Overview of Illinois Taxes
The state of Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the country. The statewide average effective tax rate is 2.32%, nearly double the national average.
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To calculate the exact amount of property tax you will owe requires your property's assessed value and the property tax rates based on your property's address. Please note that we can only estimate your property tax based on median property taxes in your area. There are typically multiple rates in a given area, because your state, county, local schools and emergency responders each receive funding partly through these taxes. In our calculator, we take your home value and multiply that by your county's effective property tax rate. This is equal to the median property tax paid as a percentage of the median home value in your county.
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Jennifer Mansfield, CPA Tax
Jennifer Mansfield, CPA, JD/LLM-Tax, is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 30 years of experience providing tax advice. SmartAsset’s tax expert has a degree in Accounting and Business/Management from the University of Wyoming, as well as both a Masters in Tax Laws and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. Jennifer has mostly worked in public accounting firms, including Ernst & Young and Deloitte. She is passionate about helping provide people and businesses with valuable accounting and tax advice to allow them to prosper financially. Jennifer lives in Arizona and was recently named to the Greater Tucson Leadership Program.
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Illinois Property Tax
The state of Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the country. The statewide average effective tax rate is 2.32%, nearly double the national average. The average homeowner in Illinois pays $4,058 annually in property taxes. In some areas the average payment is upwards of $6,000 per year.
Part of the reason for the high property taxes is that there are over 8,000 different taxing authorities in Illinois. Property taxes in Illinois support city governments, county governments and school districts, along with a vast number of other local services and projects. Among the types of taxing districts that may appear on your property tax bill in Illinois are fire protection districts, sanitary districts, park districts and even mosquito abatement districts.
If you’re considering buying a property in Illinois, the thought of high property taxes may be a bit overwhelming. To help make the homebuying process a bit easier, take a look at our Illinois mortgage rates guide, which has important details about getting a mortgage in the Prairie State, including information specific to each county.
Looking to calculate your potential monthly mortgage payment? Check out our mortgage calculator.
How Property Taxes in Illinois Work
Property tax assessments and collections in Illinois run on a roughly two-year cycle. In year one, local assessing official appraise real estate to determine a market value for each home in their area. The assessed value of property in most of Illinois is equal to 33.33% (one-third) of the market value of the residential property. In Cook County, however, the assessment ratio is 10% on residential property and 25% on commercial property.
After local officials calculate the assessed values of properties, county boards review these values to determine if they are correct. These county boards may equalize assessed values. If they find, for example, that the property in a certain district was appraised at half of its actual value, they will apply an equalization factor of 2, doubling the assessed value of everything in the district.
Property owners also have the opportunity to protest their assessed value before the county board. If a homeowner is not satisfied with the county board’s decision, they can appeal to the State Property Tax Appeal Board or even the circuit court.
The state of Illinois also equalizes values between counties by issuing an equalization factor for each county. This ensures that assessed property values in all counties are comparable.
Property Tax Exemptions in Illinois
There are a number of exemptions that can reduce assessed value (and therefore property tax payments) in Illinois. The most significant is the General Homestead Exemption, which is available to homeowners living in their principal residence. The General Homestead Exemption is equal to a $7,000 reduction in assessed value in Cook County and $6,000 in all other counties.
Another important exemption is the Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption. This exemption is available to homeowners who are 65 years or older and can be applied to their primary residence only. It is equal to a $5,000 reduction in assessed value.
Illinois Property Tax Rates
Specific tax rates in Illinois are determined based on the total tax base, or the total value of property with a district. In the second year of the property tax cycle each taxing authority determines its levy based on the tax base and the revenue it needs. Thus, rates change each year depending on property values and revenue needs (which are typically subject to voter approval).
Usually, however, changes in rates are minor. Increases in total taxes are limited by the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL). This law limits property tax growth that results from rising property values. In this situation revenues (and therefore tax bills) cannot grow faster than the rate of inflation (change in the Consumer Price Index) or 5%, whichever is lower.
Despite that limitation, property taxes in Illinois are quite high. The table below shows average effective property tax rates for every Illinois County.
|County||Median Home Value||Median Annual Property Tax Payment||Average Effective Property Tax Rate|
Cook County is the largest county in Illinois and home to more than 40% of the state’s residents. Property tax rates in Cook County are actually lower than the state average, with an average rate of 2.14% in the county. The state average is 2.32%.
While Cook County’s assessment level of 10% for residential property is lower than the level in the rest of the state (33.33%), this difference is more or less wiped out by the state equalization factor, which was 2.8032 for the year 2016. That means assessed values as initially calculated are multiplied by 2.8032 to reach the assessed values to which taxes are applied.
Taxpayers in Chicago actually pay rates slightly lower than those in many surrounding cities. Over half of the revenue generated by Chicago property taxes goes to the Board of Education. About 18% of the tax revenue goes to the city itself and just over 8% goes to the county. In total the average Chicago homeowner pays about $3,538 annually in property taxes, compared to a Cook County average of $4,696.
A typical homeowner in DuPage County pays $6,375 each year in property taxes. That is the second highest in the state but it is reflective of high home values in the state. The average home in DuPage County is worth more than $280,000, highest of any Illinois county. In fact, rates in DuPage County are about average for the state, with an average effective rate of 2.25%.
If you are looking for low property taxes in Illinois, Lake County may not be the best choice. The county, which sits to the north of Chicago, has an average effective property tax rate of over 2.84%. This is the fifth highest rate in the state. However, in absolute terms, Lake County homeowners pay more than anyone else in the state. The average homeowner in Lake County pays $6,997 in property taxes annually.
Will County sits to the south of DuPage and Cook counties and is home to the fourth largest city in the state, Joliet. Property taxes in Will County are well above both the state and national averages. The average effective property tax rate in the county is 2.67%, more than double the national average. That means that if you own a $200,000 home in Will County, you can expect to pay more than $5,000 a year in property taxes.
The fifth most populous county in Illinois, Kane County also has some of the highest property taxes. The typical Kane County homeowner pays $5,865 annually in property taxes. While that's $1,800 more than the state average, it is also less than neighboring DuPage County, where the average payment is more than $6,000 annually.
McHenry County has a below-average effective property tax rate in the state of Illinois. The average rate in the county is 2.03%. The largest recipient of funds from county property taxes are local schools, with school districts receiving over half of all revenue. Cities are the second largest recipient.
With a population of about 300,000, Winnebago County is the seventh largest county in Illinois. It is located in the north-central part of the state and contains the state’s third largest city, Rockford. The county’s average effective property tax rate is the second highest in the state at 2.97%. In Rockford the rate is even higher at over 3.22%.
St. Clair County
St. Clair County levies taxes on real estate to support the county government, as well as cities and schools. The average homeowner in St. Clair County pays $2,642 in property taxes annually. That’s about $1,400 below the state average.
Across the Mississippi river from St. Louis, Missouri, Madison County has lower property taxes than many of Illinois’s other highly populated counties. The average effective property tax rate in Madison County is 1.98%, which ranks just 41st in the state and is well below the state average.
Champaign County contains the sister cities of Champaign and Urbana, as well as the campus of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. The typical homeowner in the county pays $3,307 annually in property taxes. The city of Champaign has a listed tax rate of about 8% but that applies to equalized assessed value, which is usually about one-third of market value.
Property Tax: Which Counties are Getting the Best Bang for Their Buck
SmartAsset’s interactive map highlights the places across the country where property tax dollars are being spent most effectively. Zoom between states and the national map to see the counties getting the biggest bang for their property tax buck.
Our study aims to find the places in the United States where people are getting the most for their property tax dollars. To do this we looked at school rankings, crime rates and property taxes for every county.
As a way to measure the quality of schools, we calculated the average math and reading/language arts proficiencies for all the school districts in the country. Within each state, these schools were then ranked between 1 and 10 (with 10 being the best) based on those average scores.
For each county, we calculated the violent and property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Using the school and crime numbers, we calculated a community score. This is the ratio of the school rank to the combined crime rate per 100,000 residents.
We used the number of households, median home value and average property tax rate to calculate a per capita property tax collected for each county.
Finally, we calculated a tax value by creating a ratio of the community score to the per capita property tax paid. This shows us the counties in the country where people are getting the most bang for their buck, or where their property tax dollars are going the furthest.
Sources: US Census Bureau 2016 American Community Survey, Department of Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation, State Police or Justice Department websites