Glossary of Cook County Real Estate Tax Terms

    Glossary of Cook County Real Estate Tax Terms

    arrears – any reduction in your tax bill this year will be reflected on the tax bill received next year, because taxes are paid one year in arrears.

    condominiums – Because of the inherent similarity and thus assessment uniformity of condominiums, it is difficult to build a case for a reduction for a unity owner. We can, however, represent the entire building as one property, and if successful, lower every unity owner’s assessment.

    exemptions – do not need to be appealed. A property owner entitled to an exemption should receive it simply by applying.

    multiplier – a number applied equally to all Cook County properties, based on Department of Revenue calculations. It is intended to “equalize” all values in Cook County, creating an assessment base of 33%.

    PTAB – Property Tax Appeals Board; the third level of appeals; a State Agency.

    Senior Citizen Freeze – If you are a senior citizen, and your gross household income is LESS THAN $55,000, you may be eligible for a senior citizen freeze. This is a policy that freezes your current assessment level for as long as you own your property. You can apply for the freeze at the Cook County Assessor’s office.

    square footage – the outer measurements of a home times its number of floors (length X width X number of stories). Assessors measure only heated living areas, so unless there are people living in your attic/basement/porch/garage, these areas do not count.

    Tax Rates (local): dollars required by the taxing district DIVIDED BY total assessed valuation. This is subject to appeal, but if there are any refunds, they are tiny fractions of the taxes paid.

    uniformity – The Constitution of the State of Illinois requires that property be assessed uniformly with similar properties, so using dollar per square foot values, uniformity is used to compare your property’s assessment to other surrounding properties’ assessments. If all similar neighboring properties are assessed at 6% of value, yours should be, too.

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