Illinois Property Taxes
Overview of Illinois Taxes
The State of Illinois and all other local governments in Illinois collect a total of $119 billion in revenue every year. Of that, $28 billion comes from property taxes or 24 percent of total revenue.
How does that $28 billion translate into what homeowners actually pay? The average home value across Illinois is $228,377, and the average Illinois property tax rate is about 2% of home value. That works out to about $19.97 for every $1,000 in home value.
If you are planning to buy a home in Illinois and want to understand the size of your property tax bill, check out our Illinois Property Tax Tool to see what your bill would be.
The Illinois property tax rate is the 2nd highest property tax rate in the country, which is 87 percent more than the national average of 1.06 percent. In Illinois, the vast majority of property tax revenue, 62 percent, goes to school districts. Illinois property taxes also play a critical role in funding local governments and are often the primary source of revenue for police and fire departments, street maintenance, and public recreation.
Unlike federal income taxes, the process the government uses to determine Illinois property taxes is subjective. The government body responsible for administering the property tax system, usually called the assessor, must first establish how much your property is worth before they can determine how much you owe.
A common misconception homeowners have about Illinois property taxes is their understanding of the difference between assessed value and tax rate. The assessed value of your home is how much the County Assessor says your property is worth. The tax rate is then applied to the value determined by the local assessor. Assessments can be appealed, tax rates cannot.
It’s important to note that most assessor’s offices use specialized software known as Computerized Mass Appraisal (CAMA) to determine how much property is worth. This process is separate from how Illinois property tax rates are determined. Because property is assessed using a computer system, it is common for properties to be overassessed, resulting in a higher tax bill than necessary. If you can make a case that the assessor overvalued your property, you can reduce how much you owe.
When appealing your property tax, you need to find data, such as comparable sales, that demonstrates the assessment proposed by the Assessor is incorrect and that the value should be lowered. The reduction in assessed value is then factored into your property taxes, resulting in a lowered bill for you, the taxpayer.
Illinois Property Tax Due Dates
In Illinois, the property tax cycle usually spans 2 years. In the first year of the cycle, the value of the property is assigned and in the second, tax bills are calculated and payments are collected. Once the assessments are made and released by the county, homeowners have the opportunity to appeal their property taxes.
In Illinois, properties are assigned assessments on January 1 of the current year. However, the mailing deadlines for assessment notices to be mailed, and the deadlines to appeal Illinois property taxes are not the same across the state. To get specific information regarding deadlines in your county or township, you can visit your county assessor’s website or use TaxProper to search for your property.
Although the assessment is not locked in until the January 1 deadline and can be reduced if you are appealing your property taxes, homeowners should always pay their bill in full unless they receive an official notice that the property tax bill has been lowered. Failing to pay your bill can result in expensive fines and, if you wait long enough, can even result in homeowners losing their house.
Tax bills in Illinois are mailed out by May 1st and the Illinois property tax due dates are as follows: the first installment payment is due by June 1 and the second installment is due by September 1. In Illinois, property tax bills are sent out and collected by the county treasurer.
Illinois Property Tax Exemptions
Illinois offers several property tax exemptions for homeowners that can reduce your property taxes. In most cases, the property must be occupied as a homeowner’s primary residence on January 1 of the applicable tax year. The two most common exemptions in Illinois are the General Homestead Exemption and the Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption.
The Homestead Exemption is available for residential properties that are occupied by homeowners as their primary residence. The exemption can reduce a homeowner’s assessment by up to a maximum of $10,000 in Cook County and up to $6,000 in all other Illinois counties and is offered annually.
Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption
The Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption is homeowners who are 65 or older and are responsible for paying their real estate taxes. To qualify, you must be at least 65 years old and have a total household income of $65,000 or less. The maximum amount of the reduction for this exemption is $8,000 for counties with at least 3 million inhabitants. The maximum amount for all other counties is $5,000. It is important to remember that exemptions reduce assessments, not Illinois property tax rates.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Illinois
The process of filing an assessment appeal varies across Illinois though it generally follows the same steps from county to county:
- Obtain your assessment
- Determine if you are overassessed
- Complete forms needed to appeal
- File property tax appeal
- Prepare for hearing
- Attend hearing
- Appeal the decision
Each local goverment in Illinois will have its own process for how to do each step. If you are are a current homeowner in Illinois or are looking at buying a specific property in Illinois, you can also use TaxProper to determine if you should consider appealing your property tax assessment and to handle the appeal process for you.
How to Appeal Your Property Taxes in Cook County
To illistrate how to complete these steps, we are going to walk you through how to appeal your property taxes in Cook County, the largest county in Illinois.
Obtain your assessment
Residents of Cook County have their homes reassessed every three years and will receive a notice of such once their township has been reassessed. Our website contains the reassessment schedule and corresponding appeal dates broken down by township.
Determine if you are overassessed
To calculate your property tax bill, the county assessor first determines the Fair Market Value of your home. For residential property owners, the assessed value is 10% of the Fair Market Value. To determine if your home has been overassessed, you can research sales of properties comparable to your own using websites such a Zillow or by using TaxProper’s search tool.
Complete forms needed to appeal
All of the filing forms can be found on the Asessor's website, and the main form you will need to file the authorization form. The authorization form certifies that you are allowed to file the property tax appeal because you are the owner. There are also a few other designations, such as being a tenat liable for tax, that would allow you to file an appeal for a proprerty. You will also need to file the actual evidence you are using to justify the appeal, but there is no standardized form for evidence submission.
File property tax appeal
In Cook County, appeals can be filed online, delivered in person at the Cook County Assessor’s Office, or mailed to the Cook County Assessor's Office. If possible, we recommend filing appeals online. The Cook County Assessor's website has an online filing portal that will walk you through the filing process and allow you to upload the relevant documents needed to appeal.
Prepare for hearing
In Cook County, you do not need to attend a hearing with the Cook County Assessor. Your preperation will consist of preparing the evidence you submitted with your appeal.
The Cook County Assessor’s Office does not hold hearings. Instead, they will return their decision in six to eight weeks after you file.
Appeal the decision
If you are unhappy with the Assessor's decision, you can appeal again to the Cook County Board of Review which is responsbile for ensuring that the Assessor's office acted appropriately when reviewing your evidence.
Property Tax Information for Illinois Counties
The table below provides county-level information about how property taxes work in each Illinois county.
Want to learn more? Click the county links to learn more about a specific Illinois county.
|County||Average Home Value||Average Tax Bill||Bill per $1,000|
|De Witt County||$129,924||$2,125||$16.40|
|Jo Daviess County||$180,850||$2,911||$16.10|
|Rock Island County||$135,885||$2,880||$21.20|
|St. Clair County||$145,619||$2,935||$20.20|