2021 Property Tax Bill Assistance
Questions, answers, and solutions to questions about second-installment property tax bills issued in August of 2021 (for Tax Year 2020), which are due on October 1st, 2021.
Incorrect/missing tax bill questions
Calculating a Tax Bill
Questions about Changes in Your Tax Bill
Missing exemptions on tax bills
Certificates of Error
Assessment and Appeal Questions
PIN and Classification Questions
Legal Payments and Legal Descriptions
Incorrect/missing tax bill questions
The Cook County Treasurer's Office mails tax bills and collects payments. The 2021 tax bills will mail on September 1st. To review a copy of your bill online, go to the Get A Copy Of Your Tax Bill section of the Treasurer's website.
For other tax information and/or a copy of your bill, you must contact the Cook County Treasurer's Office at 312-443-5100 or visit their website at: www.cookcountytreasurer.com
The County’s property tax offices recently announced an extended due date until October 1st. While taxes from the 2021 second installment tax bill (which reflect 2020 assessments) are usually due in August, the due date was postponed until October 1st.
To change a name or a mailing address on a bill, you must contact the Cook County Treasurer's Office at 312-443-5100. You may also visit their website at: www.cookcountytreasurer.com
To change a property's location, you can submit the Property Location Correction form online or by printing and mailing the form from: https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/form-document/property-location-correction
Missing exemptions on tax bills
For Tax Year 2020 second installment bills due on October 1st, 2021, the Assessor's Office has detected that some exemptions were not applied correctly to some taxpayer's bills.
The Assessor's Office will issue a corrected tax bill (also known as a Certificate of Error Reccommended Tax Bill). The corrected bill will arrive in the mail in within the next two weeks.
After August 23rd, taxpayers will be able to check whether a certificate of error has been issued.
Help us efficiently serve you.
Before you apply for a Certificate of Error for an exemption, please follow the three steps below first to see whether a Certificate of Error has already been issued for you. Every application is manually processed by our staff, so every unnecessary application produces inefficiencies and delays for all taxpayers.
First, find the CCAO's records for your property's PIN: search.
Scroll down to the Exemption History tab.
✔ Yes: The Homeowner and Senior Exemptions were applied to this PIN’s Tax Year 2020 second installment property tax bill due October 1st, 2020. This taxpayer already received these savings. They are not eligible for a Certificate of Error for Tax Year 2020.
? N/A: The Senior Freeze exemption was not applied to the second-installment bill for Tax Year 2020, and there were no exemptions applied to the second-installment bill for Tax Year 2019. However, it's possible the Assessor’s Office has already issued any Certificates of Error for these exemptions. Please check the Certificate of Error tab.
Scroll down to the Certificate of Error tab.
✔ Yes: The Assessor’s Office has already issued a 2020 Certificate of Error for the Senior Freeze exemption for this taxpayer. They do not need to apply for a 2020 Certificate of Error. They will receive a corrected bill automatically.
If there was not a Certificate of Error issued in Tax Year 2019, and this taxpayer was eligible for exemption(s) and has already paid this bill, they could apply for a Certificate of Error for Tax Year 2018. Please see instructions, call, or send us a message to confirm before applying.
Note: in the interest of privacy, the Assessor's Office website does not display the status of the Longtime, Persons with Disabilities, Veterans with Disabilities, or Returning Veterans exemption. If you believe you are eligible for a Certificate of Error for any these exemptions, please check with Assessor's Office staff first.
If you believe you need to apply for a Certificate of Error, please verify your eligibility by contacting us first: (312) 443-7550.
You can learn more about the Certificates of Error process here: https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/certificates-error
After you submit your application for a Certificate of Error for an exemption (like the Homeowner's exemption), it will be marked as "Processing". Please note it will take the Assessor's Office 1-6 weeks to process your application, review the documents (like Photo ID) you attach with it, and confirm your eligibility for the Certificate of Error under Illinois law.
After the Assessor's Office staff have processed your application, you will receive an email sent from OnlineExemptions@cookcountyassessor.com, via the Docusign system.
"All Signers have Completed" indicates that your Certificate of Error application has been processed and accepted by our staff. Your Certificate of Error has been issued, and you will receive a new, corrected tax bill in the mail within two weeks.
"Declined to Sign" indicates that the Assessor's Office was not able to determine your eligibility for this Certificate of Error and that your application was declined. The reason for declining is stated in the email. The most common reason is an incorrect PIN number. Another common reason is that the photo ID did not match the property address, and no other document was sent to verify occupancy. Please see our ID guide here.
No. You are all set. Your mortgage company automatically receives the adjusted tax bill amount from the Cook County Treasurer's Office before they make a payment.
Your savings will be shown on the right hand side of the Certificate of Error Recommended Tax Bill (the difference between the total original tax and the total recommended tax).
For a valuation-related Certificate of Error, it will take up to 180 days for the Assessor's Office to certify your Certificate of Error Recommended Tax Bill. Once certified, the Cook County Treasurer's office will issue the refund within 10 days.
For an exemption-related Certificate of Error, it will take up to 60 days for the Assessor's Office to certify your Certificate of Error Recommended Tax Bill. Once certified, the Cook County Treasurer's office will issue the refund within 10 days.
No. You are all set. If you or your mortgage company paid the original tax amount in full, the Cook County Treasurer's Office will issue a refund in the amount of the difference.
Calculating a Tax Bill
Your property tax bill represents your share of the budgets approved by local taxing bodies for their operations. Property taxes are one of the main sources of funding for local government services, such as park districts, fire districts, and public education. Your bill depends on more than your property assessment: it also depends on the funds these local government services need to operate.
Property tax bills are mailed twice a year. Your first-installment is due at the beginning of March. By law, the first-installment property tax bill is exactly 55% percent of the previous year's total tax amount. The second-installment property tax bill is mailed and due in late summer; it reflects new tax rates, levies, assessments, and any tax exemptions for which you have qualified and applied.
The following is an example of how an estimated tax bill is calculated.
Here's an example of how a tax bill could be calculated, for a home with an estimated fair market value of $100,000 and a local tax rate of 8%. Please note the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) is the partial value of the property. It is the figure on which the tax bill is calculated. Also note that exemptions are deducted from the EAV, which will likely lower the tax bill. The exemption amount is not the dollar amount by which the tax bill could be lowered.
|$100,000||2020 Estimated Fair Market Value of home (example)|
|X.10||Assessment Level (10% for residential properties)|
|$10,000||2020 Assessed Value|
|X 2.916||2020 State Equalizer|
|$29,160||2020 Equalized Assessed Value (EAV)|
|-10,000||2020 Homeowner Exemption|
|$19,160||2020 Adjusted Equalized Assessed Value|
|X.08||2020 Tax Rate (8% example; your tax rate could vary)|
|$1,532.80||Estimated Tax Bill in dollars|
In Cook County, property taxes involve coordination between offices at the county, state, and local municipal level.
The CCAO produces fair market values for properties. Values are finalized by the Cook County Board of Review after appeals have concluded with the CCAO and the Board of Review. Assessed values -- the values used to calculate property taxes -- depend on the fair market value and the class type of the property.
Assessments are analyzed by the Illinois Department of Revenue, which calculates the State Equalization Factor each year after assessments are concluded. This Factor is a single number for all of Cook County that is multiplied to a property's assessed value to determine a property's Equalized Assessed Value. The Equalized Assessed Value is used to calculate property tax bills.
Property tax bills are affected by exemptions and property tax rates. The Cook County Clerk calculates tax rates. The Cook County Treasurer sends property tax bills, collects property tax revenue, and distributes it to taxing districts to fund services (like schools).
Questions about Increases in Your Tax Bill
First, keep in mind that your second installment tax bill can be larger than your first installment bill. All first installment bills are by law, 55% of the total taxes paid the previous year. Any changes in assessment from the previous year, increases in local tax levies, and all exemptions appear on second installment bills. To determine whether your taxes went "up," you should compare your total tax bill from 2020 with your total tax bill for 2021.
Changes in the assessements of all properties in an area can lead to increases in tax bills, but increases in municipal levies for schools, parks, libraries, and other services can also cause increases.
The real estate market in Cook County is regaining much of its strength following the broad decline in previous years. The good news for a property owner is that your home is worth more, but this can also increase your assessment. But an increase in an assessment does not usually lead to the same increase in property taxes.
The Assessor does not decide the amount of your tax bill. The Assessor's job is to only determine fair market value for your property. Local tax rates and the state equalizer used to compute your bill are set by cities, townships and the State of Illinois.
It is also very important to ensure that you are receiving all the money saving exemptions to which you are entitled. Exemptions may save you hundreds of dollars on your tax bill. (See the section on exemptions which details steps to take if you did not receive an exemption you were entitled to on your second-installment tax bill).
If you believe your home's Assessed Value should be lower, you may file an appeal. Homeowners do not need an attorney to appeal and there is no fee involved. The Assessor's Office has made the appeal process easier, more transparent and open by publicly posting the rules for appeals at https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/official-appeal-rules-cook-county-assessor. He believes your appeal is an important step in ensuring that no one pays more than his or her fair share of property taxes.
You can file an appeal only during the period when your township is currently open for appeals. You can see the calendar at www.cookcountyassessor.com/calendar.
Your tax bill savings from exemptions like the Homeowner Exemption and Senior Exemption depend on two things: the exemption, and your local tax rate that year.
Each exemption produces different amounts of savings on the second-installment property tax bill, by reducing the taxable value of your home (its Equalized Assessed Value). Per Illinois law, the Homeowner Exemption reduces your home's EAV by $10,000.
For a home with a local tax rate of 6%, its savings from the Homeowner's Exemption equals $10,000 x 6% = $600. For a different home in an area with a higher local tax rate of 15%, its savings equals $10,000 x 15% = $1,500.
Your local tax rate is calculated each year by the Cook County Clerk. The tax rate is calculated each year after local services in your area, like schools, water treatment, and community health centers, determine how much of their services need to be funded by property tax dollars. If these budgets change from one year to the next, then the property tax rate can change -- and so can your exemption savings.
When comparing total tax dollars due, it is important to review the exemptions that were applied to a property. Two homes may have similar assessed values but total tax bill amounts may differ due to exemptions applied to the property. Your neighbor may be eligible for additional exemptions such as the Senior Exemption, Senior Freeze Exemption etc. It is also very important to remember that exemption amounts often differ depending on when a home is purchased.
Neighbors can also have different tax rates. You may be in a taxing district that saw an increase while your neighbor did not.
Property Assessment and Appeal Questions
Appeals may only be filed during certain time periods. Please read the general information about appeals for important information about rules for filing and deadlines for your area at: https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/appeals. You do not need to hire an attorney to file an appeal and filing is free at our office.
Residential properties are all single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, cooperatives, multi-family residential buildings and mixed-use property (residential and commercial) with no more than six units. You can see specific information for filing residential appeals here: https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/residential-appeals
If you miss the Assessor's appeal deadline date, you may file an appeal with the Cook County Board of Review. Their phone number is 312-603-5542. You can call them and inquire when your township is open for appeals with their agency.
Please Note: You receive a reassessment notice notifying you of any changes in the assessed value of your property the year before any changes are reflected on your second-installment tax bill. That is the time to appeal your assessment.
Any change in assessment as a result of an appeal filed in 2021 will not be reflected until your second-installment tax bill next year in 2022.
All first installment bills are by law, 55% of the total taxes paid the previous year. Any changes in assessment from the previous year and all exemptions appear on second installment bills.
The appeal that you currently have in the system is a 2021 appeal. Any change in assessed value as a result of that appeal will be reflected on your second-installment tax bill in 2022.
If you do receive a decrease in assessment on your current appeal and it is based on a lack of uniformity (your home is over assessed based on the values of similar homes in the area) then by law, you cannot receive Certificates of Error (refunds for prior years.)
The law only allows refunds for prior years when there are factual errors such as errors in the classification of the property or an error in the square footage. If that is the case with your appeal and your value is decreased due to a factual error, you may request Certificates of Errors for up to three years, if eligible.
If it is a uniformity appeal, you will only receive relief for the current year appeal - and that will be reflected on your second-installment bill next year. If there is a factual error, you may file a current year appeal when your township is open for appeals and request certificates of error with that current year appeal.
Regardless, you must pay the bill you have on hand.
No. And there is no fee involved.
Assessor Kaegi has worked to make the process more transparent and open. He believes the appeal process is an important step in ensuring that no one pays more than their fair share of property taxes.
There are rules for filing appeals. Rules for filing can be found here: https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/official-appeal-rules-cook-county-assessor
Homes that are comparable (similar) to each other should have similar market values, and therefore similar assessed values. One way to evaluate whether your home has been assessed fairly, or uniformly, is to compare its assessment to the assessment of other comparable homes.
- What are Comparable Properties?
- Find Comparable Properties (including how to submit up to PINs of up to 6 comparable properties with an appeal)
To check on the status of your appeal:
- Go to https://propertytaxfilings.cookcountyil.gov/
- Log in.
- Click on My Filings.
- You will be able to review your appeal information.
For questions and information about appeals, including how to file and find information about your property or other properties, please send us a message via the General Contact page on our website.
For specific technical issues regarding errors using the online system, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PIN and Classification Questions
You may locate your property index number on the following:
- your tax bill,
- your property deed,
- your closing documents from the purchase of your home,
- your reassessment notice,
- notices from the Assessor's Office if the underlying parcel has been divided, (i.e. condominiums, new subdivisions) and
- You may also visit the Assessor's website to search for your PIN by typing in your address at http://www.cookcountyassessor.com/address-search
Did your property recently undergo a division or a consolidation and were new PIN(s) given? You may contact our Divisions Department directly for more information regarding a possible new PIN. That department can be reached directly at 312-603-7506.
Always check the property index number (PIN)s on your bill against the PIN(s) on your sale or mortgage documents to make sure that the bill matches the property that you own.
There are two reasons a home may receive more than one tax bill:
First, it is not uncommon for a residence to straddle more than one parcel of land, each with its PIN. A bill is issued for each PIN. If your home straddles two PINS, then the home value will be split/prorated between the PINS.
Second, if you live in a condominium, it is quite common for your garage to be assigned its own PIN. This is a choice made by your condominium association. In this case, you will receive a tax bill for each PIN. The tax bill for your garage will be much less than the tax bill for your residence.
You can see more at: https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/residential-classification-examples
Legal Payments and Legal Descriptions
Often, shortly after a property is developed or re-developed, individual parcels are not readily assigned their own property index numbers. The developer may have requested to divide the property into individual PIN(S) but his or her request may still be pending approval.
In such cases, each owner is responsible for timely payment of his or her portion of taxes but need not pay the entire tax bill for the full property. The process for making such payments is commonly referred to as "payment by legal description."
Through this process, individual owners pay the taxes only for the portion of the property they own and this protects their ownership rights even if the other owners of the other portions of the same PIN fail to pay. Property owners who need to pay real estate taxes by legal description must make a formal request with the Cook County Assessor's Office at 312-603-6526. The Assessment by Legal Application may also be found on the assessor's website at:
In order to obtain a legal description of your property, you must contact the Cook County Clerk's Department (the Mapping Department) at 312-603-5640, or by emailing Clerk.Maps@cookcountyil.gov. Learn more at https://www.cookcountyclerk.com/service/tax-map-department.
The legal description of your property is also located on your warranty deed.
I need to verify ownership of a piece of property, if it has foreclosed, or if there has been a lien. What office should I call?
To verify ownership of a piece of property, if a property has foreclosed, or if there is a lien on a property, you must contact the Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office at 312-603-5050. You may also be able to verify ownership online using their website: https://cookrecorder.com/
We are doing all we can in our office to ensure our assessments reflect any effects of COVID-19. South Suburban reassessments scheduled for this year will be adjusted to reflect estimated effects of this outbreak on property values.
Read the report on adjustments to residential and commercial properties in the south and west suburbs at https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/covid19
Property owners whose properties are not normally reassessed this year – in the North Suburbs and Chicago – will also receive information about adjusted assessed values later in the year after appeals have been processed.
Any adjustments to property values will affect 2nd installment tax bills issued in 2021.
The Cook County Assessor’s Office has no legal authority to delay, suspend, or freeze property tax bills.
The County’s property tax offices recently announced the deferral of late fees and penalties until October 1st. While taxes from the 2021 second installment tax bill (which reflect 2020 assessments) are usually due in August, the due date was postponed until October 1st.
The Cook County Treasurer postponed the County’s annual tax sale indefinitely. Read more about that announcement here. Furthermore, a new law provides additional time extensions: taxpayers now have 13 months (extended from nine months) to pay delinquent Cook County property taxes before their properties are offered to investors on a tax sale.
Please note the following recent changes to office operations and appeals:
- Online appeals can be filed for all property types.
- Online filings for Certificates of Error for Exemptions are available for tax year 2017, 2018, and 2019.
- Taxpayers have 30 days to file an appeal in 2021.
- The process of re-review has also been suspended.
- Practitioners filing appeals must file online.
- The Office’s field staff are still out in the community to confirm physical details of properties when necessary. (Note: Assessor’s Office staff will never ask to enter your home unplanned).
Office Locations and Contact Information
Our downtown and branch offices at Markham and Skokie are open to the public. (The Bridgeview office is closed for renovations.) For the safety of both taxpayers and staff, we ask members of the public to make an in-person appointment online.
Before scheduling an in-person appointment, please try to find answers to your question on our website or by phone. Here is how to get answers to your questions online.