Wondering why your November 2010 tax bill went up about 9%?

November 23, 2010

District 15 property taxes went down by $0.4 million. But the typical homeowner actually paid about 9% more due mainly to a shift in tax burden from non-residential property taxpayers to homeowners.

District 15's property taxes for the 2009 tax year (paid in 2010) actually went down by $0.4 million from $110.1 million to $109.7 million. But the typical homeowner instead saw their taxes for District 15 increase by about 9%.

District 15 Taxes 2008 Tax Year 2009 Tax Year Change %
Total Equalized Assessed Value (EAV)  $  4,617,764,493  $  4,755,559,281 3.0%
District 15 Tax Rate ($ per $100 EAV)  $2.385  $2.307  
District 15 Taxes Total  $      110,133,683  $      109,710,753 -0.4%
District 15 Taxes for Non-Residential  $        36,486,498  $        29,256,812 -19.8%
District 15 Taxes for Residential  $        73,647,185  $        80,453,941 9.2%
Residential Tax Share
(based on estimate of total Residential EAV)
67% 73%  

The main reason for this is a shift in tax burden for the 2009 tax year to homeowners from other property taxpayers. As shown in the table, homeowners paid about 67% of District 15 taxes for 2008 and 73% for 2009.

The $0.4 million reduction in taxes for District 15 mentioned above was the result of a tax reduction for bond payments of $0.8 million offset by a tax increase for other funds of $0.4 million (this was due to increases being limited to the amount of inflation, which was 0.1% in 2009).

Effective with the 2009 tax year the Cook County Assessor implemented a new county ordinance that assesses homeowners at 10% of market value and many other classes of property such as commercial and industrial at 25%. The result of how this law was implemented and tax appeals was that the total assessed value for non-residential property went down by about 9%. To learn more about this see the Cook County Assessor page 10/25 Ordinance.

The total assessed value for homeowners instead went up by about 10%. There were two main causes for these higher valuations. First was that the "State Equalization Factor" increased by 13% to account for the overall level of Cook County assessments that were lower than normal compared to actual property sales in 2009. This was offset by a 5% reduction in assessed value applied to Palatine Township homeowner properties for 2009.

The second main cause of higher homeowner assessments was the lower maximum exemption available in the "7% Expanded Homeowner Exemption." The maximum exemption for tax year 2008 was $26,000. This went down to $20,000 for 2009. For more information about this see the Cook County Assessor page Calculating The 7% Expanded Homeowner Exemption.

As you can see from the table above the end result was homeowners paying about $6.8 million more of the District 15 property tax bill. I was unable to find any information whether this shift in tax burden was intended by the Cook County Board, Assessor and the Board of Review.

For tax year 2010 (for which reassessment notices were mailed November 19, 2010) it appears that the tax burden will shift again but this time away from homeowners. The typical homeowner's assessment went down by 11%. The typical commercial/industrial assessment for some large properties went up by a large percentage. But there will undoubtedly be appeals by commercial and industrial property owners so it is too soon to say for sure how this will turn out.

Scott Herr


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