Cook County property taxes skyrocket for thousands of homeowners and businesses; how to appeal

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone and Maggie Green WLS logo
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Cook Co. property taxes skyrocket for thousands; what you can do
Cook County property tax bills skyrocketed for tens of thousands of residents this year, with increases up to 1000% for some. Here's how to appeal.

COOK COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- You may be one of thousands of people facing sky-high Cook County property tax bills. In fact, a record 40,000 people are filing property tax appeals because many of those bills have doubled.

The I-Team found Cook County property taxes have gone up 100% or more for thousands of people. The average tax rate is also up across Cook County.

The increases come at a time when inflation is hurting consumers.

"It's just it's a huge shock. It makes us feel violated," said Aliki Marinos .

She and her brother Frank are fighting a 140% increase on their property taxes at their business Bel-Mar Wire Products. Their property taxes went from about $42,000 in 2021 to about $109,000 in 2022.

"It's just devastating. I almost had a heart attack, personally, it was extremely painful, very difficult to see something like this," Frank Marinos said.

The property tax increase has left the Marinos family wondering how much longer their business can keep going. The company makes displays for retailers to showcase products. They said they have already laid off five employees, which amounts to half their staff.

The business was started by their father in 1970.

"A 50-plus-year-old business in Chicago was starting from scratch and manufacturing. This is kind of what Chicago was built on in the old days," Aliki Marinos said.

A spokesperson for Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi's office said their Bucktown neighborhood "has undergone significant change and market values have increased." Kaegi's office also said the property was "most likely previously undervalued."

"I'll be honest with you, I thought it was a mistake. I thought I had to open my eyes. I blinked a few times," Aliki said.

The Marinos are appealing their property tax bill, and they're not alone.

A record number of people in Cook County are fighting tax bills with the state's property tax appeal board. Those appeals are expected to exceed 40,000.

Cook County property tax bills increased 100% or more year-over-year for roughly 20,000 properties, the I-Team found, the majority of which are residential. The I-Team obtained that data from the Cook County Treasurer's Office through the Freedom of Information Act. The treasurer's office is only responsible for collecting the bills; the Cook County Assessor's Office determines the amount billed.

Data shows that a home in the Roseland neighborhood on the city's South Side received a property tax bill that increased 1,000% year-over-year.

Nearby, In the Chicago Lawn neighborhood, Dorothy Ross, who gets the senior exemption, was hit with an 884% tax hike.

The county's assessed value of her home went from $6,222 to $12,999. Her bill was only $143 dollars in 2021, but she didn't expect it to surge to $1,400.

"And when it comes in that high, especially if I don't have it, that means that I gotta go somewhere else to get it. I gotta go get a loan from the bank or I got to ask my children for it, it's got to come from somewhere because it's got to be paid," Ross said.

The Cook County Assessor said Ross and the other residential property owner who faces the 1,000% hike both saw assessed value increases based on market value. A spokesperson said they may also qualify for a "senior freeze," which could roll back the assessment and put their bills back to where they used to be.

The Blommer Chocolate Company property on Kinzie in the West Loop, saw a 520% increase in taxes due to the assessed value shooting up.

Frank Marinos is concerned for the future.

"We're contemplating and we're trying to figure out what our next step would be," he said. "If an appeal doesn't work, you know, and we can't get some of that money back, then we might have to make some drastic changes."

The I-Team also asked the Assessor about those numbers, showing those 20,000 properties with 100% or more increases and did not hear back.

Property owners said they understand some increases are needed to pay for county services and pensions. However, they feel the spikes are extreme, with little time to pay after getting the bill.

If you are dealing with a huge increase you can go through an appeals process.


1. A property tax firm can file an appeal on your behalf for a fee, or you can file yourself in person or online with the Cook County Assessor. Their website has a guide to online appeals and information about filing a paper appeal form. Typically, you have 30 days after receiving your reassessment notice, to file an appeal.

2. Individual taxpayers represent themselves before the Cook County Board of Review.If property is owned by a corporation or LLC, the property must be appealed by an attorney.

At a Board of Review Hearing taxpayers have the opportunity to explain why their assessment should be reduced. Consider bringing evidence and discussing special circumstances that may fit the argument. For information on presenting a case go to It is not mandatory for taxpayers to attend their hearing. Waiving their right to a hearing won't penalize the appeal.

3. Finally, if a taxpayer is not happy with the results of the Board of Review, they can bring their assessment challenge to the Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB). A petition must be filed within 30 days of the board of county review's decision, or within 30 days of the written notice of the application of final, adopted township multipliers by the board of review. To file your PTAB appeal, go to