Property Tax Exemption Deadline Approaching for Some Cook County Homeowners
Eligible Cook County homeowners who did not receive the Homeowner Exemption in 2019 need to file an application for exemption with the Cook County Assessor’s Office by April 9, 2021.
The Homeowner Exemption reduces the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) of a primary residence by $10,000. Your property tax bill is calculated by multiplying the tax rate in your local district by the EAV. The Homeowner Exemption is available to anyone who owns or leases their principal place of residence in Cook County and is responsible for the property taxes.
The exemption renews automatically so it is not necessary to reapply if you are still living in the same home where you received the exemption last year.
No “Silver Bullet” for Property Tax Relief in Illinois
Created by the General Assembly in the summer of 2019 to address an “opaque” and unpopular system that has left Illinois with the second highest tax rate in the country, a property tax relief task force recommended a four-part, decade-long attack.
The group’s recommendations – summarized in a draft report included as part of a study Treasurer Maria Pappas released documenting the 20-year climb of Cook County property taxes – illustrate the difficulty of revamping a tax system built around the funding needs of 6,968 separate taxing districts. That’s more than any other state in the country by a margin of 2,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data cited in the report. Second-place Pennsylvania has nearly 5,000.
Consolidating such government units is at the heart of the recommendations made by the 88-member legislative task force, which held dozens of hearings around the state over a five-month period in 2019.
How to Refinance Your Mortgage Without Paying Closing Costs Upfront
Many homeowners would like to refinance their mortgages but are turned off by the concept of upfront closing costs and fees. Typically, closing costs represent 2-5% of the loan’s total value, but this nominal fee shouldn’t scare you away from refinancing. In the long run, you could still be saving thousands.
There are many options for homeowners when it comes to paying the closing cost and fees associated with refinancing their mortgage loan. From rolling them into the cost of your loan to finding a lender who can do a zero-cost closing, there are numerous ways to handle these costs.
Now Is the Time to Shop for Low Refinancing Rates
One reason people give for not refinancing their mortgage loans is the belief that they’re not going to get a better rate than the one they already have, but with record-low interest rates, that’s an increasingly unlikely scenario.
Unless you have recently refinanced your mortgage, there’s a good chance you are paying more than you should in interest. However, many people are hesitant to refinance, intimidated by the process of shopping around or concerned that it will take too much time and effort to find a lower rate.
Treasurer’s Study Shows the 20-Year Climb of Cook County Property Tax Bills
If you feel like your property taxes have been rising out of proportion to your income or the rise in the cost of living, a study by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas shows you are probably right.
The study shows that the amount of property taxes billed throughout Cook County have increased 99% since 2000: from $7.85 billion in 2000 to $15.58 billion last year.
Study Shows “Significant” Underassessments of Chicago Commercial Properties in 2018
Sales data for commercial properties in all but two Chicago townships in 2018 show that many assessments fell far short of corresponding market values, according to a recently released analysis by the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO).
The findings follow a June 2019 study of residential sales and market values that found similar problems with underassessment and lack of uniformity for residential properties in the city of Chicago.
Cook County COVID-19 Property Tax Payment Extension Expires Oct. 1
The Cook County COVID-19 property tax payment extension expires Oct. 1, 2020, the last day to pay the second installment tax without penalty. Typically due Aug. 3, the second installment interest penalties for late payments were postponed in recognition of strained economic conditions caused by the pandemic. Any payments made on or before Oct. 1 will be considered paid on time.
Under state law, late property tax payments are charged 1.5% of the total property taxes owed per month, which is collected by the Cook County Treasurer. Payments made after the Oct. 1 deadline will be subject to late payments.
Error Leaves Some Thornton, Proviso Homeowners Waiting for COVID Adjustments
Some homeowners in Thornton and Proviso Townships will have to wait a little longer to learn how next year’s property tax bill will be impacted by the Cook County Assessor’s adjustment for COVID-19 hardships.
That’s because a processing error left some properties out when the office was applying COVID adjustments to the property tax assessment in those townships, according to a press release. The error does not affect this year’s tax bill because the adjustments will be factored in assessed values used to calculate next year’s property tax bills.
Get Started Appealing Your Assessment with the Ease of Clickable E-Signature
Property owners can now sign property tax appeal forms electronically – with no need to obtain the services of a notary
At Kensington, our services are designed to help property owners save time and money, and we put a premium on making things as convenient for our clients as possible.
These days, however, there’s more than convenience to be gained in streamlining the process. Our adoption of e-signature capability means you don’t have to go out searching for a notary to notarize your documents. That’s an unnecessary risk in a pandemic year. But it’s also time you can put to better use, as the process of appealing your assessment is now easier than ever.
To accommodate the need for social distancing safeguards, the Cook County Assessor’s Office no longer requires the notarizing of forms to start the appeal process: a digital signature is all you need. The start of your appeal is just a few clicks away.
Understanding the Factors That Determine the Size of Your Property Tax Bill
When you open your property tax bill, it’s easy to see if you’re going to be paying more, but the reasons why can be harder to understand.
Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough offers a brief explanation in a recent release accompanying the 2019 tax rates. The release includes the “four most impactful factors” that determine whether an individual property tax bill goes up or down. The bad news is, they’re going up in a lot of cases. But every tax bill is a collection of individual components.
Here are the four factors that determine the size of your tax bill, followed by some explanation around what you can (and can’t) do about them: