The tax rate release 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 a
nindividual taxing body has requested to collect from the property tax.Under Illinois State Statute, each Cook County taxing body with a statutory fund rate ceiling has its levyadjusted to the maximum amount based on the statutory fund ceiling for the district and the previous
year’s total equalized assessed value (EAV) of property plus the value of any new construction, or thecurrent year EAV―whichever is less.
This calculation can restrict the agency from receiving the full amount of its levy. Statutory rate limitsapply to most categories of taxing agencies, but not to home rule units such as the City of Chicago andthe County of Cook.In accordance with the tax cap requirements of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), therevenue that agencies may collect is further limited this year, in most cases, to a 3.0 percent increase
over the prior year’s extension. Home rule agencies are exempt from this limitation. Next year, tax
revenues will be limited to 1.7 percent more than the amount extended this year based on theConsumer Price Index released in January, 2013.According to Vaselopulos, the equalization factor issued by the Illinois Department of Revenuedecreased this year to 2.8056, down 5.55 percent from 2.9706 last year. The Department calculates thefactor needed to bring the total assessed value of all properties to a level equal to 33
percent of themarket value of all Cook County real estate.For the vast majority of taxpayers, the 2012 taxable value of their property, or EAV, will be lower thanthe 2011 EAV. This is due, in large part, to the equalization factor being reduced by 5.5% this year. Forareas in the county that were not reassessed (all of suburban Cook) the EAV may have decreased by 7%to 9%. In Chicago, the area that was reassessed, the average EAV decrease was 13%. The reason for thelarger decreases in the City is assessment reductions, in addition to the lower multiplier. Thesepercentages reflect township-wide reductions.
Individual taxing districts’ EAV decreases may vary.
The reduced EAVs result in higher tax rates for the vast majority of taxing districts. But this does notnecessarily cause higher tax bills and more money for taxing districts. Districts continue to be limited bythe CPI increase under PTELL.
The Alternative Homestead Exemption, commonly known as the “7 percent assessment cap” is now
phased out in Chicago. Most homeowners in the City will receive the minimum exemption of $7,000.Over the next two years it will also be phased out in the north and south triennial reassessment areas.The exemption, first enacted in 2004, phased in a 7 percent incre
ase of a property’s taxable value each
year, subject to maximums which have varied under different versions of the program.In 2010 the program was extended for a final three-year reassessment cycle, phasing in across thecounty, with maximum exemptions declining from $20,000 to $16,000 and then to $12,000. Theresidents of north suburban Cook enter their third and final year under the extended cap, withhomeowners eligible for a reduced maximum exemption of $12,000 this year, down from $16,000.Residents of south suburban Cook, in their second year under the extended cap, are able to receive anexemption maximum of $16,000 this year, down from $20,000. Legislation was recently passed
increasing the minimum homeowner’s exemption for all of Cook County from
$6,000 to $7,000,Vaselopulos said.Vaselopulos added that some homeowners continue to be eligible for a Long-Time HomeownerExemption that can provide additional relief to income-eligible homeowners who have lived in their