Some Cook County homeowners on the hook for additional property taxes
Irving Myrick only recently discovered that the property taxes on the retirement home he bought in Markham in 2012 were double what he thought he'd owe at the time of purchase. Now he’s fighting just to be able to afford to keep the house.
“The way I found out was ABC was over at my neighbor’s a couple of weeks ago doing a story about the taxes on their house,” Myrick told Chicago City Wire. “Then they looked at mine and found out the same thing was going on at my house.”
In a practice called property index number (PIN) slamming, Cook County assigned a PIN to both of the lots on which the homes were built. With penalties, Myrick owes more than $42,000 in back taxes on what he estimates to be a $190,000 house.
Myrick said that a local Huntington Bank branch has reached out to help, but he has heard from no one else including his state Sen. Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) and his state Rep. William Davis (D-Homewood).
PIN slamming is more common than Cook County homeowners realize, said John Mirkovic, deputy recorder of deeds for the county.
“It’s not necessarily malicious,” Mirkovic said. “It’s just that the property tax system is so complicated and spread out over so many offices that it’s stacked against regular people. It’s set up that way intentionally so that people have to rely on attorneys and title companies.”
But Myrick said neither an attorney he hired nor a title company he used alerted him that the house had two PINs assigned to it. Now he’s debating whether to pay another attorney a $1,000 retainer to sue the title company and his original attorney.
“Now I’m in for more hurt having to go out and hire another lawyer,” he said.
Even without PIN slamming, suburban Cook County homeowners already pay some of the highest effective tax rates (property taxes per percentage of home value) in the United States.
And on average, homeowners in Illinois pay 2.3 percent of their home value in property taxes; that's 260 percent higher than homeowners in Indiana (0.87 percent) and 383 percent higher than in Colorado (0.60 percent).