Monday, April 24, 2017

A tax tale

No chicks yet...

In the meantime, I'm going to kvetch about taxes and Cook County instead. It's no secret that our property taxes are egregiously high. So high, that we have had to go into debt just to stay in this house, and are the single biggest reason J. even started to look for jobs elsewhere in the first place. If I were to tell you exactly how high they are, you would spit out your coffee and ruin you computer or phone, so I won't do that. (But if you wanted to look up approximately how many quills are on a porcupine, the number would be in the ballpark, if a bit low.) We had given up appealing our taxes because it never did any good. The appeal was either denied or was so little as to not be worth the effort.

Enter realtors and lawyers when we started the whole house selling business.

When these professionals saw the tax bill they were shocked. Obscene was one word to describe them. It felt justifying at least. It was also somewhat infuriating to realize that our tax bill was so much higher than the vast majority of the homes in our area. So, with the encouragement of our realtor, we appealed our tax bill again, hopeful that this time the result would be different.

On Friday, we received a notice from the Cook County Assessor's office that our home's assessed valuation should remain as originally proposed. So. Not. Surprising. But as rotten as all that is, it is not actually what I want to kvetch about. No, here's the worst part.

We received the notice that our appeal was denied on Friday. That would be April 21. Since our mail arrives later in the afternoon, that is when we received the notice. On the notice it says that we are welcome to re-appeal. It does not really give much other information other than you need to look at the assessor's website to see when the due date for your township is. Well, when you do look that up, the due date for our township is today. That would be Monday, April 24. You cannot email the appeal. Your choices are to fax, mail, or deliver in person. Pardon the language, but the assessor's office should just send a notice saying, "Ha! Screw you!"

J. did manage to find a fax machine and send in our re-appeal. But what about the property owners who do not have access to one? Or for whom looking up information on a website is not easy? Or who cannot take a day off work to go deliver a piece of paper downtown? This will surprise no one living in this county, but the county doesn't really care about it's residents. Nope, our only purpose is to pony up the money.

But wait, it gets even better. When I called the 'Help' line, I received a recorded message, telling us that a decision on our appeal had been made in the middle of March. Yes, a full month before we received the notice. I'm sure we are not the only ones to be on the receiving end of this tardiness.

Since we have a signed contract for an amount of money well, well below our home's assessed value, all the real estate professionals believe it is a pretty open-and-shut case to receive a reassessment. But, boy, did the county do everything in its power to avoid having to do that. We'll see what happens with this next appeal.

And can I say just how extremely happy I am that our new home is not in Cook county?

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