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.
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.
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:
Evanston Tax Bills Dash Hopes that Reassessment Might Be Kind to Homeowners
A whopping 86% of homeowners in Evanston are seeing property tax increases this year. A breakdown compiled by Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin shows that 11,924 of 13,810 residential properties have a tax bill that is higher – substantially in many cases – than last year’s.
Suffredin’s office has offered to help Evanston property owners who believe their tax bill contains errors or who may have overlooked an exemption that could lead to a reduction.
Illinois Legislators Approve Automatic Renewal of Exemptions Due to COVID-19
Seniors, disabled veterans, and people with disabilities will no longer have to apply annually to receive the benefit of property tax exemptions for which they are eligible, under a statewide law passed recently to expand relief for hard-hit homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, who pushed for the law, announced the bill’s passage in a press release on June 11.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put tremendous pressure on Cook County homeowners,” said Kaegi. “We’re pleased to work with the legislature, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, and the County Board to help at-risk homeowners when they need it most.”
Cook County Extends Deadline for Paying Property Tax Payments without Late Fees
Cook County property owners will have until Oct. 1 to pay the second installment property tax bill which would have been due on Aug. 3 with no late fees, under a measure intended to provide some relief to taxpayers suffering economic hardship as a result of the coronavirus shutdown.
The measure, approved by the Cook County Board last week, waives the late fees that would normally begin accruing in August.
Two Illinois state representatives have introduced similar measures to delay property tax payments statewide.
Property Tax Relief For Small Multifamily Property Owners
With unemployment at the highest it has been since the Great Depression, many American families are struggling to pay rent. Last month, a third of all renters failed to pay on time – a number that will likely increase as unemployment continues to rise.
In the Chicago area, evictions and foreclosures are banned during the shelter-in-place order. During this time, mom-and-pop building owners with 10 or fewer units are likely to be hardest hit, along with other small, multifamily properties and low-to-moderate income housing.
For Cook County’s small multifamily building landlords, it is a threat that makes the property tax assessment process even more important. Nearly half of Chicago residents are renters, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Smaller building landlords face the prospect of a growing number of tenants struggling to pay their rent. For landlords who cater to Chicago area college students, the prospects may be even grimmer if the pandemic interrupts a return to campus in the fall.
Harris County Property Tax Protest Deadline Nearing
With all that’s going on in the world right now, it’s easy to lose track of important deadlines.
While the Harris County Appraisal District has postponed its property tax workshops and closed its physical offices to the public, the office will continue to accept protests online.
The deadline to file a property tax protest is the later of May 15, 2020, or 30 days after the Notices of Appraised Value are mailed out by the appraisal district.
Reassessment Hikes Hit Some Evanston Homeowners Hard
Some Evanston homeowners seeing the results of the recently completed property tax reassessment are reeling from increases of more than 50 percent, according to news reports.
The reassessment, while conducted under a formula tweaked by a new tax assessor working to revamp the much-criticized processes under his predecessor, is not expected to bring much good news to the county’s northernmost townships, particularly for homeowners along the lakefront.
Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who urged residents to appeal their assessments both to the assessor’s office and to the Cook County Board of Review, reported through his office that homeowners along the lake had median increases in assessed values of 50%, while those in Evanston’s south and southwest neighborhoods had median increases of between 6% and 9%.