Property Tax Glossary

Check out the list of terms below to brush up on your property tax vocab.

Check out the to the "Making Sense of Your Property Tax" to find out what's in store for the rest of the week.

Basic Concepts:

Property Tax: The amount of money you pay to own property in a civil society in one lump sum. It is based on local tax rates for your local taxing organizations (i.e. schools, municipalities, libraries) and your property’s value.

Sales Tax: A cost added to each retail purchase. It is based on tax rates for your local taxing organizations and the dollar value of the item purchased.

Total Tax Burden: This is the amount of money that your local taxing bodies levy to fund their services. Most of the money goes to public schools.

Local Taxing Bodies: Organizations built to serve your community that require tax money to operate.

Levels of Value:

Market Value: The dollar value of your property, determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it.

Property Value (PV): The dollar value of your property, as determined by the Cook County Assesssor’s Office, taking into account a variety of factors (i.e. the number of bathrooms in your home, the cost of the property next door, the age of your property). Properties in Cook County receive new assessments every three years.

Assessed Property Value (APV): The dollar amount of your property value that is taxable by Cook County. This number depends on your assessment level.

Equalized Assessed Value (EAV): The dollar percentage of your property value that is taxable by Cook County after the state’s Department of Revenue applies the equalization factor.

Fiscal Tools:

Assessment Level: This is numerical proportion (i.e. 10 percent, 25 percent or 33.3 percent) of your property value that Cook County taxes.

State Equalization Factor: A number determined by the Illinois Department of Revenue, this is a step multipled by Cook County property taxes to move the assessment level closer to the state's flat 33.3 percent tax rate for both residential and business properties.

Exemption: Discounts on your property tax bill if your property fits the necessary requirements. Taxpayers must fill out exemption forms with the Cook County Assessor’s Office to apply for the discounts.

Local Tax Rate: Determined by your local taxing bodies, this is the numerical rate used by Cook County to pay for local institutions. It varies according to township.

Total Tax Bill: The dollar amount you owe to the Cook County Treasurer’s Office to own a piece of property in the area where it is located; 45 percent is billed as the “first installment” in the following year, and 55 percent is billed as the “second installment” in the following year (i.e. you pay for your 2010 property bill in 2011).


Township Assessor’s Office: Where the township assessor, an elected official, helps township residents file for appeals and exemptions to the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

Cook County Assessor’s Office: Where the Cook County Assessor (currently Joseph Berrios) and his staff of about 300 people decide on property values for Cook County business and residential properties. Appeal hearings take place in the downtown Chicago office.

Cook County Board of Review (BOR): This is the second level of appeal for property owners in Cook County. Three elected commissioners manage the BOR with the power to change any assessment by the Cook County Assessor’s Office.

Cook County Treasurer’s Office: The county treasurer’s office mails property tax bills, collects payments from residents and redistributes the funds to local taxing bodies.

Cook County Clerk’s Office: The clerk’s office determines the local tax rate for the townships in Cook County, according to the amount of money requested by local taxing districts. If you pay your property tax bill late, you also deal with the clerk’s office.

jose vargas March 28, 2011 at 02:11 PM
The Players category could be trimmed down. A good source for cost cutting.
Jo ann gaynor March 28, 2011 at 04:13 PM
definately the "players" could be downsized-- but then where would all Berrios's relatives and friends get a job?????


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