Official Appeal Rules of the Cook County Assessor

2024 Annual Practitioners' Meeting

The Cook County Assessor’s Office will host the Annual Practitioners' Meeting to introduce new appeal rules and guidelines to assist those who conduct business before the office. The meeting is scheduled to take place virtually on Wednesday, March 6, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. 

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2024 Appeal Rules

For best practices and tips on how to file an appeal, review the NEW Appeal Guidelines below. 

Appeal Guidelines

To read about the Cook County Assessor's approach to calculating capitalization rates, specifically the policy decision to use what is commonly referred to as unloaded cap rates instead of loaded cap rates, visit the Cap Rate Policy page.

Cap Rate Policy

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The Cook County Assessor’s Office has made the below changes to the Appeal Rules for 2024, including:

 

  • Rule 1: Providing that the CCAO may deny the appeal of any taxpayer who requests a property inspection, but then does not permit the CCAO Field Inspector access to their property.
  • Rule 7: Clarifying that the CCAO’s appeal deadlines are “hard” deadlines for both the filing of an appeal and all supporting documentation. 
  • Rule 13: Clarifying that the CCAO will not accept documentation in support of an appeal past the filing deadline. 
  • Rule 17: Clarifying that taxpayer must reveal recent sales data whether or not the appeal is based on sales price, and also providing that an affidavit must accompany any recent sales price that is substantially above or below the valuation set by the CCAO. 
  • Rule 18: Noting that appraisals must comply with USPAP standards, including but not limited to, USPAP standards for credibility, and should also provide the PIN for each property used in its valuation analyses 
  • Rule 19: The launch of RPIE 2.0 and requiring that complete leases or lease summaries be provided for income producing properties.
  • Rule 20: Further clarifying the types of evidence that should be used to support valuation complaints based on vacancy; also clarifying that the CCAO does not conduct property inspections to verify vacancy; rather, taxpayer should provide the requested documentation in support of a vacancy appeal.
  • Rule 21: Clarifying that the CCAO does not conduct property inspections to verify demolition; rather, taxpayer should provide the requested documentation in support of an appeal based on demolition. 
  • Rule 23: Requesting information regarding individual condominium units, and further clarifying the types of evidence needed to show that property should be assessed as common area
  • Rule 25: Provides further information and documentation requirements for class change requests; including for reclassification to Class 4 
  • Rule 26: Further clarifying the procedure for taxpayer to report factual errors in property description and assessment. 
  • Rule 28: Further clarifying the process for filing Certificate of Error applications. 

The Cook County Assessor’s Official Appeal Rules (the “Rules”) provide requirements, parameters, and guidance to persons preparing or filing an assessment appeal (an “appeal”) for review by the Cook County Assessor’s Office (“CCAO”). CCAO personnel will assist taxpayers and their agents on matters implicated by the Rules during the CCAO’s business hours. Please be advised that the filing of an appeal does not guarantee that a decision in favor of a reduction in valuation will be granted by the CCAO; rather, all appeals and supporting documentation are subject to CCAO review. 

GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

Rule 1 Failure to follow any of these Rules, or any other rules and policies of the CCAO that are applicable to a particular appeal, may result in denial of that appeal at the discretion of the CCAO. However, an appeal will not be denied summarily if the submission substantially complies with these Rules.  

 Note as to Property Inspection (“Field Check”) Requests: The CCAO may deny any appeal filed by taxpayers who request a property inspection, but then refuses a CCAO Field Inspector access to survey the exterior of the improvements on their property.  The CCAO typically does not conduct interior property inspections.

 Rule 2 All forms promulgated by the CCAO, whether a  paper form or an online form, must be completed in their entirety before they are submitted. All appeal-related forms promulgated by the CCAO, both online (“SmartFile”) and paper-based (PDF files), are available at cookcountyassessor.com/Appeals/.

 Rule 3 The CCAO will accept photocopies and scans of signed complaint forms, as well as other signed and/or notarized documents, but reserves the right to require or request the original form with a “wet” signature.  If a current form on the CCAO’s website indicates that a notarized signature is required, then that form requires notarization. If a current form does not indicate that notarization is required, then that form does not require notarization. (CCAO forms require notarization when ordinance or statute requires an affidavit). 

FILING AN ASSESSMENT APPEAL COMPLAINT 

Rule 4    An appeal is originated by properly filing a timely complaint form and supporting appeal documentation with the CCAO. All practitioners must file appeal complaints through SmartFile, the CCAO’s electronic appeal filing system. All pro se property owners should also file appeal complaints and supporting documentation through SmartFile, which can be accessed using a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

        Note: If you are filing an appeal for both a current assessment and an omitted assessment for the same property, please make sure to select “OM” as a type/category in SmartFile for the relevant omitted assessment years.

Property owners who cannot fully access the internet may request an appeal complaint form be provided to them by emailing the CCAO at assessor.onlineappeals@cookcountyil.gov, calling 312-443-7550, or visiting the CCAO in person at 118 North Clark Street, Room 320, Chicago IL. Additionally, most local libraries provide free internet access to the public, which taxpayers can use to access the CCAO’s website at https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/ for further assistance, to schedule an appointment, or file an appeal. Finally, the CCAO has self-service stations for the public to use for appeal filing located at 118 North Clark Street, Room 320, in Chicago.

Please note: It is unacceptable to email an appeal to any individual CCAO employee in lieu of filing an appeal via SmartFile.

Rule 5    Appeal complaints must specify the estimated fair market value the filer asserts should be applied to the subject property. (Please note: complaints seeking valuation of property as common area pursuant to 35 ILCS 200/10-35 should enter a $1 assessed value instead of a fair market value).

        Please note: In a SmartFile appeal filng, this information should be provided in the “Appeal Application” section as the “Desired Market Value.”

Commercial and industrial filers whose properties are part of a real estate investment fund (such as a REIT) should provide the name and address of the fund as well as the current underlying value of the property as set forth in the fund’s annual reporting documents.

Rule 6    At the time of the filing an appeal, any agent (attorney or other duly authorized party) acting on behalf of a taxpayer must file an Authorization Form certifying that the agent has been specifically authorized by the taxpayer to file the complaint, and is the only person so authorized. The CCAO will accept an e- signature conforming to the Illinois Electronic Commerce Security Act in lieu of notarization. No document may be substituted in lieu of the prescribed Authorization Form. If a practitioner determines that the Authorization Form must be modified to reflect a unique circumstance accurately, the practitioner may revise the Authorization Form accordingly but must ensure the revisions are clearly visible and must provide a brief explanation of the reason for the revision.

        References in these Rules to the actions of a “taxpayer” include actions of an authorized attorney or agent acting on the taxpayer’s behalf.

Rule 7    An appeal, and all supporting documentation, must be filed on or before the date established by the CCAO as the official appeal closing date for the Township where the property is located. The CCAO will not accept any appeal or supporting documentation after the close of a Township’s official appeal filing period as published on the CCAO’s website, as these are “hard” deadlines, except in cases of electronic filing error by the CCAO.

        The CCAO will post and publish the opening and closing dates for filing appeals on properties in each of the 38 townships in Cook County, as required by law.  Additionally, the appeal schedule is posted on the CCAO’s website: https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/assessment-calendar-and-deadlines.

Rule 8    For an appeal of a property that  consists of two or more contiguous parcels, the Property Index Numbers (“PINs”) assigned to those contiguous parcels must be listed on the same complaint in the Additional PINs section. Separate complaints must be filed for parcels that are not contiguous, unless the non-contiguous parcels constitute one economic unit at one property location or are part of one condominium or townhome association. Please note that all PINs associated with the subject property of the appeal must be included in the appeal. (In the case of condominium buildings where an owner has opted out of the appeal process with the rest of the Condominium Association, the filer should clearly state so in their appeal).

***Any complaint listing more than one PIN should list the “primary PIN” first. However, complaints concerning condominium buildings should continue to list the PINs in numerical order. For the purposes of these Appeal Rules, the primary PIN is defined as the PIN that had the highest assessed value for the prior assessment year. ***

Rule 9    When filing an appeal with the CCAO, taxpayers and their representatives must review the information regarding the property on the CCAO’s website. This information can be found in the “property details” section which can be accessed by clicking the big blue button at the bottom of the page for any PIN search. If the taxpayer reasonably believes that any of the information appearing on the website is incorrect, taxpayer must clearly state so in their appeal and provide the corrected information. Please note that SmartFile also has a function which allows a taxpayer to file an update to the residential property characteristics on a PIN. When updating the property characteristics, the taxpayer must provide sufficient information and/or evidence in support of the needed change.

For example, if the CCAO’s website shows that a building is 1,200 square feet, but an addition has been added and the building is now 1,800 square feet, taxpayer should provide the updated information in the appeal. Additionally, taxpayer should submit documentation supporting the change, such as an appraisal, survey, building/floor plans, lease, purchase documents, dated color photographs, or similar which shows the correct information. In lieu of this documentation, the CCAO will consider an attestation by the taxpayer as to the correct information. Taxpayers may use the CCAO’s General Attestation form or submit an attestation which comports with the CCAO’s form. Please be advised that a request for correction may result in a property inspection by the CCAO.

If taxpayer reasonably believes that the information regarding the property found on the CCAO’s website is correct, there is no need for taxpayer to further certify as such in their appeal.

Rule 10    The CCAO regards the first appeal filed on a PIN as the controlling, operative appeal. SmartFile will provide a warning message to filers attempting to submit a duplicate complaint on a PIN, show the identity of the current filer, and may cause the filing to be unsuccessful. Filers who see such a warning message but believe that they have authority to file the appeal, should first double check the identity of the filer on the CCAO’s website, and then contact the current filer to discuss whether a Withdrawal and/or Substitution Form should be completed.  The CCAO will require a properly executed Withdrawal and/or Substitution Form from the relevant parties such that a single, duly authorized agent/filer is established to the CCAO’s satisfaction. If further questions arise regarding a duplicate filing, please send an email to assessor.onlineappeals@cookcountyil.gov.

        Please note: the first filing is typically considered to be the operative filing by the CCAO; therefore, please do not ignore the duplicate filing warning when filing an appeal.

Rule 11    A party may substitute an appearance on behalf of a taxpayer by filing a completed and fully executed Withdrawal and/or Substitution Form. The CCAO encourages parties to file substitutions prior to the close of the relevant township’s review period.

        Additionally, any withdrawal and/or substation form must also be sent to assessor.onlineappeals@cookcountyil.gov for processing.

Rule 12    When attorneys and representatives file substantive materials (such as appeal briefs) in support of a client’s complaint, they must submit at least one set of those substantive materials in which the law firm, attorney, or representative filing the complaint is not identified by name, mailing address, phone number, or email address on any document in the set. This “anonymized” set of documents must include only the attorney’s or representative’s assigned identification code as a means of determining the filer’s identity.

The Authorization Form or Withdrawal/Substitution Form (if applicable), together with any other documents that are not anonymized, should be uploaded in SmartFile using the “Attorney Authorization & Other Non-Anonymized Documents” upload function. Additionally, any withdrawal and/or substation form must also be sent to assessor.onlineappeals@cookcountyil.gov for processing.

 

EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF AN ASSESSED VALUATION APPEAL

Rule 13    Additional documentation in support of an appeal must be filed by the official appeal deadline for the relevant Township. The CCAO will not accept supporting documentation after the close of a Township’s official appeal filing period as published on the CCAO’s website, as these are “hard” deadlines, except in cases of electronic filing error by the CCAO.

Rule 14    The taxpayer must sign all appeal forms, summary sheets, rent rolls, and logs. If the taxpayer is represented by an attorney or other party, the attorney or other representative party may sign the documents. Electronic or facsimile signatures are acceptable. The signature on each of these documents constitutes a representation that the facts appearing thereon are true and correct to the best of the signer’s knowledge. The advocate-witness rule is not applicable to proceedings before the CCAO.

Rule 15    All affidavits filed with the CCAO must be signed by a person having personal knowledge of the facts. An affidavit filed on behalf of a business entity, such as a corporation, LLP, limited partnership, or REIT (or other Trusts) etc., may be filed by a duly qualified representative of the entity based upon that affiant’s inquiry of, and based on facts ascertained from, representatives of the business entity having knowledge of all the facts.

Rule 16    With the exception of individual taxpayers filing an appeal pertaining to their own residence, filers must submit a clear color photograph of the front of the subject property, date-stamped within one year of the lien date (January 1) of the assessment year under appeal. Individual taxpayers filing an appeal on their own behalf pertaining to their own residences may, but are not required to, submit color photographs in support of a residential appeal. If date stamped color photographs are unavailable, taxpayers must attest to the date the photos were taken, and such photos truly and accurately depict the condition of the property that is the subject of the appeal. Taxpayers may use the CCAO’s General Attestation form or submit an attestation which comports with the CCAO’s form.

Rule 17    A taxpayer must disclose the date of purchase and the purchase price of the subject property if the purchase took place within two years of the lien date (January 1) for the assessment year under appeal, whether or not taxpayer is appealing on the basis of purchase price. Additionally, the taxpayer must file relevant sales documents (e.g., the deed, purchase agreement, and closing statement, including the sale price and sale date). The taxpayer must disclose the identities of both the buyer and seller, including the beneficiary of any trust,  and any relationship between them (including, but not limited to those existing by blood, marriage, corporate parent-subsidiary companies, or by virtue of ownership of non-publicly held stock and whether the transaction was arms-length). The CCAO strongly encourages that the PTAX-203 accompany any appeal based either in whole or in part on sales price.

        If the transaction was a short sale, please provide that information in the appeal narrative.
    
A taxpayer who asserts that the purchase price includes personal property value must submit the PTAX-203, or an affidavit as to all the information contained therein, related to the sales transaction.  

When sales documents reflect a market value substantially above or below the CCAO’s current valuation, taxpayers must provide an affidavit explaining the circumstances  leading up to the sale, including prior purchase proposals, cash amounts offered, length of time on the market, and the reasons for the sale.

Forced Sales: If the conveyance in question was a forced sale (tax sale, foreclosure sale, bankruptcy proceeding, etc.), the taxpayer must submit documentation regarding the forced sale, including but not limited to the Tax Deed, Judicial Deed, or Bankruptcy Trustee’s Deed, or related court orders such as the Order Approving Sale, or documentation from the court’s selling officer, such as a Receipt of Sale.

Rule 18    Appraisals submitted by taxpayers must pertain to the property’s Highest and Best Use and must comply with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (“USPAP”) and Illinois state law. Per USPAP Standard Rule 1-1, all appraisals submitted to the CCAO in support of an appeal must be credible.  Appraisals shall include an original, dated photograph of the front of the subject property, plus the PINs for each property used in its valuation analyses.  All appraisals should be based on available and reasonable sales and market data and not engage in “cherry picking”, or using inappropriate valuation concepts and methods. Finally, appraisals should be dated within the triennial period for the property being appealed.

        Please Note: Appraisals that are in gross violation of USPAP standards or the Real Estate Appraiser Licensing Act may be reported to the IDFPR for further investigation.

Rule 19    The Assessor’s Office is launching RPIE 2.0 to improve the appeal filing process for all income-producing properties.  Filers can now enter property characteristics and income and expense information into RPIE 2.0 , which is integrated into the appeal filing process in SmartFile. Please note: incomplete or inaccurate data entry in SmartFile may be grounds for a “no change” result for any appeal of an income-producing property.

For purposes of this Rule, income-producing property is defined as a parcel which is either entirely, or in part, non-owner-occupied and generates rental income, excluding residential properties with 6 or fewer units. Hotels and motels are considered income-producing property for purposes of these Rules, regardless of whether they are owner-occupied.

        For income-producing properties, taxpayer must also submit a copy of IRS tax schedule forms that were filed for the previous three income tax years reporting income and expenses associated with the subject property. Such forms may include, but are not limited to, the Schedule E of the taxpayer’s 1040 IRS form, IRS Form 8825, IRS Form 1065, and IL-990-T. Depreciation schedules need not be submitted. Given the complexity of commercial income producing properties, the CCAO encourages audited/certified financial statements and certified detailed rent rolls.

        Taxpayers who do not possess such record(s) may attest that they have made reasonable efforts to obtain the record(s) and have been unable to do so, or that such documents do not exist. Taxpayers may use the CCAO’s General Attestation form or submit an attestation which comports with the CCAO’s form.

For purposes of this Rule, income-producing property is defined as a parcel which is either entirely, or in part, non-owner-occupied and generates rental income, excluding residential properties with 6 or fewer units. Hotels and motels are considered income-producing property for purposes of these Rules, regardless of whether they are owner-occupied.

To understand how the CCAO converts income into value for income-producing property, the taxpayer should consult the CCAO’s Cap Rate Policy.

Leases: For all income-producing properties, except apartment buildings with more than 6 units, the taxpayer must provide either complete copies of all leases in place at the propertyor, alternatively, lease summaries for each lease in place. The lease summaries must describe the parties to the lease, whether the lease is net,  gross, or modified gross, square footage of the leased space, total number of units leased, rental rates, and the identity of the party(ies) responsible for paying the property taxes and their proportionate share. Additionally, the taxpayer must file an affidavit attesting to any relationship (other than landlord and tenant) between the parties to all leases in place at the subject property. This includes, but is not limited to, those existing by blood or marriage to the second degree, corporate parent-subsidiary companies, or ownership by virtue of non-publicly held stock.

The CCAO may request copies of fully executed leases as needed.

Please note: When submitting income information, practitioners shall redact taxpayer non-public personal information (NPPI) such as social security numbers (SSN), employer identification numbers (FEIN), driver’s license numbers, financial account numbers, and credit and debit card numbers, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 138.

Rule 20    If an assessment reduction is sought based on the vacancy of a property, the taxpayer must consult the CCAO’s Vacancy Policy. Taxpayers who assert their property meets the conditions described in the vacancy policy must file:

1.    A completed Vacancy/Occupancy Affidavit on the form provided by the CCAO (Occupancy shall include all space for which rent is being paid or is payable, even though the space may actually be vacant), which includes the total square footage or     number of units vacant, the reason for the vacancy, the duration of the vacancy, and a description of the attempts made to lease the vacant space. Taxpayer must include any documents providing evidence of attempts to lease the space, such as     rental listings or other advertisements. If no such effort was made, the affidavit must set forth the reason(s) that no attempt to rent such space was made (Please note: taxpayers for residential properties of 6 units or less may continue to use     the General Affidavit to report vacancy information but use of the Vacancy/Occupancy Affidavit is encouraged);

2.    Color photographs of the interior vacant space or units, dated during the assessment year under appeal;

3.    Color photographs of the exterior of the property, dated during the assessment year under appeal;

4.    Utility bills that reflect lower usage for the term the vacancy is requested;

5.    If applicable, a complete rent roll report, including tenant name, monthly rental amount, type of lease, term of lease, and square footage rented, that validates the vacancy;

6.    If applicable, the municipality’s occupancy certificate;

7.    If applicable, copies of relevant work permits;

8.    If applicable (such as in the case of new construction or building rehabilitation due to a casualty event), insurance documents, fire certificates, building plans, invoices for construction and materials, construction contracts, or construction     budgets with lien waivers, etc.;

9.    If applicable, a completed General Affidavit form (or an affidavit which comports with the CCAO’s form), setting forth any additional information regarding the vacancy; and

10.    If applicable, all documents required by Rule 19.

If utility bills or other documents are not available, the taxpayer must attest to their unavailability. If dated color photographs are unavailable, taxpayers must attest to the date on which the photos were taken, and that the photos accurately depict the condition on such date of the property that is the subject of the appeal. Taxpayers may use the CCAO’s General Attestation form or submit an attestation which comports with the CCAO’s form.

All evidence relating to vacancy, including photos, should be uploaded using the Vacancy Documents button in SmartFile.

Please note: The CCAO does not conduct a property inspection to verify vacancy/occupancy information; rather taxpayers should provide the above requested documentation with their appeal.

Rule 21    In the event an assessment reduction is sought due to the demolition of a building, the taxpayer must file:

1.    A copy of the demolition permit, showing its date of issuance;

2.    Evidence of payment for the demolition;

3.    An affidavit stating the date of demolition. Taxpayer may use the CCAO’s demolition affidavit (or an affidavit which comports to the CCAO’s form);

4.    An original, clear, date-stamped color photograph of the subject property both before and after demolition. If an image of the building prior to demolition is unavailable, the taxpayer must attest to its unavailability. (Taxpayers may use the     CCAO’s General Attestation form, or submit an attestation which comports with the CCAO’s form); and

5.    If applicable, a completed General Affidavit form (or an affidavit which comports with the CCAO’s form), setting forth any additional information regarding the demolition.

Please note: The CCAO does not conduct a property inspection to verify demolition; rather taxpayers should provide the above requested documentation with their appeal.

Rule 22    If the taxpayer asserts that a portion of a property should be treated as excess vacant land, such assertion must be supported by a plat of survey detailing the dimensions and locations of all buildings, parking areas, or other improvements, any unimproved areas or storage used, and any ingress or egress. The actual use of the property must be specified. A recent, date-stamped, original and clear color photograph of the land claimed to be excess must be filed with the CCAO.

Rule 23    For condominium properties, an appeal or certificate of error application asserting that a percentage of ownership is incorrect must include the most recently recorded condominium declaration(s) which show the percentages of ownership, and any other relevant documents, such as a court order.
        
        Additionally, taxpayers are encouraged to provide the characteristics of each unit, including square footage, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

Common Area: An appeal or certificate of error application asserting that property should be declared as common area per 35 ILCS 200/10-35 shall include the recorded condominium declaration(s) or amendment(s) which designates the property as common area, along with the recorded deed showing that the common area is owned by the association. Other documents, such as relevant plats or an affidavit of use, can also be used as further evidence showing that the property in question is common area, but do not replace the need for the declaration (or relevant amendment) and deed.

Rule 24    If the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) has issued a letter indicating that a property is partially or fully exempt from assessment, property owners or their agents should email a copy of the IDOR letter and the property’s recorded deed to Assessor.Exempt@cookcountyil.gov. An appeal complaint is not required.

CLASS CHANGE REQUESTS

RULE 25    If a class change is sought, the taxpayer must clearly state so in their appeal brief and provide sufficient evidence in support of the class change. This rule also applies to class changes requested via Certificate of Error.

For class changes within Class 2, evidence shall include dated, accurate interior and exterior color photographs of the property taken during the assessment year of the appeal.  If dated color photographs are unavailable, undated photos will be accepted along with an attestation as to the date the photos were taken.  Additionally, either floor plans, survey, appraisal, or other similar documentation showing an accurate description of the building, its square footage, and its current usage.  Also include the total number of rooms, breaking down the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and half baths. If requesting a class change to Class 2-11, taxpayer must also provide evidence that each unit is actually used for residential purposes, has a separate entrance, a separate mailbox, and has separate utility meters. Copies of leases and detailed rent rolls, if any, are recommended.

Class 5 to Class 2-12: Class 2-12 is a building put to commercial and residential use, of six or less units, where the building measures less than 20,000 square feet of above grade space, any age. To qualify for Class 2-12: 1. The non-residential portion of the building must be commercial rather than industrial; 2. the residential unit(s) are/have actually been used for residential purposes, and 3. The residential unit(s) are zoned for residential use: either legally conforming or legally non-conforming.

                Required evidence includes (but is not limited to):

1.    Accurate, dated color photographs of the interior and exterior of the property taken during the assessment year of the appeal. If dated color photographs are unavailable, undated photos will be accepted along with an attestation as to the date the photos were taken;

2.    Floor plans, survey, appraisal, or other similar documentation showing an accurate description of the building, its square footage, and its current usage. This documentation must also include accurate square footage for both the residential and commercial portion of the building;

3.    Evidence that each residential unit is actually used for residential purposes, has a separate entrance, a separate mailbox, and has separate utility meters;

4.    Current leases and/or current detailed rent rolls showing that the building is used for both residential and commercial purposes. If a residential unit is currently vacant, provide evidence showing that it is normally used for habitation, such as prior leases, prior rent rolls, and advertisements that the unit is for lease and/or listing agreements for the unit(s); and

5.    Evidence showing that the residential units are zoned for residential use: either legally conforming or legally non-conforming.

Class 5 to Class 3-18: Class 3-18 is a building measuring between 20,000 – 99,999 square feet, used primarily for residential purposes, totaling seven units or more with apartments and commercial area. To qualify for 3-18 building class, the commercial component of the property should consist of no more than 35% of the total rentable square footage. For buildings where the commercial component of the property consists of more than 35% of the total rentable square footage, or the building exceeds 99,999 SF, the building will instead be subject to a split class of commercial (Class 5) and residential (Class 2 or 3).

                Required evidence includes (but is not limited to):

1.    Accurate, dated color photographs of the interior and exterior of the property taken during the assessment year of the appeal. If dated color photographs are unavailable, undated photos will be accepted along with an attestation as to the date the photos were taken;

2.    Floor plans, survey, appraisal, or other similar documentation showing an accurate description of the building, its square footage, and its current usage.  This documentation must also include accurate square footage for both the residential and commercial portion of the building;

3.    Evidence that each residential unit is actually used for residential purposes, has a separate entrance, a separate mailbox, and has separate utility meters;

4.    Current leases and/or current detailed rent rolls showing that the building is used for both residential and commercial purposes. If a residential unit is currently vacant, provide evidence showing that it is normally used for habitation, such as prior leases, prior rent rolls, and advertisements that the unit is for lease and/or listing agreements for the unit(s);

5.    Income evidence as specified in Rule 19; and

6.    Evidence showing that the residential units are zoned for residential use: either legally conforming or legally non-conforming.

For class changes to Class 4, which is for real estate owned and exclusively used by a not-for-profit organization in furtherance of the purposes set forth in its charter, taxpayer must provide the following documentation:

1.    Certified copy of the Articles of Incorporation, Charter, and/or By-laws which state the not-for-profit purposes of the organization.  Please note that a printout of the Illinois Secretary of State or IRS search page for not-for-profits is not sufficient.

2.    Copy of the deed or other evidence of title showing the not-for-profit organization as the owner.  If title is held in a Land Trust, the not-for-profit organization must be the owner of the beneficial interest in the Trust.  Taxpayer must provide complete copies of the relevant Trust documents, or a summary of the Trust prepared by the Trustee.

3.    A completed copy of the CCAO’s Not-for-Profit Affidavit form containing a statement from an officer of the organization specifying the current use of the property and affirming that:

a.    The subject property is owned by the not-for-profit organization; and

b.    The subject property is being exclusively used for the not-for-profit purposes described in the organization’s by-laws.  Merely stating “consistent with its not-for-profit purposes” is insufficient.

Please see the CCAO’s website at https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/not-profit for the Class 4 eligibility bulletin and the CCAO’s Not-for-Profit Affidavit form.

Other class change requests not involving an incentive class must include dated, accurate interior and exterior color photographs of the property taken during the assessment year of the appeal. If dated color photographs are unavailable, undated photos will be accepted along with an attestation as to the date the photos were taken. Additionally, either floor plans, survey, appraisal, or other similar documentation showing an accurate description of the building, its square footage, and its current usage. Finally, the CCAO recommends that taxpayer provide any and all other documentation and information which support the specifics of the requested class change.

For class changes to an incentive class, taxpayer must fully review the materials found on the CCAO’s website for information regarding incentive classes. Obtaining an incentive class is more complex and requires more documentation than other class changes. Please see the information on the CCAO’s website at https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/incentives-special-properties.

CORRECTIONS AND CERTIFICATES OF ERROR

Rule 26    The CCAO will not provide re-reviews of its 2024 assessed valuation appeal decisions. If taxpayer does not agree with an assessment appeal decision by the CCAO regarding the valuation of their property, taxpayer may file a further assessment appeal with the Cook County Board of Review. Please see the Board’s website at https://www.cookcountyboardofreview.com/ for further information.

Please note: it is unacceptable to email any individual CCAO employee to basically request a re-review of a valuation decision.

However, if a taxpayer or their representative reasonably believes that the CCAO has made a factual error in the assessment of the property (such as in square footage, building characteristics, PIN prorations, property classification, keypunch or transcription errors, or an egregious error in assessment due to reasons other than a mere difference of opinion in valuation), then the taxpayer or their representative is encouraged to contact the CCAO regarding the error. Methods of contact include: our “Contact Us” page at https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/contact, email to assessor.onlineappeals@cookcountyil.gov, by mail, telephone at 312-443-7500, or in-person visit to our downtown Chicago office. Please see https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/ for further information.  

The CCAO requires documentation to support taxpayer’s contention of the error in assessment; including but not limited to floor plans, survey, appraisal, or other similar documentation showing an accurate description of the building, its square footage, and its current usage.

Rule 27    Please note that Rule 26 regarding the re-review of 2023 assessed valuation appeals does not limit the statutory authority of the Assessor to correct errors through the Certificate of Error (35 ILCS 200/14-15) or Certificate of Correction (35 ILCS 200/14-10) processes, nor does it prevent the CCAO from submitting an Assessor’s Recommendation to the Board of Review.

Rule 28    Taxpayers may file Certificates of Error applications for prior years on their own or as part of the current-year appeal process.

Certificate of Error applications seeking reductions for prior assessment years, in addition to a current-year appeal, must be filed through SmartFile as part of the current-year appeal.

Certificate of error applications that seek a reduction for prior assessment years and are not associated with a current-year appeal must be emailed to assessor.onlineappeals@cookcountyil.gov. These certificates of error, which may be filed outside of the window in which appeals are permitted to be filed for the relevant property, must include “Prior year-only Certificate of Error” in the subject line of the email. Once the SmartFile application is available for prior year only certificates of error, the CCAO strongly encourages taxpayers, or their representatives, to file via SmartFile instead.

It is highly recommended that filers include their Certificate of Error requests with current year appeal in SmartFile, as any Certificates of Error filed as standalones cannot be entered into our system until the current year appeals process has been completed.  

Whether the Certificate of Error application is filed within or outside of the current-year appeal process, taxpayer must also provide appropriate documentation as evidence in support of its application (See Rules 14-25 as guidance) at the time of filing. Failure to provide supporting documentation as evidence may result in the denial of the Certificate of Error.

The CCAO does not provide re-reviews of its Certificate of Error decisions; therefore, the CCAO requires that taxpayer provide all supporting documentation for a Certificate of Error at initial filing.

Please note: it is unacceptable to email a Certificate of Error application to any individual CCAO employee in lieu of filing via SmartFile, assessor.onlineappeals@cookcountyil.gov, or in person at our downtown office location.

These rules shall be effective on the date of adoption by the Cook County Assessor.