Frequently Asked Questions

Property Taxes & Assessments FAQ

How does the Assessor’s Office determine the value of my house?

The value of your house is based on the recent sales of properties in your neighborhood that have similar characteristics to your home (age, square footage and type of construction).

I think your office has overvalued my home. What should I do?

If you feel your home is improperly assessed, you are encouraged to file an appeal with the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

The three main reasons for filing a residential appeal include:

  1. Your property was not valued uniformly.  Uniformity requires that two or more properties in a neighborhood that are similar in size, type of construction, age and style have similar assessed values.  You are welcome to do your own research but are not required to do so. Our analysts will check properties comparable to yours to determine if your assessed value is uniform.
  2. Our records inaccurately describe your property.  The value of your property is partially dependent on your “property description.”  An assessment that contains a major error in the property’s description such as an incorrect property classification or an incorrect land or building measurement may affect property value. Please keep in mind that changing a minor property characteristic may not necessarily change the assessment.
  3. Your property is overvalued.  If you have evidence that establishes your property’s market value is less than the estimate determined by the Assessor’s Office, you are encouraged to submit supporting documentation.  Acceptable documentation would include: a recent closing statement, sales contract or appraisal.  The value of residential property may also be affected by recent occupancy of a newly constructed home, conditions that have caused the property to become vacant and not habitable, fire damage, demolition or vacancy due to renovation.

All required residential appeal forms are available through the forms page on this Web site. You may also call one of the Assessor’s Office locations or your local township assessor.

I measured the rooms of my house and came up with much less square footage in terms of living space than the Assessor’s Office has listed. What should I do?

The Assessor’s Office calculates the square footage by measuring the exterior perimeter of the home. It is that measurement that your assessment is based upon, not what you might consider to be inside “living space.”

Am I eligible for a partial assessment if I did not live in my house all 12 months of last year?

You may be eligible for a partial assessment if your home was uninhabitable for any part of the previous year. Uninhabitable property is a residence that due to physical condition cannot be occupied. This includes new buildings still under construction or existing buildings that are being rehabilitated.

A vacant house is not necessarily an uninhabitable one. However, property can qualify for a partial occupancy or vacancy assessments. A vacancy assessment is applied when a property is empty of any occupants because of uninhabitable conditions. A homeowner who leaves his or her home vacant for six months while traveling or moves and is unable to sell their home, is not entitled to a partial assessment. This also is true for a vacant apartment that is available but not rented within a residential building (a building containing six (6) units or less).

What is considered commercial/industrial property and how do I file an appeal?

In Cook County, properties are classified based on their use.  For example, apartment buildings over six units are classified as Class 3 properties.  Class 5 properties are properties that are used for commercial or industrial purposes.

A property is used for commercial purposes if it is used primarily for buying and selling goods and services, or for otherwise providing goods and services.  Commercial use includes real estate used for hotel, motel and apartment buildings of more than six units.

A property is used for industrial purposes if it is used primarily in manufacturing or in the extraction or processing of raw materials unserviceable in their natural state to create new physical products or materials. It is also used for industrial purposes or in the processing of materials for recycling, or in the transportation or storage of raw materials or finished physical goods in the wholesale distribution of such materials or goods for sale or leasing.

If a property has applied for and been granted incentive treatment, different assessment levels will apply.  You can find out more about the incentives available on the Property Incentives link on this Web site.

The three main reasons for filing a commercial/industrial appeal are:

  1. If your property sold within the last five years at a price lower than the market value on your assessment notice, please submit an appeal accompanied by evidence of sale price and sale date.  Evidence may include the closing statement, purchase contract, real estate transfer declaration or recorded deed.
  2. You have an appraisal of your property that establishes that our market value is too high.  If your property has a market value of less than $500,000, a letter of value will suffice.  In either case, include income and expense statements for the last 3 years.
  3. You are seeking relief because your building suffers from vacancy.  If relief is sought based on partial or full vacancy, submit a completed CCAO building affidavit for the year in question.  In the case of partially occupied rental property, year to date income and expense statements and current rent rolls should accompany vacancy affidavits.

All required commercial/industrial appeal forms are available through the forms page on this Web site or by calling or visiting one of the Assessor’s Office locations or your local township assessor.

What is a Certificate of Error and how can I apply for one?

A Real Estate Certificate of Error (C of E) allows the Cook County Assessor to change a property’s assessed value for a prior year.  Illinois law provides this procedure as a way to correct a tax bill after the assessment for that tax year is finalized.  A Certificate of Error addresses a single year.  If you are entitled to a value reduction for more than one year, a Certificate of Error request must be filed for each individual year.

After a C of E application is received, it must be processed through the Assessor’s Office.  If the property’s assessment has been previously reviewed by the Board of Review, the Board of Review must approve the C of E as well.  In addition, non-residential C of E requests that seek a reduction of more than $100,000 in assessed value must be sent to the Circuit Court for a judge’s consideration.  If a Certificate of Error does not have to go to court for review, you will receive a letter from the Assessor’s Office which indicates whether the Certificate of Error has been granted or denied.  If the C of E is required to go to court for adjudication, a letter regarding the outcome of that C of E request will be sent to you by the Cook County State's Attorney’s Office.

Certificate of Error application formsare available on the forms page of the Assessor’s Web site or by calling (312)443-7550.

How are my taxes calculated?

To calculate your property tax bill, use the following example, which is for a home with estimated market value of $100,000:

$100,000   Estimated Market Value
X.10   Assessment Level (10%)
$10,000   Proposed Assessed Valuation
X2.8056   2011 State Equalizer
$28,056   Equalized Assessed Value
-7,000   Homeowner Exemption
$21,056   Adjusted Equalized Value
X.10   Sample Tax Rate (your tax rate could vary)
$2,105.60   Estimated Tax Bill in Dollars

Why are my property taxes so high?

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 especially public education.  If you believe your taxes are too high, you should:

  1. check with the Cook County Assessor’s Office to be sure you are receiving the property tax exemptions to which you are entitled.
  2. check your property’s assessed value and property characteristics and, if incorrect, file an appeal with the Cook County Assessor’s Office.
  3. note the spending requests of your local governing bodies.

How can I get my name on my tax bill? It is still in the previous owner’s name or that of my mortgage company.

You should have your name on the tax bill. Our office mails out reassessment notices and exemption applications to the name and address on the bill. Names and addresses are maintained by the Cook County Treasurer’s Office. Generally, most mortgage companies get your tax bill from the Treasurer’s Office electronically.

In order to correct the name and address on a tax bill, call the Treasurer’s Office at (312) 443-5100 or visit the Treasurer’s Web site at www.cookcountytreasurer.com. They will mail you the proper form to complete and return to the Treasurer’s Office.

How can I get a copy of my current or previous year tax bill?

The current tax bill can be obtained from the Cook County Treasurer’s Office. Tax bills for previous years are handled by the Cook County Clerk’s Office. The Treasurer’s phone number is (312) 443-5100 and the County Clerk’s phone number is (312) 603-5656. To receive a duplicate of the current tax bill by mail, you may also visit the Treasurer’s Web site at www.cookcountytreasurer.com.

Why is the Treasurer sending me more than one tax bill?

Always check the PIN 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 sit on more than one parcel of land, each with its own Property Index Number (PIN).  A bill is issued for each PIN.  If your home straddles two PINs, then the home value will be split 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 (of course, the tax bill for your garage will be much less than the tax bill for your residence).

My mortgage company is increasing my monthly escrow payments. They say it is because my real estate taxes have increased. Is this the reason?

It is possible for your mortgage company to increase your monthly escrow payment due to an increase in real estate taxes. Property taxes can increase due to a reassessment, an increase in your local tax rate or an increase in the state equalization factor. The state equalization factor (often called the “multiplier”) is applied by the Illinois Department of Revenue to all property in Cook County to equalize assessments throughout the state. You should call the Assessor’s Office at (312) 443-7550 to be sure you are receiving all the property tax exemptions for which you are entitled.

I received a reduction in my assessment from the Assessor's Office but it has not shown up on my first installment tax bill. Why?

In general, any reduction made on your assessment will be reflected on your second installment tax bill, along with any exemptions for which you have applied and qualified. However, if your Certificate of Error was approved by the circuit court or certified by the Assessor's Office to the Treasurer before November 30 of the prior year, you should receive an estimated tax bill that reflects the corrected assessed value shown on your Certificate of Error.

What is the role of the Cook County Assessor in the property tax system?

The Cook County Assessor’s primary responsibility is to list, describe and value more than 1.8 million parcels of property. The Assessor also administers many exemption and incentive programs.

The Assessor’s Office distributes a wide variety of literature and informational pieces to educate individuals and groups about the assessment process. The Assessor’s staff is also trained to help property owners understand their assessments and file appeals.

The Assessor’s Office works to ensure that the assessment process is conducted with fairness, transparency, professionalism and vision. The Assessor encourages participation in the property tax process and continues to develop new tax policies to create economic development opportunities and stable communities throughout Cook County.

Appeals FAQ

Residential Appeal Questions

What is an appeal?

In Cook County, your Class 2 residential property is assessed at 10 percent of its estimated property value. The estimated property value is determined by analyzing sales information of similar homes in your area. For example, an estimated property value of $100,000 would calculate to an assessed valuation of $10,000. Class 2 properties include detached single-family houses, townhomes, condominiums, cooperatives, and multi-family residential buildings with no more than six dwelling units. (Separate instructions are available for condominiums and cooperatives.)

Keep in mind, the Assessor does not calculate taxes. Local governments, such as municipalities and school districts, determine the overall amount of real estate taxes collected in your community. It is important that your assessed valuation be accurate and fair, as it does play a role in determining your share of those taxes.

What is the Cook County Assessor's policy for filing appeals?

It is the policy of the Cook County Assessor to assess all real property in a fair and uniform manner consistent with the legal responsibility placed on the Office of the Assessor. It is also our policy to provide everyone equal access to the remedies afforded by the appeal process. In accordance with these policies, the Office of the Assessor shall provide experienced personnel to assist property owners who want to appeal their assessed valuations.

When can I file an appeal?

You will receive a reassessment notice in the mail when the Assessor's Office reassesses your home every three years. Assessor Berrios redesigned the notice to include a wealth of information regarding your property. In addition to the standard assessment information, the notice now includes features such as: as estimated market value for your property, mortgage and release information, a total annual property tax amount and sample comparables of other properties in your neighborhood. A reassessment notice contains a proposed assessment which will be reflected on your subsequent year’s second-installment tax bill.

Once you have received your notice, you have approximately 30 calendar days to file an appeal with our office. The last date to file an appeal is printed on the top of your notice. You may also appeal your assessed valuation in any year between reassessments when your property’s township is open for appeals.

How can I file an appeal?

To file an appeal online, find your property via our Property Search. If you cannot file an appeal online, prefer to visit one of our offices, or want to mail your appeal, you must use an official "Real Estate Assessed Valuation Appeal" form. Please submit one copy and keep another copy for your files. You do not need a lawyer, tax representative or appraiser to file an appeal on the assessed valuation of your home. However, if your valuation appeal is filed by your authorized representative, an "Owner/Lessee Verification Form" must be completed, notarized and filed along with the appeal form.

Why would I file an appeal?

Three common grounds for appeals are listed below:

  1. Uniformity Appeal:

    If you are concerned that the assessed valuation of your home is not uniform with the assessed valuations of other homes, compare your property to similar homes. This comparison will help you determine if you have reason to file a uniformity appeal.

    There are two ways to do this:

    1. Simply fill out the appeal form, indicating that the purpose of the appeal is "lack of uniformity". You do not need to research and find your own comparable properties in order to file an appeal with our office. Our analysts will check properties comparable to yours to determine if your assessed value is in line with the assessed values of those properties.
    2. If you wish to include a list of comparable properties with your appeal, please follow the gudielines below:

      • For your convenience, all residential assessments will be published in a local community newspaper a few days after you receive your reassessment notice. The name of the newspaper and date of publication are indicated on your notice. The assessment listing will also be available at your local library.
      • When choosing comparable properties, select homes within your neighborhood code that closely resemble your own home in both size and style. If the Permanent Index Numbers (PINs) are not known, the Assessor's staff will assist you in obtaining this information. You may also use the residential data books located in all of our offices to check if the comparable assessed values are in line with your assessment. If the assessed value of the comparable properties that you have chosen are lower than your property's assessed value, you may have reason to file an appeal.
      • You may also find the assessed values of comparable properties by visiting the assessor's Web site property search. Pictures of nearly every Cook County property may also be found there.
      • Write the PINs that you have found to be comparable on the appeal form that you file. Our analysts will use your information, along with our office data, to determine if the assessed value of your home is in line with the assessed values of comparable properties.
  2. Overvaluation Appeal:

    You may also wish to file an appeal if you believe our estimate of the property value is overvalued for any reason. You are encouraged to submit supporting documentation, such as recent closing statements or purchase prices of homes similar to yours, along with your appeal.

  3. Property Description Error Appeal:

    Finally, if there is an error in the description of your property, such as incorrect square footage of living area or an error that you believe may affect property value, you may wish to file an appeal. However, a minor error does not necessarily indicate an incorrect assessment.

What is a comparable property and how can I use them with my appeal?

A “comparable property” is a property located within your assessment neighborhood which has characteristics similar to those of your property. These characteristics may include property classification, building age, building square footage, land square footage, and exterior construction. A complete list of your property’s characteristics can be found in the “property characteristics” section when your PIN number is entered.

It is important to note that the Assessor’s Office uses neighborhood codes to distinguish between various neighborhoods within townships. If you choose to perform your own search for comparable properties, you should attempt to find comparable properties located within your assessment neighborhood. You should also try to locate comparable properties which have the same property classification as your property.

Where can I file an appeal?

To file an appeal now, use the Property Searchon this Web site and click on Appeals. Once there, complete the information and file the appeal. If you do not see a form at this point then that means your township is not open to submit appeals. You may also file an appeal at our office, your local township office, or you may request that an appeal form be mailed to you. Experienced personnel are available at all of our offices to help you in filing your appeal. Please have your reassessment notice handy because it contains important information that may be needed for your appeal.

What happens after I file an appeal?

You may a request for a re-review. Get the form here.If you wish to appeal your assessment further, you may also file an appeal with the Cook County Board of Review (312-603-5542).

What is a Certificate of Error and how can I apply for one?

A Real Estate Certificate of Error (C of E) allows the Cook County Assessor to change a property’s assessed value.  Illinois law provides this procedure as a way to correct a tax bill after the assessment for that tax year is finalized.  A Certificate of Error addresses a single year.  If you are entitled to a value reduction for more than one year, a Certificate of Error request must be filed for each individual year.

After a C of E application is received, it must be processed through the Assessor’s Office.  If the property’s assessment has been previously reviewed by the Board of Review, the Board of Review must approve the C of E as well.  In addition, non-residential C of E requests that seek a reduction of more than $100,000 in assessed value must be sent to the Circuit Court for a judge’s consideration.  If a Certificate of Error does not have to go to court for review, you will receive a letter from the Assessor’s Office which indicates whether the Certificate of Error has been granted or denied.  If the C of E is required to go to court for adjudication, a letter regarding the outcome of that C of E request will be sent to you by the Cook County State's Attorney’s Office.

Certificate of Error application forms are available on the forms page of the Assessor’s Web site or by calling (312)443-7550.

What are the guidelines for appeals due to flood or a catastrophic event?

Residential property owners who experience severe damage to their homes as a result of a catastrophic event are eligible to receive a home improvement exemption of up to $75,000.

This exemption is available when a residential structure is rebuilt after a catastrophic event. The exemption applies to the difference between the increased value of the rebuilt structure and the value of the structure before the catastrophic event.

The residential structure must be rebuilt within two years after the catastrophic event. The exemption will continue for four years following completion or until the next reassessment, whichever is later.

Catastrophic events are defined as severe damage or loss of property resulting from any catastrophic cause including but not limited to fire, flood, earthquake, wind, storm, explosion or extended periods of severe inclement weather. In the case of flooding, the structure must be located within a jurisdiction which is participating in the National Flood Insurance Program.

To file for a Catastrophic Event Exemption, the property owner or authorized representative must complete a Residential Assessed Valuation Appeal form.

Along with the appeal form, it is necessary to submit the following materials:

  • a written description of the damages and the dates when damages occurred,
  • the estimated date of completion for repairs or rebuilding, and
  • all pertinent records such as photographs, insurance reports, building permits and occupancy certificates.

Appeal forms and documentation may be filed by mail or in person.

An appeal may only be filed while the Assessor’s Office is accepting appeals for your township.

Industrial Commerical Appeal Questions

What is the Cook County Assessor's policy for filing appeals?

It is the policy of the Cook County Assessor to assess all real property in a fair and uniform manner consistent with the legal responsibility placed on the Office of the Assessor. It is also our policy to provide everyone equal access to the remedies afforded by the appeal process. In accordance with these policies, the Office of the Assessor shall provide experienced personnel to assist property owners who want to appeal their assessed valuation.

What are the general rules and recommendations I need to know about?

With the exception of Class 2 residential properties for which separate rules have been issued, the Office of the Assessor has prepared these rules to assist all Cook County property owners in pursuit of any claim of over-assessment.

Illinois law requires the Assessor to place an assessed valuation on all real property located in the county. The law also gives property owners the right to challenge the values set by the Assessor. Under the law, property owners must submit evidence sufficient to justify a reduction in assessed valuation.

Supplemental bulletins have also been prepared by the Office of the Assessor to specify the type and extent of proof which will assist in preparation of appeals for specific types of properties. These bulletins contain significant details and information which will assist in the presentation of an over-assessment claim. There are also extensive bulletins explaining eligibility requirements for the Cook County Incentives Program for certain industrial, commercial and residential properties (Classes 6b, 6c, 7a, 7b, 8 and 9 and L). These bulletins should be carefully reviewed when filing applications and appeals seeking eligibility under any of these incentives. Inquiries may be directed to the Incentives Department (312-603-7529).

So as to avoid hardship or injustice, the Assessor or his designated representative may waive any technical requirement in these rules.

Do I need a lawyer?

The Assessor's staff can assist in answering questions regarding filing an appeal. (312) 603-7526

Is there a phone number that will allow me to speak with an Industrial Commercial specialist?

Owners of commercial properties and businesses may wish to consult with members of the Assessor's staff for assistance in preparing an appeal. Inquiries may be directed to an industrial/commercial specialist at 312-603-7526.

When can I file an appeal?

Notice appeals may be filed at any time within the filing period of 30 calendar days beginning with the date Notices of Proposed Assessed Valuation are issued for the township in which the subject property is located.

What are pre-valuation documentation requests?

The Office of the Assessor has a policy for certain properties (you will be told if your property falls under this category) in which a letter request for pre-valuation information and documentation is substituted for the initial reassessment notice. This program is an effort to have access to information generally unavailable to the Assessor so as to arrive at a more accurate and fair initial assessed valuation. The property owner is given an opportunity to file an appeal with the requested documentation setting forth the property owner's estimate of market value and reasons in support thereof. This program is being expanded as more comprehensive automation of the Assessor's record base is completed.

What documents are required to file an appeal?

The following documents may be required to initiate an appeal. Please refer to the respective Class Bulletin for more information.

  1. Real Estate Valuation Appeal form

    This form must be completed in its entirety and shall contain:

    1. name and address of the owner of the property;
    2. common address, township and permanent index number(s) of the property;
    3. total consideration paid for the property if purchased within the last five years;
    4. owner’s estimate of the current fair market value of the property;
    5. brief description of basis of alleged over-assessment, and
    6. signature of owner or authorized representative.
  2. Property Summary Sheet

    One copy of the Property Summary Sheet for the subject’s property type (commercial/industrial etc.) must be completed. Consult the Assessor’s bulletins for specific information.

  3. Owner/Lessee Verification Affidavit

    In addition to the appeal form being completed as described above, one copy of the Owner/Lessee Verification Affidavit must be completed and notarized where required, and submitted with the valuation appeal form at the time of filing. This now requires an identification of the taxpayer as the owner or lessee of the property and the property’s common name. This form requires the taxpayer to declare whether the property in question was purchased within the last five years, and if so, to state the purchase price and date of sale and verify the income expense statements of the operations.

    Appeals which are not accompanied by a fully completed Owner/Lessee Verification Affidavit when required, may be denied.

  4. Industrial/Commercial Sales Questionnaire

    This is necessary when subject property has been purchased within the last five years. For properties purchased within the past five years, one copy of the Sales Questionnaire must be completed and submitted with appeal documents.

    Failure to file these required forms and submit the purchase information and supporting documentation discussed below, will delay action on the appeal and may cause the Assessor's Office not to act on the appeal.

  5. Field Check Request (if applicable)

  6. Appraisal Summary Sheet (if applicable)

  7. Vacancy Affidavit (if applicable)

    More Content & Supporting Documentation

    For all property, except Class 2, a short and concise narrative explaining the reasons for the claimed over-assessment must be prepared and filed with the appeal form. Sufficient valid documentation should accompany the factual statement to support all conclusions of fact, law and valuation set forth in the appeal.

    It is suggested that the Assessor's bulletins be consulted for recommendations as to the degree and quality of documentation. Specific proof may be presented for specific types of property and/or situations.

    All supporting documentation should be submitted at the time the appeal is filed. Please Note: If a field check is required, it must be requested at the time that an appeal is filed. Appeals lacking documentation will be held an additional 15 days beyond the filing deadline, at which time they will be denied if not complete. (Note: The Assessor’s Office will post any extension to this time deadline).

    In the following instances, the supporting documentation is the same for all types of properties.

    If the property which is the subject of the appeal has been purchased or transferred within the last five years, the purchase or transfer must be disclosed and the purchase price and the terms of the purchase fully documented by submitting all pertinent documents. This includes, but is not limited to, signed copies of the purchase contract, the closing statement and the real estate transfer declaration.

    All appraisals must also disclose any purchase or other transfer of the subject property within the last five years and shall address its effect, if any, upon any opinion of value reported in the appraisal. If the complainant requests a removal of an improvement from the assessment roll, the complainant must submit an affidavit as well as copies of the demolition permit, the paid demolition bill and any other documentation that will establish the date and the extent of the removal of the improvement.

    If the property is partially occupied rental property, year to date income and expense statements and/or current rent rolls shall accompany vacancy affidavits.

    Supplemental documentation may be requested by the Assessor’s Office.

What is needed for an affidavit to be accepted?

Any affidavit should provide the following:

  1. identity of the person verifying the facts and indication that the person possesses sufficient knowledge of said facts;
  2. identification of the property about which said facts are alleged;
  3. time period as to which said facts are being alleged;
  4. person verifying said facts signs the affidavit in the presence of a commissioned notary public.

Affidavits as to the accuracy of income and expense statements, vacancy levels and demolition are required and are to be completed on forms provided by the Assessor's Office.

What is the process with Certificates of Error?

A Certificate of Error request is initiated in all cases except exemption claims by filing a current assessment year appeal accompanied by a Certificate of Error application for each tax year requested. The request for a Certificate of Error should also be marked on the appeal form with the basis of the Certificate of Error noted in the explanation box. The same rules and recommendations for affidavits and supporting documentation on a current appeal apply for a Certificate of Error.

One set of documentation supporting the Certificate of Error must accompany each current appeal and one additional set of documentation must be filed for each tax year for which a Certificate of Error is being requested.

It is recommended that a Certificate of Error request for a valuation reduction on industrial/commercial and residential properties be supported by a competent appraisal, limited scope appraisal, letter of value, income/expenses and claim of a factual error.

If a Certificate of Error request is based on vacancy relief or a classification change one detailed affidavit from the owner is required. In certain instances, utility bills, rent rolls, IRS schedules, fire reports, demolition affidavits or a second party affidavit may be requested by the Assessor’s Office.

Exempts

All requests for Certificates of Error based on a claim for exempt property shall be filed in the Assessor's Exempt Department. However, a current assessment year appeal must be filed in all cases where valuation of a partially exempt entity is contested.

How will I be notified of the appeal results? What will happen after I'm notified?

The appellant will be notified by mail of the result of the appeal. If the appellant is dissatisfied with the result, reconsideration may be sought upon timely submission of a written request which details in brief and specific terms the basis for reconsideration. All such requests for reconsideration should be addressed to the Chief of Assessment Operations.

Where can I file an appeal? Where can I get forms? What if I have more questions?

Taxpayers requiring assistance with commercial/industrial appeals may consult one of the assessor’s industrial/commercial hearing specialists at 312-603-7526. They may also receive assistance at the assessor’s downtown office and at all suburban branch offices.

MAIN OFFICE OF THE COOK COUNTY ASSESSOR
(Located in Cook County Building)

Office of Commercial/Industrial Hearings
118 N. Clark
(312) 603-7526

SUBURBAN BRANCH OFFICES
(Located in Circuit Court Buildings)

Southwest South North North
Bridgeview Office
10200 South 76th Avenue,
Room 237
(708) 974-6451
Markham Office
16501 South Kedzie Avenue
Room 237
(708) 232-4103
Skokie Office
5600 Old Orchard Road
Room 149
(847) 470-7237
Rolling Meadows
2121 Euclid Avenue
Room 237
(847) 818-2444

What is a Class 1 Property?

What is a Class 3 Property?

What is a Class 4 Property?

What is a Class 5 Property?

Condominium Appeal Questions

What other documents do I need to submit for an Individual Condominium Owner Appeal?

If you elect to file as an individual unit owner, the following information should accompany your appeal:

  1. The closing statement if the unit has been sold within the last five years;
  2. A copy of the local municipality’s occupancy permit if the unit is newly constructed or converted;
  3. The percentage of ownership of the individual unit, and if presented, the percentage of ownership of comparables.

What is a joint appeal?

A joint appeal filed by the Association or Board on behalf of all condominium owners is the most effective way to appeal the valuation of any condominium building(s).

What are the advantages of a joint appeal?

There are three advantages to filing a joint appeal:

  1. market forces that affect the value of an individual condominium unit will have a similar affect on the other units as well;
  2. the percentage of ownership assigned to each unit is a major valuation factor; and
  3. the Association or Board is most likely to have access to relevant sales information.

What other documents do I need to submit for an Joint Appeal?

The following information must accompany each joint condominium valuation appeal:

  1. A copy of the original declaration of condominium ownership with all subsequent amendments;
  2. A list of all unit numbers, and the corresponding permanent index numbers, which are subject to the terms of the declaration. Include all property owned by the Association or Board, including recreational, parking, or other facilities, whether adjacent or not;
  3. A description of the size of each unit, the unit blend of the building(s) and the percentage of ownership of each unit;
  4. Interior and exterior photographs of the building(s);
  5. The closing statements for all units which have been sold within the last five years;
  6. Actual construction or renovation cost information if the building(s) has been constructed, converted or renovated within the last three years; and
  7. Three years of financial statements if the building(s) has been constructed, converted, or renovated within the last three years.

Cooperative Property Appeal Questions

How do I file a cooperative property appeal?

In the case of cooperative buildings, a joint appeal must be filed by the Board because there is only one assessed valuation for the entire cooperative property.

The following information must accompany each cooperative valuation appeal:

  1. A copy of the cooperative’s Articles of Incorporation and all other rules and regulations which concern the length of proprietary leases and the sales or transfer of shares;
  2. All ground lease information, if applicable;
  3. A complete legal description of the cooperative’s property including a list of permanent index numbers of all property owned by the cooperative including recreational, parking or other facilities, whether adjacent or not;
  4. A description of the size of each unit and the unit blend of the building(s);
  5. Interior and exterior photographs of the building(s);
  6. Any information relating to the number of shares or percentages of ownership assigned to each unit;
  7. Any information relating to the number of outstanding shares;
  8. Any information relating to any purchase contracts, or sales, transfers or assignments of beneficial interest of any shares or percentages of ownership in the cooperative within the last five years;
  9. Actual construction or renovation cost information if the building(s) has been constructed or renovated within the last three years;
  10. Three years of financial statements which include the year-end mortgage balance, and income and operating expense information.

Exemption FAQ

My taxpayer exemption application was mailed to the wrong address. What should I do to get this corrected?

If your taxpayer exemption application is being mailed to the wrong address, so might your tax bill, your reassessment notice and other important property tax correspondence. You should call the Treasurer’s Office to have this corrected. The Treasurer’s phone number is (312) 443-5100. They will mail you the proper form for you to complete and return to the Treasurer’s Office. You may also visit their Web site at www.cookcountytreasurer.com.

My taxpayer exemption application lists the wrong property location for my home. What should I do to get this corrected?

If your taxpayer exemption application lists the wrong property location, property location forms are available on ourforms page. You may also call our Taxpayer Services Department at (312) 443-7550 with any corrections.

I received a letter from your office telling me that my application for the Senior Freeze Exemption was accepted. Why did not I receive an exemption deduction for the “freeze” on my tax bill?

If the value of your residence has decreased or if tax rates increased, you may not receive any savings.  In order to realize a savings on your tax bill, the equalized assessed value (EAV) must be greater than your base year (the original year you filed for this exemption.)

If the previous year’s value is higher than the current year’s, no exemption amount would be shown on the bill since the assessed value would be lower.    

What is the Homestead Improvement Exemption and how can I apply for it?

The Home Improvement Exemption allows you to make up to $75,000 worth of improvements to your home without increasing your property taxes for at least four years. This exemption is available to property that is owned and used exclusively for residential purposes. The Home Improvement Exemption is automatically applied to a property by our office when you take out a local building permit for major home improvements such as second story additions, garages or a new room addition.

The exemption is not granted for loss of personal property, normal weather damage or routine maintenance. Routine maintenance includes repairs such as a new roof, driveways, furnaces and windows that do not increase that value of your property.

On the application form for the Senior Freeze Exemption, why do I have to include the income of everyone who lives in my home when I do not charge them rent?

The Illinois Property Tax Code, which lists the legal requirements for the Senior Freeze Exemption, measures eligibility by considering an entire household’s income.

Homeowner Exemption Questions

What is a Homeowner Exemption and how can I receive it?

You can receive the Homeowner Exemption if you own or have a lease or contact which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes of the residential property. It must also be used as your principal place of residence for the year in question.

This exemption will be prorated if you purchased a newly constructed home that was not ready for occupancy until sometime after January 1 of the tax year in question. For further assistance, call our Taxpayer Services Department at (312) 443-7550. If you have never received a Homeowner Exemption on your home, you will need to apply for one. Exemption forms may be obtained by calling or visiting one of the Assessor’s Office locations or your local township assessor.

Homeowner Improvement Exemption Questions

What Is the Home Improvement Exemption?

The Home Improvement Exemption allows you to increase the value of your home with up to $75,000 worth of improvements without increasing your property taxes for at least four years.

Who qualifies for a Home Improvement Exemption?

The exemption is available to owners of single-family homes, condominiums, cooperatives, and apartment buildings up to six units.

How does a Home Improvement Exemption work?

You do not need to apply for the Home Improvement Exemption. The building permit you take out to complete the work on your home will automatically generate a field inspection of your property. A notice will be sent to you after we complete the field inspection.

What if there is damage to my home?

The Home Improvement Exemption can also be used for repair necessitated by structural damage as a result of severe weather conditions such as flooding.

What is not covered by a Home Improvement Exemption?

The exemption is not granted for loss of personal property, normal weather damage, or routine maintenance. Routine maintenance includes repairs to or replacement of parts that would not increase the value of your property. The following are examples of normal upkeep:

  • Repair or replace roofing materials, sidewalks, driveways, or fencing
  • Insulate and/or add storm windows and doors
  • Add or replace gutters and downspouts
  • Place siding over existing frame structure
  • Add or improve trees, lawns, and landscaping
  • Paint, decorate, plaster, or change exterior ornamentations
  • Replace furnace, or replace old heating systems with solar heating
  • Replace kitchen cabinets, flooring, fixtures
  • Replace or add water softener, or add larger hot water heater
  • Add outdoor lighting, burglar or fire alarms
  • Replace electrical systems or plumbing fixtures
  • Install above-ground swimming pool or outdoor playground facilities
  • Add automatic garage door opener
  • Add aluminum soffit and fascia

Who can I call to find out if I qualify for a Home Improvement Exemption?

To learn whether you may qualify for the Home Improvement Exemption, call the Cook County Assessor's Office at 312/443-7550.

Religious Exemption Questions

What sort of benefit does the Assessor's office offer religious properties?

We value the contributions that religious organizations make to our communities. In an effort to protect the properties of these institutions, the government offers exemptions that eliminate all or a portion of their tax burden. The money saved on taxes can then be reinvested in the organization in order to benefit the surrounding community and its citizens. To keep these organizations informed, we are providing the information included on this Web site.

How do I check the status of a religious exemption?

This search page can be used to check the most current information available regarding the religious property’s exempt status. You can also view an image of the property.

There are 38 townships in Cook County. Each parcel of land is located in a certain township. Assessment notices are mailed out in a set order according to township. You can view the order of this mailing by going to (Appeal & Closing Deadlines). After the assessment work for a township has been completed and all appeals have been filed and analyzed, the assessments for that particular township are complete and the township is "closed" by the Assessor's Office. When a township is "closed" the status and value of all property in that township is final for a particular tax year.

You can check to see if the township where your property is located is "closed" by going to (Appeal & Closing Deadlines). If there is a date in the column entitled A Roll Published, your town is closed for appeals. This means that the exempt status shown is for the current. If there is no date in this column, the exempt status shown is for current year. As each township closes, the information on this Web site will be updated. Once your property is exempt, you do not have to file an annual affidavit to maintain your exempt status. You must notify our office if there is any change in ownership or use of the property.

Important Notice

  1. If you have received an Exemption Certificate from the Illinois Department of Revenue and your PIN does not appear on this list, please contact our Exempt Department at 312-603-5499.
  2. If an Exemption Certificate has not been issued by the Illinois Department of Revenue, your property is not exempt.
  3. Taxpayers must respond to any correspondence from the Cook County Treasurer or Cook County Assessor’s office even if they believe that their property is exempt.
  4. IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A TAX BILL FOR ANY TAX YEAR, DO NOT IGNORE THE BILL. ALL BILLS SHOULD BE PAID IN ORDER TO FULLY PROTECT YOUR INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY.

Is there a religious disclaimer?

This information is provided to help taxpayers check the most current status of their properties. This does not guarantee that there are no taxes outstanding on the property or that the property will continue to be exempt in future years. In order to check the status of current taxes due or paid, go to www.cookcountytreasurer.com. In order to check the status of prior taxes due, contact the Cook County Clerk at 312-603-5656.

Please read the following instructions for information on how to best conduct a search for exempt property.

How do I go about obtaining a property tax exemption for churches and religious organizations?

Step 1
  • Contact the Cook County Board of Review for exempt filing dates (312-603-5542).
  • Request an application for exempt status.
  • Complete and return the application to the Board of Review, providing the necessary documentation of exempt ownership and/or use.
  • Remember: An application may include more than one Permanent Index Number (PIN) but the applicant must still file for each parcel of property.

Your application and accompanying documentation, along with the Board of Review’s recommendation, is then sent to the Illinois Department of Revenue for a decision. This stage of the process may take anywhere from six months to a year. While an exemption application is pending, the taxes for that tax year are protected from sale.

Step 2a
  • If the exempt status isnot approvedthen churches may request a formal review by the Illinois Department of Revenue (800) 732-8866.
Step 2b
  • If property tax exempt statushas been approvedthe Illinois Department of Revenue will send the applicant a letter.
  • You must then submit copies of the letter to the Exempt Department of the Cook County Assessor and the Cook County Treasurer (312) 443-5500.
Step 3
  • The Cook County Assessor administers the exemption status for churches and religious organizations.
  • It is required by law that changes in ownership must be filed with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds (312) 603-5050. Purchasers of exempt property must also notify the Cook County Assessor's Office in writing by certified mail."

Important facts you need to know about obtaining a religious exemption

  • Although your organization may have received a Certificate of Incorporation, sales tax exemption or status as a not-for-profit corporation, this doesnotautomatically entitle you to aproperty taxexemption. You must apply for property tax exemption as outlined in this brochure.
  • A property tax exemption must be approved foreach parcelof real estate. For example, if the owner has an exemption on one property and moves, or acquires an additional property, the old exemption doesnotautomatically extend to any other properties.
  • Please note that if there are unpaid taxes and/or interest on the property, those taxes are subject to sale, even if they are from tax years before the exempt entity acquired the property.
  • Find out whether there are any unpaid taxes for the property. This information is available at the Cook County Clerk’s Office (312) 603-5656.

Exempt Properties Hotline

Cook County Assessor's Office
118 N. Clark Street, Room 301
Chicago, Illinois 60602
312-603-5499

Senior Freeze Exemption Questions

What is a Senior Freeze Exemption?

The Senior Freeze Exemption allows qualified senior citizens to apply for a freeze of the equalized assessed value (EAV) of their properties for the year preceding the year in which they first apply and qualify for this exemption.

Who qualifies for a Senior Freeze Exemption?

To qualify for the taxable year 2012, you must meet all of these requirements:

  • Be born prior to or in the year 1947,
  • Have a total gross household income of no more than $55,000 for 2011,
  • Own the property, or have a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2012,
  • Been liable for the payment of 2011 and 2012 property taxes, and
  • Used the property as a principal place of residence on January 1, 2011 and January 1, 2012.

When do I apply for a Senior Freeze Exemption?

Those who are currently receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption will automatically receive an application form for the Senior Freeze Exemption.

You must file each year in order to continue to receive the Senior Freeze Exemption and the requirements must be met each year.

Are there other options available to seniors?

Senior Citizen Real Estate
Tax Deferral Program
Cook County Treasurer's Office 312/443-5100
Circuit Breaker Program
Illinois Department of Revenue 800/624-2459

Senior Citizen Exemption Questions

What is a Senior Citizen Exemption?

The Senior Citizen Exemption provides tax relief by reducing the equalized valuation of an eligible residence. This savings is in the form of a deduction on the second-installment real estate tax bill.

I qualified for a Senior Citizen Exemption. Do I have to apply for a Homeowner Exemption separately?

No. Senior Citizens receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption automatically qualify for the Homeowner Exemption and do not have to apply for it separately.

I received the Senior Exemption on my tax bill last year. Do I have to reapply for the Senior Exemption this year?

Yes. State law requires that senior citizens reapply annually for the Senior Exemption.

What are the elgibility requirements for the Senior Citizen Exemption?

To qualify for the Senior Citizen Exemption the property owner must be:

  • using the property as their principal place of residence,
  • 65 years of age or older during the tax year for which they are applying, and
  • owner of the property or have a lease or contract which makes them responsible for the real estate taxes.

What is the application procedure and what other documents do I need to provide with the application?

Application Procedures

  1. If you are eligible for the exemption, please complete and sign the Senior Citizen Exemption Application Form. Information pertaining to Permanent Index Number and township can be found on your real estate tax bill.
  2. You must also provide the following information:

Recent Real Estate Tax Bill For Your Home

This includes your residential/property address and index number. If your bill is not mailed to your home, you must supply ONE MORE document that would prove your home address, such as your voter's registration card, voting record from the tax year(s) for which you are applying, or Driver's License or Illinois Identification (ID) card showing your address as the property address issued prior to the earliest year for which you are applying.

Proof Of Your Age

Submit ONLY ONE official document that clearly shows your birth date, such as your Driver's License, Illinois Identification (ID) Card, Alien Registration Card, Social Security Form 2458, Naturalization Papers, Passport, or Birth or Baptismal Certificate. NOTE: Women who submit documents with maiden name must provide Marriage Certificate(s) to show connection with current name.

What if i own a cooperative?

Owners of cooperative apartments must also submit a stock certificate, occupancy agreement, or trust agreement, along with their application.

I would like to apply by mail. Is there anything I should know?

If you apply by mail, do not send originals of the above documents. Please send copies because the documents cannot be returned to you.

I would like to apply in person. Is there anything I should know?

If you apply in person at the Assessor's Office, your documents will be reviewed and returned to you while you wait.

What happens after I have filed for a Senior Citizen Exemption?

The Assessor's Office will notify you when your application is approved.

Can I still receive the Senior Citizen Exemption if my property is listed in the name of my late spouse?

If you are 65 or over, you will qualify for this exemption in your name. Please notify the Taxpayer Services Department and we will send you the proper application forms. Otherwise, your property will receive the exemption for the remainder of the year of your spouse’s death. You will then have to apply when you turn 65. For more information, you may contact our Taxpayer Services Department at (312) 443-7550.

Disabled Persons’ Exemption Questions

What is a Disabled Persons' Exemption?

This exemption provides disabled persons with an annual $2,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value (EAV) of the property.

What are the qualifications for the Disabled Persons' Exemption?

To qualify for the Disabled Persons’ Exemption the taxpayer must:

  • be disabled or become disabled during the assessment year,
  • own or have a legal or equitable interest in the property, or a leasehold interest of a single-family residence,
  • occupy the property as the principal residence on January 1st of the tax year in question, and
  • be liable for the payment of property taxes.

If a person’s home previously received the Disabled Persons’ Exemption and the taxpayer now resides in a facility licensed under the Nursing Home Care Act, his or her home is still eligible to receive this exemption provided:

  • the property is occupied by the spouse, and
  • the property remains unoccupied.

What additional documentation do I need to submit with my Disabled Persons' Exemption Application?

Documentation Needed

Applicants must complete the exemption application with the CCAO and must provide one of the following documents:

  • a Class 2 Disabled Persons’ Illinois Identification Card from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office,
  • proof of Social Security Administration disability benefits (proof includes an award letter, verification letter or annual cost of living adjustment), or
  • proof of Veterans’ Administration disability benefits (proof includes an award letter of total (100%) disability, pension statement or statement showing compensation rated at 100%).

If a taxpayer can not provide proof from one of the items listed above they will need to submit the Illinois Department of Revenue’s Form PTAX 343-A Physician’s Statement of Proof of a Disability. The taxpayer may also be required to be re-examined by an IDOR designated physician.

Please Note: This exemption cannot be received with the

Disabled Veterans’ Exemption.

Disabled Veterans’ Exemption Questions

What Is a Disabled Veterans' Exemption?

Veterans with a service connected disability as certified by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs are eligible for this annual exemption. A disability of at least 70 percent is eligible for a $5,000 exemption in equalized assessed value (EAV). A disability of at least 50 percent, but less than 69 percent, is eligible for a $2,500 reduction in EAV.

What are the qualifications for the Disabled Veterans' Exemption?

To qualify for the Disabled Veterans’ Exemption the veteran must:

  • be an Illinois resident who has served as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty or on active duty in the state of Illinois, Illinois National Guard, or U.S. Reserve Forces,
  • have been honorably discharged
  • have at least a 50% service-connected disability certified by the U.S Department of Veterans’ Affairs,
  • own and occupy the property as the primary residence on January 1st of the tax year in question, and
  • have a total EAV of less than $250,000 for the primary residence, excluding the EAV of property used for commercial purposes or rented for more than 6 months.

A surviving spouse of the qualified veteran may claim this exemption as long as the spouse does not remarry.  If the surviving spouse sells the residence, the exemption may be transferred to his or her new primary residence.

What additional documentation do I need to submit with my Disabled Veterans' Exemption Application?

Veterans must complete the exemption application with the CCAO and provide the following:

  • a first-time applicant will need to provide a Department of Defense DD Form 214, certified by the County Recorder, Recorder of Deed’s, or Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a Disability Certification Letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and
  • a surviving spouse applying for the first time or transferring the exemption to a new address will need to provide the disabled veteran’s death certificate and proof of ownership

Please Note: This exemption cannot be received with the

 Disabled Persons’ Exemption or Returning Veterans’ Exemption

Returning Veterans’ Exemption Questions

What is a Returning Veterans' Exemption?

Veterans returning from active duty in armed conflict are eligible to receive a $5,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value of their property for each taxable year in which they return.

What are the qualifications for the Returning Veterans' Exemption?

To qualify for the Returning Veterans' Exemption the veteran must be:

  • an Illinois resident who has served as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, Illinois National Guard or U.S. Reserve Forces,
  • returning from active duty in an armed conflict involving the armed forces of the U.S.,
  • the owner or had a legal or equitable interest in the property and used it as a principal place of residence on January 1st of the tax year in question, and
  • liable for the payment of property taxes.

What additional documentation do I need to submit with my Returning Veterans' Exemption Application?

Veterans must complete the exemption application with the CCAO and:

  • if a veteran is discharged from active duty service, he or she will need to provide the Department of Defense DD Form 214 certified by the County Recorder or Recorder of Deed’s or the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and
  • if a veteran is still on active duty after returning home, he or she will need to provide military orders and a travel voucher showing the date of his or her return (documents must state that it is a return from armed conflict involving the armed forces of the U.S. within the tax year and that the exemption is being requested).

Please Note: This exemption may be received in addition to any of the other exemptions.

Divisions FAQ

What is a Division?

The term division refers to the process of reconfiguring tax parcel boundaries.

This includes ‘dividing’ and ‘consolidating’ parcels or any other action that affects the legal description or geographic boundaries of a tax parcel.

How do I file a Petition for Division?

You can file a petition for division by downloading the following form and submitting it to the Assessor's office.

A petition form cannot be used to make changes to a condominium. An amendment to the declaration may have to be adopted and filed with the Recorder of Deed's office.

Please note the due date at the top of the form. Petitions must be accepted by the due date in order to be processed for the tax year on the form. Petitions can be filed in person or mailed. If the petition is mailed and accepted, a receipt will be mailed back to the petitioner.

What criteria must be met in order for a petition to be accepted?

In order for a petition to be accepted it must meet the following criteria:

  1. A notarized signature is required from all parties to the division. The notarized submitter signature spot is to be completed by the person who prepared the petition and they must be available to be contacted if necessary.
  2. The second sentence on the first page has a blank space where the petitioner must write in the number of new parcels desired as a result of the division.
  3. The form has signature spots for 5 new tract owners. If more are necessary you can duplicate page 2 and change the tract numbers below the signature. One owner can sign for all tracts by signing one signature spot and writing the range of tract numbers at the bottom.
  4. At the top of the third page, fill in the current volume and the permanent index number(s). This information can be found on the tax bill(s).
  5. The exempt section is located on the third page. This section is to be completed only when exempt parcels are being divided or consolidated. The petitioner must indicate whether or not the exemption is to be continued for one or more of the new parcels. An exemption can only be continued on behalf of the original exempt entity and is not transferable from one exempt entity to another. If an exemption is to be continued, a completed Continued Use Affidavit form must accompany the petition. These forms can be obtained by contacting the Division or Exempt department.
  6. Below the exempt section, list the original and new legal descriptions. First list the legal description(s) as currently described on the County Clerk's Records. Non-certified copies of legal descriptions are available for a fee in the Clerk’ s Map Department. Then list the new legal descriptions. Each new legal description on the form and on the surveys must be labeled with tract numbers that correspond with the tract numbers assigned to the appropriate signatures. If the division has metes and bounds legal descriptions, a plat of survey showing acreage must be attached.
  7. The total area represented by all of the new legal descriptions must equal the total area represented by all of the original legal descriptions. The new legal descriptions cannot overlap or leave an area unaccounted for.
  8. A survey is required for all legal descriptions that use horizontal elevations to describe the property. In these legal descriptions, elevations must be described in reference to Chicago City Datum (CCD).
  9. When filing a petition for property in unsubdivided land, the Plat Act must be considered. If the petitioner wishes to create parcels that are smaller than 5 acres, either a plat of subdivision must be filed or one of the exceptions to the act must be established.
  10. A new tax parcel cannot be created from one or more parcels with different tax codes or different recorded subdivisions.

Do you still have questions?

Feel free to contact the Division department at (phone) 312-603-5323, (fax) 312-603-5247.