How to Lower Your Property Taxes?

Below is the presentation given at the Property Tax Seminar given in Waukegan:   Video will be uploaded soon.

How to lower Your Property Taxes

WGN On the Tax Appeals Issue

Michael Carbone and Lennie Jarratt were interviewed for the following WGN story on the Board of Review Tax Appeal Rules change.

Lake County Board of Review 03/18/2013

Documents provided by Lake County in regards to the new rules

Lake County Board of Review Limiting Taxpayer Rights?

The Lake County Board of Review (BOR) presented its proposed rules changes to the public. The major change limits the rights of Lake County property owners who want to appeal their property tax assessments to be handled by either themselves of a licensed attorney.  This rules specifically disallows the following from representing a taxpayer:

  • Accountants
  • Tax Consultants
  • Appraisers
  • Real estate experts or brokers
  • Corporate Employees

Continue reading

Proposed rule will harm Lake County taxpayers, small business owners

HowardHandlerIt is not uncommon for particular industries to attempt to use government regulation to limit competition. Take for instance a recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule requiring tax preparers, except attorneys and Certified Public Accountants, to be licensed and regulated by the IRS. This rule change was supported by the big tax preparers because it would drive smaller, independent consultants out of business and allow the big guys to increase prices – the Washington Times called it “crony capitalism.” Ultimately a federal judge declared the rule change unlawful.

Lake County is now in the midst of its own industry turf war. The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) has been pressing the Lake County Board of Review (BOR) – an agency mandated to review property assessment appeals — to enact a rule prohibiting non-attorneys from representing property owners before the BOR. While such a rule change will, by eliminating competition, surely benefit the legal community, others will be harmed.

First, Lake County property owners will face a reduced number of choices as to who can best represent their interests. With decreased competition, attorneys will likely be able to increase their fees, costing Lake County taxpayers, who choose not to represent themselves pro se, more money to access this county service. Moreover, there is concern that attorneys will primarily focus their efforts on higher valued properties, leaving those property owners assessed at relatively lower values without the benefit of representation before the Board of Review.

Second, Lake County professionals, including real estate brokers, appraisers, CPAs, and others that specialize in this line of work, will immediately face a shutdown of business in Lake County. A licensed real estate broker trained and experienced in the valuation of real estate will be barred from representing property owners before the BOR while an attorney fresh out of law school with no background in real estate will be welcome to do so.

The ISBA contends non-attorneys representing property owners before the BOR constitutes the unlicensed practice of law. However many attorneys and experts disagree with such a charge. And ironically the BOR members who hear and rule on the cases are not attorneys themselves.

While the BOR is not acting with malice, they have not nor will specify the basis of their conclusion that the representation of property owners by non-attorneys constitutes the unlicensed practice of law. Moreover, it is not the purview of the BOR, comprised of three non-attorneys, to determine what constitutes the unlicensed practice of law – that is primarily the domain of the courts and the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission; let’s leave such matters in their hands.

Lake County residents can send their feedback on this rule change to and also to their Lake County Board Member; you may locate your Board Member and their contact information at:

Howard Handler is Government Affairs Director for the not-for-profit North Shore – Barrington Association of REALTORS and the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS (Lake County). Handler, a licensed real estate broker, received his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and his master’s degree in public policy and administration from Northwestern University. Prior to his work with the REALTORS, Handler served as an analyst and hearing officer at the Cook County Board of Review. He can be reached at: