2011 Cook County Property Tax Bills Due This Week

August 02, 2012

Second installment property tax bills for Cook County residents are due this week, the earliest due date since at least 1977, according to the elected officials associated with the Cook County property tax process.

Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office released the 2011 Cook County Tax Rates Report on June 26, 2012. The report lists property tax rates for all taxing districts in Cook County and provides sample composite rates for many municipalities. The composite rate is the total tax rate that appears on a tax bill.

The composite tax rate on a typical City of Chicago tax bill will increase from 4.931% last year to 5.455%. This is the second year in a row the rate has increased. Previously, tax rates had not increased between tax year 1998 (payable in 1999) when it grew from 8.843% to 8.872% in tax year 2009. The rise in tax rate does not mean that individual tax bills will necessarily increase, as is explained at the end of this blog post.

Tax rates have fallen dramatically in Chicago over the past decade due to significant increases in taxable value (Equalized Assessed Value, or EAV). However, EAV fell by 8.48% in the City of Chicago, from $82.1 billion in tax year 2010 to $75.1 billion in tax year 2011.

At the release of the 2011 tax rates, Tax Extension Manager Bill Vaselopulos reported that countywide tax extensions for all governments increased from $11.6 billion in tax year 2010 to $11.7 billion in tax year 2011.

Who has the highest 2011 composite tax rate in Cook County? Taxpayers in Ford Heights again have the highest rate at 27.186%. The second highest rate is in Park Forest at 24.915%.

Who has the lowest 2011 composite tax rate in Cook County? Taxpayers in the City of Chicago have the lowest rate at 5.455%. Taxpayers in Northfield (in School District 37 with no park district) have the second lowest rate, at 5.889%.

The following two graphs show the increase in property tax extensions for the primary governments on a City of Chicago property tax bill from 1990 to 2011 and the decrease in tax rates over the same period until the increase in 2010. Tax rates have fallen despite tax extensions increasing for several governments because the overall taxable value of property has increased more than extensions. For more on how this works, read the Civic Federation’s Tax Extension primer.

The new tax rates are printed on second installment tax bills that were mailed by the Cook County Treasurer’s office on June 30, 2012 and, as noted above, are due on August 1, 2012. Last year second installment tax bills were due on November 1, 2011.

First installment 2012 bills are expected to be due on March 1, 2013 and will be equal to 55% of the previous year’s tax bill.

Will your tax bill go up or down? As noted in this blog post, predicting individual tax bills is impossible because they depend not only on the amount of revenue requested by local governments but on changes to the relative value of one property compared to other properties.

None of the Cook County offices involved with property taxation produces an analysis of year-to-year changes in the tax bills of the over 1.8 million real estate parcels countywide, so there is no average or median data available on how many tax bills increase or decrease each year. Some property taxpayers’ bills do decline in a given year as the burden is shifted among properties.