Let’s be honest, taxes can be confusing – especially property taxes! Whether you’re moving to Illinois from another state, buying your first house in the area, or are just wanting to understand more about property taxes in Cook County, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve created a complete guide to the Cook County property taxes. We’ll answer everything about how they’re calculated, what they pay for, how to pay them, the Cook County property tax portal, and so much more.
Cook County Property Taxes
Let’s start off by defining what a property tax actually is. To put it simply, a property tax is an ad valorem tax (a tax whose amount is based on the value of the property) that is paid by an individual (or entity) on an owned property (a.k.a. you!).
How did property taxes come to be? Property taxes actually started all the way back in 1797 when the government needed funding for the U.S. Navy. Back then, taxes were started as a response to needing to finance the wars. However, the modern property tax that we know today was implemented in 1916. Instead of wars, nowadays, property taxes are used to fund government initiatives and services, things such as fire and police protection, libraries, schools, and road work. This is why it makes sense that neighborhoods with higher property taxes tend to have good school districts, safe neighborhoods, and plenty of neighborhood amenities that only homeowners in that neighborhood or county can enjoy.
No one wants to pay high property taxes, but sometimes higher property taxes mean you’re getting better amenities and services.
Now let’s break down the property tax system step by step:
First, the assessor will assess all real estate located throughout the county and establish a fair market value for each property. Then, the appeals are accepted and decisions are made about changes or exemptions to reduce property taxes. Next, the clerk will determine the tax rates based on the levy ordinances passed by taxing agencies (the agencies who receive a portion of all property taxes paid). They will apply the rate to the assessments received from the assessor to determine the amount of property tax owed. Finally, the treasurer mails out property tax bills and will collect the money. The treasurer takes these funds and divides up money to send it to each entity.
As you just read, there are three main agencies in charge of property taxes: the assessor, the tax collector, and the treasurer. Let’s break down these roles.
The assessor determines the value of the physical home (or other property) and the land it sits on. They’re basically estimating the market value for all of the owned property. In order to do this, the assessor takes into account the value of the home, the land, and other personal property (think things like cars and boats). They will also work with local authorities to look at local property values.
Cook County’s Assessor is Fritz Kaegi.
There are four office locations where you can schedule an appointment to talk with an assessor. To set up an appointment, click here.
- 118 N. Clark Street, Room 320 Chicago, IL 60602
Markham Branch Office
- 16501 S. Kedzie Ave, Markham, IL 60426
Skokie Branch Office
- 5600 W. Old Orchard Rd., Room #149, Skokie, IL 60077
Bridgeview Branch Office – Closed due to construction
Now let’s get into the clerk’s office. The clerks determine the amount of property tax that is actually owned after reviewing things like exemptions. The clerk’s office also maintains delinquent tax records, tax maps, and information regarding TIF districts.
Karen A. Yarbrough, Cook County Clerk
The treasurer’s office is the one that actually bills the taxes and collects the money. After collecting the money, they divide the money and send it to where it is allocated.
Cook County Treasurer’s Office
- 118 North Clark Street, Room 112, Chicago, Illinois, 60602
- (312) 443-5100
Cook County Property Tax Rate
How are your property taxes calculated?
The assessor will determine the fair market value of your home. After this, the assessed value of your home is calculated. For residential property owners, the assessed value is 10% of the fair market value. For commercial property, the assessed value is 25% of the fair market value. For example, if your home has a market value of $100,000, the assessed value would be $10,000. The $10,000 is the actual taxable value. Most properties will be reassessed every 3 years.
The value of your property is determined by many factors. Basically, the number is what the fair value cash for your property would be if it was sold today. In Cook County, the fair market value is based on your home’s characteristics and patterns between how other homes’ characteristics affected their sale value. The assessment of the value of your property can increase for many factors, as well. For example, if your neighborhood is improving, the sales prices of homes in your area are increasing, inflation, or other factors.
This is an example of what you can expect to see every year from your treasurer:
This is your tax bill. You will see two installments, the first due in March, and the second due in August.
What is Cook County’s tax rate?
The tax rate in Cook County can be found by putting in your individual address or PIN number in their system. To find your tax rate by address or pin number, click here: Cook County Tax Rate. On average, the property tax rate is usually between 1.38% and 2.32%. This is higher than the national average of 1.1%. Cook County has one of the highest property tax rates in the U.S. and is actually one of the highest in Illinois. On average, residents in Cook County can expect to pay around $3,691 a year in property taxes. The average U.S. property tax bill is $2,471.
There is a Tax Map Department in the Cook County clerk’s office. Here there is a drawn tax map for all of the county. Learn more about it here: Cook County Tax Map
Cook County Property Tax Payments
When to pay my property taxes in Cook County
Your 1st property tax will be sent out by the treasurers at the end of January. Once you receive it, you have until March 1st to pay your first installment. Then, in midsummer, your send installment will be mailed and you have until 30 days after to pay your second installment. Failure to pay on time will result in having to pay your balance plus 1.5% interest per month. If you wait so long that your taxes have been sold at the tax sale, you must pay your delinquent tax + monthly interest + tax buyer interest + fees to the tax buyer to regain clear title to your property. For more information on this, visit Cook County Pay Property Taxes.
Where to pay my Cook County property taxes
You can pay your property taxes online for free on the Cook County Treasurer’s office website or by logging into the Cook County property tax portal. You can also pay at any Chase Bank location in Illinois, including the ones located outside of Cook County. You may also pay at more than 100 community banks where you have an account already set up. Aside from those, you can pay by mailing it in to the treasurer’s office or in person at the treasurer’s office.
Cook County Property Search
If you want to conduct a Cook County property search to see the property tax information on your home, or a home you want to buy, there are a few options in Cook County. You can use the Cook County property tax portal and enter the address of the property or a PIN if you have one, to view tax data related to that property. Property tax records are public information, so as long as you know the address you can find out what the property pays in property taxes each year.
You can also use the search tool provided by the Cook County assessor’s office, and search a property by its address or by PIN.
Cook County Property Tax Exemptions
There are many different tax exemptions in Cook County that help reduce your property tax bill, including:
- Homeowner Exemption – this is an exemption that most homeowners are eligible for if they own and occupy the property as their principal place of residence. This exemption automatically renews each year.
- Senior Exemption – Most senior homeowners are eligible for this exemption if they are 65 years or older and own and occupy their property as their principal place of residence. It is renewed each year.
- Senior Freeze Exemption – If you meet the requirements for the senior exemption and have a total household annual income of $65,000 or less in the year. It will be automatically renewed each year.
- Persons with Disabilities Exemption – Homeowners that are disabled or become disabled during the tax year. It will be automatically renewed each year.
- Returning Veterans Exemption – Veterans returning from their active duty in armed conflict. This must be filled annually
- Veterans with Disabilities Exemption – Veteran with a service-connected disability as certified by the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs. This will automatically renew each year.
- Long-Time Homeowner Exemption – Provides homeowners with an expanded homeowner exemption with no maximum exemption amount. It must be filed annually.
- Home Improvement Exemption – This allows homeowners to add improvements to their homes that add to their value. This lasts up to four years.
For more information on tax exemptions and to see if you qualify, visit Cook County Property Tax Exemptions.
Cook County Property Tax Appeals
Are your Cook County property taxes too high? If you want to appeal a property tax, you can file an appeal with the County Assessor or the County Board of Review. You typically need to do this within 30 days of receiving your bill. Appeal reviewers may take as long as 3-5 months to finalize a decision on the tax. All tax savings granted by the assessor will appear on your second installment tax bill. For more information about appealing a property tax in Cook County, visit Cook County Tax Appeals.
Cook County Property Tax FAQ
When are property taxes due in Cook County?
Taxes are sent in January and mi-summer and must be paid by March 1st and 30 days after the second installment was sent.
When are property taxes mailed out in Cook County?
The Cook County Treasurer’s Office mails tax bills on September 1st.
What age do you stop paying property taxes in Illinois?
Most senior homeowners can apply for an exemption if they are 65 and own and occupy their property as thier principal place of residence.
How do I pay property taxes in Cook County?
You can pay your property taxes online for free, at a Chase Bank in Illinois, at a community bank, or through mail or in person at the treasurer’s office.
If you own property, paying property taxes is a necessity. If you’re looking to buy property and move to Cook County, let the top Cook County movers help you with the relocation! Fill out our form for a free quote, or give us a call at 309-690-0000.