mortgage, it looks like that tax bill might be unfairly overpriced. As much as 60 percent of properties in the U.S. may be overtaxed, according to the National Taxpayers Union. Fortunately, there may be a way to lower your tax obligation, say Chicago bankruptcy attorneys.

While there's no guarantee that taking action can lower your tax bill, not taking action when you might actually have a case is guaranteed not to lower it. With more than 30 percent of appeals resulting in a reduction, what do you have to lose? When you receive your property tax bill in the mail, it should come with contact information for your county assessor's office. Consider paying your local office a visit to get information about the appeals process - including how much time you have to file - and to pick up a property card, the document that outlines the details that determine your home's value, like square footage and the number of rooms.

Check your property card to make sure the information is accurate. Simple typos, like an extra bathroom or a deck that doesn't exist, could artificially raise your home's worth - and your tax. Just like on your credit report, errors are more common than you think, and fixing them can be one of the easiest ways to improve your finances.

Next, go to a site like and compare your value with that of other houses in your neighborhood, especially houses that are similar in size, structure and age. If your place is worth significantly more, you can often appeal for a lower value. Though the process varies by county (again, your assessor's office can fill you in on the details) you'll ultimately need to submit a statement outlining your case. As a bonus, this is the one time when your home's issues - things like termites or mold damage, for instance - can actually work in your favor.

That said, even if your property tax bill is accurate - and therefore not adjustable - you may be able to make paying it easier. By paying down your debt, you'll have lower bills and more money to work with each month. Find out if bankruptcy can help make lowering debt - and your tax burden - affordable when you try a free personal debt analysis with a Chicago bankruptcy attorney.

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