Due to the ongoing effects of the COVID19 pandemic, the Cook County Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance which provides some relief for taxpayers by waiving the respective penalties and interest for second installment tax bills paid after the August 3, 2020 deadline but before October 1, 2020.
“The work of calculating and publishing these tax rates is a massive effort that Real Estate and Taxes staff, working together with municipal offices, undertake every year,” said Karen A. Yarbrough, Cook County Clerk. “It is a formidable task in ordinary times, but as we know, the past few months have been extraordinary, with enormous challenges. Yet, in spite of the challenges COVID-19 presented, our talented staff was able to complete our tax calculation requirements within our deadline. I commend the team for their diligence to see this through while working remotely, away from their usual workplaces.”
Once again, the total property taxes billed for taxing districts in Cook County has broken previous records. Last year the total tax billed was $14.9 billion, this year the total tax billed is nearly $15.6 billion. This is a 4.1% increase which is due to several factors which may have impacted each property.
Property changes can be analyzed in many ways such as, but not limited to, by region or large dollar changes by city/village, in order to assess the changes impacting Cook County properties as a whole. Thus, the examples below examine possible property tax changes for Average Single-Family Dwellings and Commercial properties utilizing an average estimated market value by regions.
The examples below examine possible property tax changes for a residential property with the same estimated market value across three different regions to show the impact of the tax rate across the respective region:
The examples below examine possible property tax changes for a commercial property with the same estimated market value across three different regions indicating the impact to the potential tax bill:
Largest Tax Increases by Area
Individual properties will experience much larger increases or decreases than others due to numerous factors which may impact a property tax bill change year over year. Below is a snapshot of some of the properties experiencing the largest increases across the County this year.
Factors that Impact Property Tax Increases or Decreases
The figures above give an example of average trends within Cook County. The average residential tax bill is likely to increase by less than 2% for tax year 2019 for some properties, while others may experience a larger increase.
With over 1,400 taxing districts servicing over 1.8 million properties of numerous classifications and values, there is a great deal of variability in individual tax bills and in the changes that individual taxpayers may experience compared to last year. This variability is based on a number of factors.
The four most impactful factors which affect whether or not individual property tax bills will increase or decrease are:
- The amount of property tax requested by the taxing districts (property tax levies)
- The change in the value of a property relative to other properties within the same districts (property assessment)
- The change in the state-issued equalization factor compared to the prior year (from 2.9109 for 2018 to 2.9160 for 2019)
- Property tax exemptions. For example, if a property received a Homeowner Exemption one year, but did not receive it the following year, the final taxable value of that property could be up to 10,000 higher without the exemption.
Municipalities with Largest Increases and Decreases in Total Tax Billed
Below is a map Cook County displaying the percent increase or decrease in total property tax billed within each City or Village for tax year 2019. The five municipalities with the highest total tax increases and the five municipalities with the largest decreases in total tax are listed in the table to the right.
The map and table above display some of the variation that can occur in tax bills across the County.
As an example, every property in the Village of Bensenville will not realize a 43% tax increase. Even within this relatively small municipality (approximately 70 properties in Cook County), if we were to analyze it even further, individual tax bills of two properties less than a quarter mile apart decreased by as much as -56% and increased by as much as 1200%.
Property Tax Cycle in Cook County
Property assessments in Cook County are set by the Cook County Assessor and finalized by the Cook County Board of Review. These assessments are equalized using the Illinois Department of Revenue’s (IDOR) state equalization factor. (To ensure uniform assessment statewide, each year the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) calculates the factor needed to bring the total assessed
value of all properties in Cook County to a level equal to 33 1/3 percent of the total market value of all Cook County real estate.)
Cook County is divided into three regions for assessment purposes and each of these regions are reassessed every three years (“triennials”). For tax year 2019, the north and northwestern suburbs were reassessed. The City of Chicago was reassessed for tax year 2018 and currently the southern and western suburbs are being reassessed for tax year 2020. The Cook County Assessor is revising assessments for tax year 2020 due to impacts of the COVID19 pandemic. (See the Cook County Assessor’s website for more information: (https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/).
The overall taxable value or equalized assessed value (EAV) in Cook County increased by 5.3% this year. The chart below reflects changes in equalized assessed values across Cook County. The largest changes this year are in the north and northwestern suburbs which were reassessed for tax year 2019.
How Tax Amounts Are Calculated
Individual tax bills are calculated as follows:
How Tax Rates Are Calculated
In simple terms, a tax rate is a taxing district’s property tax levy divided by taxable value within that district.
Determining property tax rates requires input from multiple county offices and all of the taxing districts in Cook County. A taxing district is a government body such as a school district, library or municipality which is authorized to receive funding from property taxes. Each district in Cook County submits a property tax levy to the County Clerk each year.
The County Clerk is responsible for calculating tax rates by dividing these levies by the total taxable value (EAV) of all property within each district as determined by the Cook County Assessor and Board of Review. The tax rates of all districts that service a particular property are combined to create the composite tax rate for that property.
Statutory Limits on Tax Increases
The Illinois Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), also known as the “Tax Cap Law,” was put in place in the mid-1990s to prevent districts from increasing their property tax revenues by more than the rate of inflation. This year, districts were limited to an increase of 1.9%. (the 2019 Consumer Price Index). However, PTELL does not apply to home rule districts, debt obligations, special purpose funds and value derived from new property or value derived from terminated Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIFs).
The Total Taxes billed in Cook County increased 4.1% for tax year 2019 compared to 2018. The chart below reflects a breakdown of tax increases by region.
Analysis of North Suburban Cook County
The Cook County Assessor reassessed the north and northwestern suburbs for tax year 2019. This resulted in a 15.1% increase in the overall taxable value (EAV) of this region. The total tax amount billed in this area increased 5.4%, and the overall tax rate for this region decreased approximately 9.3%.
Taxable values, rates, and tax bills will vary greatly across the north and northwestern suburbs due the different types of properties that exist in different communities and due to the large number of municipalities, school districts, park districts and other taxing districts which provide different services. Specific areas will see larger or smaller tax increases depending on the taxing districts associated with those areas. In addition to having different tax rates throughout the suburbs, taxpayers within the same suburb may pay different rates based on their designated taxing district which provides their services. For example, in the Village of Skokie, there are six elementary school districts. Thus, taxpayers have rates that range between 7.517% and 11.024% largely dependent upon which school district in which they reside. Each second installment tax bill will itemize the list of districts that contribute to a property’s final tax amount.
The charts below reflect the north and northwest suburbs which were reassessed for tax year 2019 and their percent change in total tax.
Property tax bills may also see changes due to differences in assessment changes. In the City of Evanston, for example, the total taxable value increased 26.1%. When coupled with a reduction of -14.6% in the average tax rate, taxpayers whose properties follow this trend in Evanston could expect a tax increase of approximately 8.5%. Even within this one municipality, similar to Bensenville, individual tax bills will change based on the specific factors that impact each property.
Tax differences range between a 100% reduction for properties that were previously taxable and are now exempt from taxation, to a tax increase of $763,000 for a commercial property near Chicago Avenue and Church Street which had a 60% increase in assessed value.
Analysis of the City of Chicago
The City of Chicago was not reassessed for Tax Year 2019 other than new construction projects and specific assessment appeals. For an individual property which has not been reassessed since last year, the Assessed Value (AV) would be unchanged. The Equalization Factor issued by the Illinois Department of Revenue changed very slightly, from 2.9109 in 2018 to 2.9160 in 2019. Therefore, most properties in the City of Chicago will experience a 0.2% increase in taxable value (EAV).
The general composite tax rate in the City of Chicago increased 1.5% from 6.786% in 2018 to 6.890% in 2019. This increase is primarily due to levy increases in the major taxing districts within the City of Chicago, including a $98.1 million increase in the City of Chicago’s levy and a $112.6 million increase in the taxes generated from the Chicago Board of Education.
For properties in the City of Chicago that had no assessed value change, the combination of the 1.5% increase in the City’s general composite tax rate and a 0.2% increase in the Equalization Factor will generally result in a 1.7% property tax increase.
Analysis of the City of Chicago Wards
There are 50 Wards in the City of the Chicago and not all will experience the same tax increase. We noted the most significant residential property tax increase was in Ward 2 and the greatest individual commercial property tax increase was in Ward 25.
Variations will occur for properties that were reassessed due to new construction, appeals, or other factors. Assessment increases or decreases will likely result in commensurate changes in taxable value and property taxes. Additionally, properties that lie within specialty districts such as Expanded Mental Health Services, Home Equity Assurance, or Special Service Areas will likely experience tax rate changes.
Variation may also occur due to assessment changes for individual properties. Tax differences range between a 100% reduction for properties that were previously taxable and are now exempt from taxation, to a tax increase of $3.7 million for a property located near the Old Chicago Post Office.
Analysis of South Suburban Cook County
As with the City of Chicago, the south and west suburbs of Cook County were not reassessed for tax year 2019. However, whereas tax rates in the City of Chicago tend to be uniform, tax rates in suburban Cook County experience more variations due to the larger number and combination of taxing districts in the suburbs.
The southern and western suburbs have historically had lower property values and thus higher tax rates than both the City of Chicago and the northern suburbs. The combination of lower property values and higher tax rates do not necessarily result in higher or lower tax bills. (See FAQs for additional information.)
As occurs in the northern suburbs, tax rates differ in the various southern suburbs due to the large number of municipalities, school districts, park districts and other taxing districts which provide different services. Specific areas will see larger or smaller tax increases depending on the taxing districts associated with those areas. Additionally, taxpayers within the same suburb may pay different rates based on the specific taxing districts which provide their services. For example, in the Village of Lynwood some taxpayers in School District 172 have a composite tax rate of 11.798% while other taxpayers in School District 169 have a composite tax rate of 26.180%. These properties are in the same municipality, but have different tax rates because of the different taxing districts that serve them. As such, comparable properties could therefore have very different tax bills.
The chart below is a chart of south west suburbs and their percent change in total tax billed for 2019.
- This report has presented the general trends occurring in Cook County. Each tax bill will vary depending on specific circumstances including taxing district levies, individual assessments and other factors.
- The overall taxable value (EAV) in Cook County has increased 5.3% for tax year 2019 compared to 2018.
- The total tax amount billed in Cook County has increased 4.1%, exceeding $15.6 billion for tax year 2019.
- Assessment increases in the northern/northwestern suburbs have generally resulted in higher taxable values and lower tax rates which, combined, result in slightly higher tax bills on average. Therefore, individual tax bill changes will vary.
- The 2019 second installment property tax bill payments are due August 3, 2020, but in an effort to provide taxpayer relief, penalties and interest for late payment to the second installment bills will be waived if paid by October 1, 2020. Unpaid first installment tax bills (which were due March 1, 2020) will continue to accrue penalties and interest.