Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office on Thursday released the 2010 property tax rates for more than 1,500 taxing agencies in Chicago and suburban Cook County.
This completes a process that started last December when each local taxing district, as required by law, filed its levy with the Clerk’s office. Each levy represents the amount of revenue an individual taxing body has requested to collect from the property tax.
“The Clerk’s office receives the levies, which are the amount of tax money requested by each jurisdiction, and calculates the tax rates based on state law,” said Bill Vaselopulos, manager of the Clerk’s Tax Extension Department.
Tax rates are calculated by using the amount of dollars levied by the taxing agency and the value of all taxable property located within its boundaries.
Under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, each Cook County taxing body with a statutory ceiling has its levy adjusted to the maximum amount based on the statutory ceiling for the district and the previous year’s total equalized assessed value of property, plus the value of any new construction.
This calculation can restrict the agency from receiving the full amount of its levy. Statutory rate limits apply to most categories of taxing agencies, but not to home rule units such as the City of Chicago and the County of Cook.
In accordance with the tax cap requirements of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, the revenue that agencies may collect is further limited, in most cases, to a 2.7 percent increase over that from the prior year’s extension. Home rule agencies are exempt from this limitation. Next year, tax revenues will be limited to 1.5 percent more than the amount extended this year based on the Consumer Price Index released in January, 2011.
According to Vaselopulos, the equalization factor issued by the Illinois Department of Revenue decreased this year to 3.3000, down 2.08 percent from 3.3701 last year. The Department calculates the factor needed to bring the total assessed value of all properties to a level equal to 33⅓ percent of the market value of all Cook County real estate.
Homeowners are again entitled to take advantage of the Alternative Homestead Exemption, commonly known as the “7 percent assessment cap”. The exemption, first enacted in 2004, acts to phase in each year a 7-percent increase of a property’s taxable value, subject to maximums which have varied under different versions of the program.
In 2010 the program was extended for a full three-year reassessment cycle, phasing in across the county, with maximum exemptions declining from $20,000 to $16,000 and then to $12,000. The City of Chicago enters its second year under the extension, with Chicago homeowners eligible for a reduced maximum exemption of $16,000 this year. Residents of north suburban Cook, in their first year under the extension, are able to again receive an exemption maximum of $20,000, holding steady the amount permitted last year, their final one under the provision as enacted in 2007. South suburban Cook moves into its final year under that 2007 provision, with maximum amounts there down to $20,000 from $26,000. They will remain at that level next year when they enter their first year under the 2010 enactment. The minimum exemption for all Cook County homeowners is $6,000, Vaselopulos said.
Vaselopulos added that some homeowners continue to be eligible for a long-time homeowner exemption that can provide additional relief to income-eligible homeowners who have lived in their homes at least 10 years, or five years if the home was purchased under certain assistance programs. Under the program, qualifying taxpayers are not restricted to the maximum exemption amounts that would otherwise apply but would get varying benefits based on their qualifying income.
The Senior Citizen Exemption entitles qualifying residents to an additional $4,000 exemption. This year, for the first time, seniors were required to reapply for the exemption in order to continue their eligibility.
A sample of how to calculate a tax bill is included in the report. The impact of suburban tax rates can be figured by substituting the sample suburban rate with actual suburban rates.