Cook County recently released 2014 property tax rates, which is the final step in the tax process before tax bills are mailed. We expect tax bills to be mailed in late June and be due August 3, 2015. Here are some of the changes in the 2014 tax base and rates and how these changes might affect your tax bill:
- Except in the south suburbs, property values are rebounding…. Overall, property values in Chicago and the north suburbs rose by 4.08% and 1.39%, respectively, in 2014. This was the first overall increase since 2009. The south suburbs were re-assessed in 2014 and overall values there fell by 3.2%.
- Local government spending continues to rise…. Countywide, local government will bill 2.16% more in property taxes in 2014 than in 2013. Property tax caps limited most local governmental agencies to a 1.8% increase; however, some agencies (home-rule municipalities, for example) are not limited by tax caps and capped agencies are entitled to take more than 1.8% in certain limited circumstances. As a result, overall tax billings exceeded the 1.8% capped amount. Good news for 2015, the capped limit will be 0.8%. Equalized tax rates rose by more than 2% in 2014 … Equalized tax rates are applied to your assessment to determine the amount of your tax bill (before exemptions). On the average, they rose by 2.07% in Chicago and 2.37% in the suburbs. These are averages and the actual change will vary depending on the location of your property.
- Your 2014 property tax bill is likely to increase by at least 2% +/- unless your assessment fell … Since 2014 equalized tax rates rose by more than 2%, your tax bill is likely to increase by at least 2% unless your assessment was reduced. And, if your assessment increased, your tax bill will increase by that percentage plus the 2% +/- increase in your local equalized tax rates, compounding the pain.
It pays to contest your assessment … You cannot control government spending and increases in tax rates, but you can control your assessment through the tax appeal process and, by so doing, reduce your tax bill or limit its growth.
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