“Oak Park Township Assessor Services can answer many questions on real estate assessment and property tax bills. Property values are determined by the Cook County Assessor’s office.”
First Installment Tax Bills Are Due March 2nd 2021
But May Be Paid Without Penalty As Late As May 3rd 2021
First installment property tax bills for tax year 2020 were mailed in the last week of January. According to Oak Park Township Assessor Ali ElSaffar, the bills indicate that taxes are due on March 2, but taxpayers can pay them as late as May 3 without having to pay any interest or late fees.
“Ordinarily, property owners who do not pay their taxes on time have to pay interest of 1.5% per month after the due date,” Assessor ElSaffar said. “Since the coronavirus pandemic has caused financial hardship for many taxpayers in Cook County, however, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to allow county taxpayers to pay as late as May 3 without having to pay interest.”
Each property's first installment bill will be fifty-five percent (55%) of the property's total tax bill for the previous year. The amount due on the second installment will be the total annual tax bill for each property, less the first installment payment. Second installment tax bills should be mailed in the summer of 2021.
Taxpayers should note that first installment tax bills will not reflect homeowner, senior citizen or other exemptions, nor will they reflect the impact of appeals and reassessments for tax year 2020. Exemptions, reassessments and successful appeals will instead appear on second installment bills, along with the effect of changes in the tax levies of local governments.
Details about Paying Taxes. If money for property taxes is paid into an escrow account with a taxpayer’s mortgage company, the financial institution should receive the tax bill electronically, even if the taxpayer also receives a copy of the bill. Assessor ElSaffar advises taxpayers with property tax escrows held by their mortgage companies not to pay property taxes on their own. If they do, an overpayment of property taxes may result.
Property owners who do not have mortgage companies paying their taxes can make tax payments in person, by mail, or online at the Cook County Treasurer’s web site, www.cookcountytreasurer.com.
Those wishing to pay in person can do so at the Cook County Treasurer’s downtown office at 118 N. Clark Street and at any Chase Bank in the Chicago area. Chase branches most convenient to Oak Park residents are located at 800 Madison Street and 1048 Lake Street in Oak Park, and at 630 N. Harlem Avenue in River Forest.
Release date: January 31, 2021 by Ali ElSaffar, Oak Park Township Assessor, 708-383-8005
View, print, and download the latest information from the Oak Park Township Assessor's Office.
Property Tax Exemptions
Senior Property Tax Exemptions
Applications for Senior Property Tax Exemptions have been mailed.
A new law in 2019 provides automatic renewal for the Senior Exemption; it is available to all homeowners 65 years of age or older, regardless of income.
Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemptions
All veterans who receive the Disabled Veterans Exemption are entitled to property tax savings.
A new law in 2016 allows veterans of the US Armed Forces who were severely wounded and while serving their country and who are at least 70% disabled complete exemption from property taxes
Frequently Asked Questions
In 2017, the state legislature approved a new program that provides state aid to school districts with very high property tax rates. This year, twenty-eight Illinois school districts, including Oak Park and River Forest High School, qualified for financial aid under the new program. The program provided the high school an extra $3.8 million in state aid this year, but in exchange, the school had to reduce its property tax levy. This year’s levy is $4.5 million less than the levy from last year.
Ordinarily, the high school and most other taxing districts have the right to increase their tax levies by an amount equaling the annual rate of inflation. If the school had not received the extra money from the state, it would have sought an inflation-level tax increase this year, and the result would have been a 4.4% tax increase for most property owners in Oak Park. Thanks to the extra state money, however, the typical tax increase in Oak Park is just 2.1%.
Local taxpayers should enjoy the tax relief provided by the new state program, but understand that it may not last. The high school should remain eligible for this increased aid from the state for a number of years, but the additional money is not guaranteed, as the state could fail to fund the program or alter the eligibility rules. In addition, program rules require the school district to reduce its tax levies in the initial year of the program, but apparently, do not require tax reductions in subsequent years. Thus the duration of this year’s tax relief depends on decisions of the state legislature and the high school board.
The reduction in the high school’s levy was offset by tax increases from local governments that did not receive new state aid targeted at reducing property taxes. These increases, however, were generally moderate. For example, the Township, the Park District, and Oak Park’s Village government each posted tax increases of about 3%.
The biggest local tax increase this year came from elementary school district 97. The primary reason for its 4.1% increase relates to the continuing impact of an error made two years ago, when the school district received $2.6 million more from a referendum than it expected. To make up for overtaxing two years ago, the school reduced its tax levies last year. With a 4.1% tax increase this year, District 97’s overall levy is now close to the level it would have reached if the district had collected the correct amount of money in 2017, and then received inflation-level tax increases in the next two years.
If you are eligible for a homeowner, senior citizen or other exemption but did not receive one, the Township Assessor’s office can assist you in obtaining a revised bill for a smaller amount. If you have received all exemptions for which you are eligible, you likely will not be able to do anything about your current bill.
Between July 1 and July 30, the Cook County Board of Review will be accepting appeals from Oak Park residents for next year’s taxes. Residents may call the Oak Park Township Assessor’s office during the appeal period to schedule an appointment for help in preparing an appeal. Alternatively, residents can get help at the end of the appeal period by attending a tax appeal seminar sponsored by the Board of Review. The seminar will take place on July 30 at 6:30 PM at the auditorium of Percy Julian Middle School, located at 416 S. Ridgeland Avenue in Oak Park.
Property Tax Assessment Resources
Cook County Websites
Cook County Assessor Forms
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