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Property Taxes Due TODAY!

By vouchey in News on Nov 15, 2004 12:49PM

Cook County Property Tax BillTrue, people that have property, and actually pay property taxes aren't really Chicagoist's demographic (or we assume, we're not doing much market research these days). But as a public service, we thought we'd remind you of those taxes you gotta pay by 5:00 pm today. Cook County residents should hustle down to the County Treasurer's office in person by 5:00 pm, or pay on-line by 11:59 pm.

For obvious reasons, property taxes are immensely unpopular everywhere, but tremendously important in Illinois. A ton of taxing bodies get their funding from property taxes, including Chicago Public Schools, city employee pensions, Chicago City Colleges, and of course traditional services like our police and fire departments.

But there's a certain amount of mystery for a lot of people on how the tax bill is calculated in Cook County. It goes like this: First, the Assessor determines how much your property is worth, then local government (the state never collects property tax) determines what percentage rate you will be taxed, then you work to qualify for various exemptions, like the senior or veteran homestead exemptions. Finally, you pay the Treasurer.

Sounds simple, right? Well, any homeowner knows that their property isn't really assessed by the Assessor at the actual sale value. In fact, there's a funky dance when it comes to assessment. If you don't like your assessment, you can appeal to the property tax appeals board, and when large commercial properties change hands or are developed, there's a lot of negotiation between owners and the Assessor.

Good times.