By James P. Regan

As Published in The IPT Property Tax Report, December 2002

In Cook County Board of Review v. Property Tax Appeal Board et al., No. 97 22106 I3 (Ill. App. Ct., Aug. 20, 2002), the Illinois Appellate Court decided a dispute pitting Cook County against the State of Illinois over the County’s real estate tax assessment process.  The Appellate Court reversed a decision below that would  have modified the County’s procedures and redistributed tax burdens.

Cook County, by ordinance, assesses properties at different rates.  For example, industrial and commercial properties are respectively assessed at 36% and 38% of market value.  The Illinois Department of Revenue’s annual studies have shown that Cook County has consistently under assessed relative to the levels prescribed by ordinance.  Commercial and industrial properties have been under assessed by approximately 20% and residential properties by even more.

Based on those studies, the State of Illinois’ Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB) arrived at 1997 assessed values by using the actual assessment levels as determined by the State’s study rather than the level prescribed by the County ordinance.  The County  appealed these decisions to the Appellate Court in Chicago.  While upholding the market value in each of the cases consolidated in this appeal, the Court remanded the matter to PTAB and ordered compliance with the County’s classification ordinance.

PTAB has filed a motion for Reconsideration seeking clarification of technical issues in the decision.  The Court has not rendered its decision on those issues, but in no case will it affect the thrust of the Court’s August 20 decision.


James P. Regan is the managing partner of the Chicago law firm of Fisk Kart Katz and Regan, Ltd., the Illinois member of American Property Tax Counsel (APTC), the national affiliation of property tax attorneys.