Assessment by Legal Description

Assessment by Legal

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 the request may still be pending approval.

In such cases, each owner is responsible for the 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 by filling out the Assessment by Legal Application (ABL).

Assessment by Legal Application

Please note that your application will not be processed without the required documentation, which is dependent on the property type as follows:


  • Copy of recorded deed
  • Copy of the first page of the condominium declaration AND a copy of the percentage of ownership

Townhouse/Single Family Home/Vacant Land

  • Copy of Plat of Survey
  • Copy of recorded deed

If an Exemption is requested and has not already been filed either online or in-person

  • Copy of executed applicable exemption application
  • Copy of valid State ID

The estimated time to process a request for ABL(s) is dependent on the number of years/installments being requested, the complexity of the parcel, or if the request is for a tax bill just issued by the Cook County Treasurer’s Office.  Please note that this is also a 2-step process. Once the Assessor’s Office has processed the request, the information will be sent to the Cook County Treasurer’s office to produce the apportioned property tax bill to be paid by legal description; they will either have the bill available for pick up or will be mailed it to address provided.

Contact Information

Feel free to contact the Division department at if you have any other questions.