Assessment errors hit thousands of suburban homeowners

Fritz Kaegi working to correct over-assessments for more than 4,000 properties

Assessment Errors hit Thousands of Suburban Chicago Homeowners
Assessor Fritz Kaegi and commissioner George Cardenas (Cook County, Cook County Board of Review, Getty)

The Cook County Assessor’s Office is taking steps to rectify thousands of assessment errors affecting homeowners in the south and west suburbs, following investigative reports that highlighted significant mistakes and surging property tax assessments.

The office acknowledged that some homeowners in the south suburbs had been over-assessed. New findings reveal the scope of the issue is larger than it initially appeared, with more than 4,000 properties impacted, ABC Chicago reported.

“We are working to correct the errors, because 1,000 of those fell in our lap, and the Board of Review is actively working to correct that,” said George Cardenas, Cook County Board of Review commissioner, in a letter obtained by the outlet. 

Incorrect land value calculations led to higher assessed values for many properties, the letter explained. Cardenas said his office, alongside township assessors in Berwyn and Lyons, has been addressing the issue for months, aiming to assist affected homeowners.

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The problem came to light in November 2023 when the outlet exposed errors in the Tinley Park area. Subsequent reports this spring highlighted similar issues in Lyons, where resident Jami Flaws faced an assessment that would’ve doubled her property taxes. Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi’s office admitted to mistakes in Flaws’ case and another, prompting a correction request to the Cook County Board of Review.

In a statement, Kaegi assured homeowners that they don’t need to take action, and that the corrections would be made in time to prevent overpayment of property taxes. The Assessor’s Office aims to finalize the corrections before the July property tax bills are issued.

It’s been a rough tax year for many commercial and residential property owners in the Chicago area, as assessments continue to roll out across the metro. Property values in more than a dozen neighborhoods west of downtown Chicago have increased by an average of 27 percent. The total assessed value in the west Chicago area has surged to approximately $10 billion, up from about $8 billion the previous year. 

—Quinn Donoghue 

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