Ask and ye shall receive? predicting the successful appeal of property tax assessments

Rachel N. Weber, Daniel P. McMillen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Appeal processes provide important opportunities to challenge administrative decisions, but adjudicators often lack access to information relevant to the disputed claim. This article examines the motivations for property tax assessment appeals as well as the factors that influence the decision to grant or deny these appeals. We ask whether and how the relative lack of comparable sales in a neighborhood influences the frequency of property assessment appeal applications and their likelihood of success. Using a data set of appeal applications submitted to the first two levels of assessment review in Chicago in 2000 and 2003, we estimate the probability of successful appeal for residential property owners using a sequential probit model. We find that information-rich environments have the potential to both temper the perception of individual mistreatment and improve the quality of assessor decision making. Appeals can compound the lack of uniformity in assessments found in markets with little sales activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)74-101
Number of pages28
JournalPublic Finance Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Appeal process
  • Assessment
  • Property tax
  • Uniformity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Administration


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