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Ask and Ye Shall Receive?

Predicting the Successful Appeal of Property Tax Assessments

Rachel N. Weber and Daniel P. McMillen

February 2006, English

How does the relative lack of comparable sales in a neighborhood influence the frequency of property assessment appeal applications and their likelihood of success? Using a data set of appeals applications submitted and decided in Chicago during reassessment years 2000, 2003, and 2006, we estimate the probability of successful appeals for small residential properties as a function of market activity and relevant independent variables. Even though the appeals process is intended to improve valuation practices and enhance the perceived fairness of the system, it can exacerbate a lack of assessment uniformity if appeals activity and success are correlated with other neighborhood and site-specific attributes. We find that information-rich environments not only temper the perception of individual mistreatment, but they also improve the quality of assessor decision-making. As such thick markets account for both fewer appeals applications and few instances of success than thinner ones.


Assessment, Local Government, Property Taxation, Taxation, Valuation