How To Appeal

Assessment Appeal Procedures

Beginning this year, E-filing of assessment appeals is mandatory in Lake County. The SmartFile E-Filing process allows for uploading of evidence such as a comparison grid, an ad valorem appraisal, supporting documentation pertaining to a recent sale, a legal brief or similar summary of the appeal.

Before you begin the appeal process, we recommend checking a couple of things first.

Once you receive your blue assessment notice, you should check to see if you are currently receiving any exemptions you may be entitled to such as General Homestead, Senior Homestead, Veteran, etc.

You should then begin reviewing your property characteristics, available at IMSLake.org to check for any errors. Errors in characteristics may include a discrepancy in square footage, number of fireplaces or bathrooms to name a few. Factual errors in property characteristics are easily corrected. In many cases, no further appeal is necessary. The assessor may require an onsite inspection of the property in order to verify.

Finally, an assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher taxes, but an attempt to prove the assessed value needs adjustment based on your reason for appeal. An appeal based solely on your taxes being too high will be unsuccessful. This issue must be taken up with officials from the taxing bodies.

Reasons for appeal and steps to follow

  1. Factual error
    This reason involves questioning the accuracy of property characteristics used by the Township Assessor in the assessment process. Accuracy of square footage, number of bathrooms and size of the basement are some examples. For additional information see Board of Review Rules. Evidence could include your property record card or a written statement describing the discrepancies. It is important to reach out to the Township Assessor to attempt to resolve the issue since these errors are easy to correct and may not require a formal appeal.
  2. Recent Purchase of Property
    If you purchased your home in 2018 or 2019 for a market value less than the market value published on your assessment notice, you can file your appeal directly on the SmartFile E-Filing Portal. You are required to produce and upload evidence including an MLS listing history, a recorded Illinois Real Estate Transfer Declaration (PTAX-203), signed Settlement Statement or HUD-1. Please be advised documents uploaded to the SmartFile system are available for public viewing. You may want to redact personal information. For additional information, see Board of Review Rules.
  3. Recent Appraisal
    If you have a recent real estate appraisal as of January 1, 2019, and the appraised value is less than the market value on your assessment notice, you may file your appeal directly on the SmartFile E-Filing Portal. When prompted, you will need to upload your appraisal as evidence.
  4. Recent Sales Comparables
    If you are appealing your assessment based on recent sales, the key metric in these cases is to compare the sale price per AGLA (Above Ground Living Area) of the submitted properties to the market value per AGLA of your property.
    • You will need to populate a grid of comparable sales at IMSLake.org.
    • After entering your PIN, a page displaying your residence and characteristics will appear.
    • At the bottom of the page, under Comparable Property Information, select Properties by Recent Sales.
    • Generate your grid by selecting your comparables (you may select up to five comps per grid) and clicking on View Comparable Report.
    • Once your grid is created, download it and save it as a PDF on your computer.
    • Now you can file on Lake County’s SmartFile E-Filing Portal. When you are at the comparable section of the portal, go to the Attachments tab at the top of the page and upload your previously generated grid as evidence. Do not use the comparable grid in SmartFile as this data does not contain the most current and accurate data for Cuba, Ela, Grant, Libertyville and Vernon Townships.
  5. Equity of Assessment Comparables
    If you are appealing your assessment based on equity, the key metric in these cases is to compare the building assessment per AGLA of your property to the building assessment per AGLA of the submitted properties.
    • You will need to populate a grid of equity comps at IMSLake.org.
    • After entering your PIN, a page displaying your residence and characteristics will appear.
    • At the bottom of the page, under Comparable Property Information, select Comparable Properties to Determine Assessment Equity.
    • Generate your grid by selecting your comparables (you may select up to five per grid) and clicking on View Comparable Report.
    • Once your grid is created, download it and save it as a PDF on your computer.
    • Now you can file on Lake County’s SmartFile E-Filing Portal. When you are at the comparable section of the portal, go to the Attachments tab at the top of the page and upload your previously generated grid as evidence. Do not use the comparable grid in SmartFile as this data does not contain the most current and accurate data for Cuba, Ela, Grant, Libertyville and Vernon Townships.
  6. Matter of Law and Other
    If you are appealing for legal issues, you can upload a legal brief, or you can paste text into the box provided in the Appeal Detail tab. For additional information, see the Board of Review Rules.

Should you need assistance with the SmartFile E-filing process, a video tutorial is available on the Lake County website or you can view these printable instructions (PDF). You can also contact your Township Assessor’s office directly or call the Chief County Assessment office at 847-377-2050 for further assistance.

The rules of the Lake County Board of Review can be found here.