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Illinois Appeal Backlog Escalates

by Bob Tivnan, Chicago, April 2013

 

More than 85,700 Illinois property owners are waiting for their appeals to be resolved by the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board (PTAB). Officials admit the backlog may get worse before it gets better.

 

The state's auditor general says based on the number of cases pending and how quickly they can be processed, it could require two more years just for the current appeals to be heard.

 

What Went Wrong?

 

The Property Tax Appeals Board has been losing ground since 2004 when former Governor Rod Blagojevich oversaw a reduction in the agency's budget that cut the number of employees in half.

 

Lawmakers recently began earmarking more money to help the agency recoup its workforce. But the executive director of the PTAB said the hiring and training process has taken longer than anticipated at a time when the number of appeals are mounting (See table).

Appeals Before the Illinois PTAB

 

New Appeals Filed

Backlog

2012

42,871

85,7000

2002

19,000

20,000

 

 

Lawmakers recently began earmarking more money to help the agency recoup its workforce. But the executive director of the PTAB said the hiring and training process has taken longer than anticipated at a time when the number of appeals are mounting (See table).

 

What Can Taxpayers Do?

 

The log jam of appeals at the state level is an important issue that impacts lower level appeal strategies and assessment negotiations. That's because time is money and many property owners can't wait and remain in limbo.

 

In most cases where an assessment is deemed excessive, the best approach is to prioritize early negotiations with the local township and/or county assessing authorities with the objective of achieving a fair and reasonable lower assessment that would make it unnecessary to file at the PTAB.

 

POER can conduct an estimated cost/benefit analysis to assist commercial and industrial property owners with their appeal decisions. However, a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois is needed for appeals before the PTAB.