Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office on Monday released the 2006 property tax rates for more than 1,200 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, director 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 3.4 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 2.5 percent more than the amount extended this year based on the Consumer Price Index released in January 2007. Revenue needed to pay bonds is excluded if the bonds fall under the district’s total bond indebtedness as of March 1, 1995.
According to Vaselopulos, the equalization factor issued by the state decreased this year to 2.7076 percent, down 0.901 percent from 2.732 last year.
Under legislation just enacted (Public Act 95-0644), which coincides with this year’s reassessment of the City of Chicago, homeowners in Chicago became eligible for a higher exemption under the Alternative Homestead Exemption provisions of the Property Tax Code, commonly known as the “7-percent assessment cap.”
This program, first enacted in 2004, acts to phase in each year a 7-percent increase of a property’s taxable value. The precise amount of taxable value that is phased in each year, and the value of the exemption granted for any particular property, will vary based on the value of the home and the amount of the assessment increase.
The standard maximum exemption for Chicago residents this year is $33,000, up from $20,000 last year. The minimum exemption is $5,000, Vaselopulos said.
Chicago homeowners whose property values have increased more than 80 percent since 2002 are eligible to exempt an additional $2,000 to $7,000 this year only, with a potential maximum exemption of $40,000. Next year, the standard maximum in Chicago drops to $26,000, although homeowners who have lived in their homes at least 10 years and who meet certain income restrictions can apply for a larger exemption.
Suburban homeowners continue under the previous assessment cap provision until they are reassessed over the next two years. At most, they can receive an exemption of $20,000 this year, with the same $5,000 minimum as for Chicago homeowners. Reassessments in the north suburbs will occur for the 2007 tax year, while the south suburban homeowners will be reassessed for 2008, Vaselopulos said.
Also, the Senior Citizen Exemption continues to entitle qualifying residents to an additional $3,500 exemption.