Cook County assesses a property according to its "Assessment Class" as defined under the Cook County Code of Ordinances. (see Art. II - Chapter 74 Sec. 74-63) If the real estate is used as a "farm", it will be classified as a Class 2 property. Currently, Class 2-39 real estate is defined as "Non-equalized land under agricultural use, valued at farm pricing". An improvement on real estate used as a "farm" can receive a Class 2-24 defined as a "Farm Building".

In determining whether real estate meets the definition of a "farm" under the Cook County Code of Ordinances, the CCAO uses the definition of a "Farm" found in the Illinois Property Tax Code. 35 ILCS 200/1-60 Farm. Section 1-60. In addition, the CCAO follows the guidance of the Illinois Department of Revenue in classifying and assessing farmland. Publication 122 – Instructions for Farmland Assessments - is published annually and contains important information regarding specific situations pertaining to types of land and improvements to the land. A recent copy of Publication 122 can be downloaded here. Also, you can access the CCAO Farmland Eligibility Bulletin here.

In order for a "farm", as defined in Section 1-60 of the Property Code, to receive farmland pricing for the requested year, it must have been farmed for the two (2) preceding years. See 30 ILCS 200/10-110. Further, the property must be used for farming in the year the owner is seeking the class change to farmland status. An explanation on how to request a class change to farmland is described below.

Applying for a class change to preferential farmland assessment

  1. Complete the Class Change/Farmland Application by January 31 which can be found here
  2. Upload your documentation to establish your farming activities for the current year and the two preceding years. Please see the below list of required documentation.
  3. Once your application is submitted, you should receive a confirmation from the CCAO that the application is under review. Once the review is completed, you should receive notification from the CCAO that your class change to farmland has been approved/rejected.

Required Documentation

  • Any tax forms or documents filed with federal, state, or local government entities showing the income, if any, derived from farming activities.
  • Any insurance policies covering farm related activities.
  • Dated, color photos of any farming operation(s) you are using as a basis for your request for a class change.
  • Any leases, rental agreement or other documentation supporting your farming operation(s).
  • Any contracts, sales agreements and/or other documentation supporting your farming operation for the current year and prior two years of operation.
  • Invoices for seed, crop yield reports, livestock records, soil sampling, etc.

Annual Certification for Farmland Assessment