Property Tax Assistance

Questions, answers, and solutions to questions about second-installment property tax bills issued in 2020 (for Tax Year 2019).

Important reminder: for second-installment property tax bills due August 3, payment can be made any time before October 1 without accruing any late fees or penalties. 

Are you missing an exemption?

Incorrect/missing tax bill questions

I did not receive my tax bill. What do I do?

My name and/or mailing address is wrong on my tax bill. How do I get this corrected?

How do I get my property location corrected?

Calculating a Tax Bill

How is my residential tax bill calculated?

Which County offices are involved in a property tax bill?

Questions about Changes in Your Tax Bill

Why has my tax bill increased this year?

Why did my exemption savings change this year?

My neighbor's home is identical to mine, yet my bill is higher. Why?

Missing exemptions on tax bills

I did not receive my Exemption on my tax bill. What do I do?

Certificates of Error

General information on seeking corrections through Certificates of Error

I submitted a Certificate of Error application online. What is its status?

FAQs: Certificates of Error for Valuations and Exemptions

Do I need to send this Certificate of Error Recommended Tax Bill to my mortgage company?

Did I save any money?

I paid the original tax bill already. How long before I receive a refund?

Do I need to fill out an application with the Cook County Treasurer's Office to receive a refund?

Assessment and Appeal Questions

Can I file an appeal now after I received my tax bill?

I have an appeal currently being worked. Should I pay the bill I just received?

Do I need a lawyer to file an appeal?

How can I compare my home's assessment to comparable homes?

My township is open for appeals, but when I click "Submit" on my appeal, there's an error.

How can I check the status of my online appeal?

PIN and Classification Questions

I do not know my Property Index Number (PIN). How can I obtain it?

I do not think my PIN is valid.

I have two PINs for my property and think I am being charged twice.

I would like more information regarding my property's classification.

Legal Payments and Legal Descriptions

My parcel has not been assigned a PIN yet. How do I pay my tax bill by legal description?

Where do I get a copy of the legal description for my property?

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?

COVID-19

What actions are being taken about COVID-19 and property assessments?

What are the ways Cook County is providing property tax relief?

What are the Assessor's Office's changes to operations since the onset of COVID-19?

Office Information

Office Locations and Contact Information

 

Incorrect/missing tax bill questions

I did not receive my tax bill. What do I do?

The Cook County Treasurer's Office mails tax bills and collects payments. For 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

 

My name and/or mailing address is wrong on my tax bill. How do I get this corrected?

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

 

How do I get my property location corrected?

To change a property's location, please download a property location correction form from our website. The form is listed under the "forms" section on our website in the sub area named "miscellaneous." After submitting that form to the Cook County Assessor's Office, the property's location can be corrected.

This is the link to download the form.

The mailing address is listed in the upper right hand corner of the form.

 

Missing exemptions on tax bills

I did not receive my Exemption on my tax bill. What do I do?

First, check your property's details on our website to see whether a correction (called a "Certificate of Error") has already been applied. 

In some cases for Tax Year 2019 second installment bills due August 3, 2020, the Assessor's Office has detected that some exemptions were not applied correctly to some taxpayer's bills, and has already issued a Certificate of Error Recommended Tax Bill that will arrive in the mail in within the next two weeks. In other cases, refunds had already been issued.

Every application is manually processed by our staff, so every unnecessary application produces inefficiencies and delays for all taxpayers. 

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.

Step 1: find your property details.

First, find the CCAO's records for your property's PIN: search.

 

Step 2: Scroll down to the Exemption History tab.

Scroll down to the Exemption History tab.

✔ Yes: The Homeowner and Senior Exemptions were applied to this PIN’s Tax Year 2019 second installment property tax bill due August 3, 2020. This taxpayer already received these savings. They are not eligible for a Certificate of Error for Tax Year 2019.

N/A: The Senior Freeze exemption was not applied to the second-installment bill for Tax Year 2019, and there were no exemptions applied to the second-installment bill for Tax Year 2018. 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.

 

Step 3: Scroll down to the Certificate of Error tab.

Scroll down to the Certificate of Error tab.

 Yes: The Assessor’s Office has already issued a 2019 Certificate of Error for the Senior Freeze exemption for this taxpayer. They do not need to apply for a 2019 Certificate of Error. They will receive a corrected bill automatically.

If there was not a Certificate of Error issued in Tax Year 2018, 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 process here: https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/certificates-error

Certificates of Error

General information on seeking corrections through Certificates of Error

A "Certificate of Error" is a process to correct a property tax bill that has already been issued.

Learn more: Certificates of Error

In some cases, Certificates of Error require approval from the Cook County Board of Review (Board of Review) or the Circuit Court of Cook County in addition to the Assessor. In those cases, applications will require additional time to process.

The Illinois Property Tax Code authorizes Certificates of Error where the Assessor discovers an error or mistake in the assessment. 35 ILCS 200/14-15 provides in part:

Sec. 14-15. Certificate of error; counties of 3,000,000 or more.

(a) In counties with 3,000,000 or more inhabitants, if, after the assessment is certified pursuant to Section 16-150, but subject to the limitations of subsection (c) of this Section, the county assessor discovers an error or mistake in the assessment, the assessor shall execute a certificate setting forth the nature and cause of the error. 

(c) No certificate of error, other than a certificate to establish an exemption under Section 14-25, shall be executed for any tax year more than 3 years after the date on which the annual judgment and order of sale for that tax year was first entered.

The Assessor's authority under this provision provides a means of correcting errors or mistakes in assessments, after assessments are set, reviewed by the Assessor and Board of Review, and certified for taxation purposes. If a taxpayer is not satisfied with assessments set by the Assessor and reviewed by the Board of Review, the taxpayer also may consider other remedies available in the Illinois Property Tax Code.

 

I submitted a Certificate of Error application online. What is its status?

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. 

 

Do I need to send this Certificate of Error Recommended Tax Bill to my mortgage company?

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.

Did I save any money?

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).

I paid the original tax bill already. How long before I receive a refund?

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.

Do I need to fill out an application with the Cook County Treasurer's Office to receive a refund?

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

How is my residential tax bill calculated?

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 2019 Estimated Fair Market Value of home (example)
X.10 Assessment Level (10% for residential properties)
$10,000 2019 Assessed Value
X 2.916 2019 State Equalizer
$29,160 2019 Equalized Assessed Value (EAV)
-10,000 2019 Homeowner Exemption
$19,160 2019 Adjusted Equalized Assessed Value
X.08 2019 Tax Rate (8% example; your tax rate could vary)
$1,532.80 Estimated Tax Bill in dollars

 

Which County offices are involved in a property tax bill?

In Cook County, property taxes involve coordination between offices at the county, state, and local municipal level.

The Cook County Assessor, Clerk, Treasurer, and Board of Review, as well as the Illinois Department of Revenue, all play key roles in calculating property tax bills.

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

Why has my tax bill increased this year?

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. The bad news is that your home is worth more. In other words, increased market value logically requires increases in assessed value.

The Assessor does not decide the amount of your tax bill. His 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.

 

Why did my exemption savings change this year?

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.

 

My neighbor's home is identical to mine, yet my bill is higher. Why?

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.

 

Property Assessment and Appeal Questions

Can I file an appeal now after I received my tax bill?

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 2020 will not be reflected until your second-installment tax bill next year in 2021.

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.

I have an appeal currently being worked. Should I pay the bill I just received?

Yes.

The appeal that you currently have in the system is a 2020 appeal. Any change in assessed value as a result of that appeal will be reflected on your second-installment tax bill in 2021.

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.

Do I need a lawyer to file an appeal?

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 

 

How can I compare my home's assessment to comparable homes?

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.

 

My township is open for appeals, but when I click "Submit" on my appeal, there's an error.

The CCAO has extended the deadline for appeals for many townships. Because of the way that the online system processes file numbers and deadlines, you may encounter an error when you try to submit your filing. To correct this problem, please do not file this appeal. Instead, please:

  1. Ensure that the settings on your phone or computer you are using to file your appeal is set to Central Time. Then, 
  2. start your appeal filing over from the beginning.

We apologize for the inconvenience. 

Appeals that have been submitted are being processed and should not be re-submitted.

 

How can I check the status of my online appeal?

To check on the status of your appeal:

  1. Go to https://propertytaxfilings.cookcountyil.gov/
  2. Log in.
  3. Click on My Filings.
  4. 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 onlineappeals@cookcountyassessor.com. 

 

PIN and Classification Questions

I do not know my Property Index Number (PIN). How can I obtain it?

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

I do not think my PIN is valid.

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.

I have two PINs for my property and think I am being charged twice.

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.  

 

I would like more information regarding my property's classification.

You can see more at: https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/residential-classification-examples

 

Legal Payments and Legal Descriptions

My parcel has not been assigned a PIN yet. How do I pay my tax bill by legal description?

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:

PDFhttp://www.cookcountyassessor.com/assets/forms/assessbylegal.pdf

 

Where do I get a copy of the legal description for my property?

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/ 

 

COVID-19

What actions are being taken about COVID-19 and property assessments?

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.  

 

What are the ways Cook County is providing property tax relief?

The County’s property tax offices recently announced the deferral of late fees and penalties until October 1st. While taxes from the 2020 second installment tax bill (which reflect 2019 assessments) are due August 3rd, no late fees or penalties will be assessed until October 1st. Read more about this here.

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.

 

What are the Assessor's Office's changes to operations since the onset of COVID-19?

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 2016, 2017, and 2018. 
  • Taxpayers have 35 days to file an appeal. (A decrease from 40 days earlier in 2020.) 
  • 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 Information

Office Locations and Contact Information

Please note: as of Monday, March 16th, 2020, all of our offices including branch offices are closed to the public until further notice. The Cook County Assessor's Office will continue to provide services. For assistance, please contact us online