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Tentative 2021 Cook County Equalization Factor Set

The Illinois Department of Revenue announced a tentative 2021 Cook County Equalization Factor on June 14, 2022.  The tentative Cook County Equalization Factor of 2.7297 was announced much later this year than in previous years.  For example, the 2020 tentative Equalization Factor which was announced on January 25, 2021.  This later release was representative of a long delay in the Assessor’s finalization of his appeal process for a variety of stated reasons.  Every year, the Illinois Department of Revenue is legally required to calculate the equalization factor to achieve uniform property assessments throughout the state of Illinois.  The equalization factor is one of the main components which are used to configure the property tax bills in Cook County.

The tentative 2021 Equalization Factor or “multiplier” represents a 15.32% decrease from the final 2020 Equalization Factor of 3.2234.  The final factor will be set closer to the issuance of the second installment tax bill which will occur after the Cook County Board of Review completes its complaint hearing process and certifies its final assessments for the 2021 tax year.  This date is unknown, but some have speculated that the second installment 2021 real estate tax bills may issue in November, 2022 with a due date for payment in December, 2022.

Also released in this press release, the average three-year level of assessment is 8.91% for Class 2 (residential) properties, 9.44% for Class 3 (apartment) properties, 29.26% for Class 5a (commercial) properties and 30.80% for Class 5b (industrial) properties.  The three-year average level of assessments (weighted by class) for Cook County property is 12.21%.  The Department of Revenue calculates the tentative multiplier by dividing Cook County’s 33.33 level of assessment into the three-year average of 12.21 to calculate the tentative multiplier of 2.7297.

The 3-year median assessment levels are one indicator as to the accuracy of the Assessor’s work.  With Class 2 (single-family) and Class 3 (multi-family) residential properties being assessed at 10% of the property’s fair market value, the median levels are fairly accurate, within 6-11% accuracy of the  stated assessment level of 10%.  Both commercial and industrial properties however, have higher than the 25% levels of assessment by more than 16-24%, indicating an additional burden on those property owners relative to the Assessor’s own stated level of assessment.

If the median level of assessment for all property in the county varies from the 33 1/3 percent level of assessment required by law, an equalization factor is assigned to bring assessment to the legally mandated level by the Illinois Property Tax Code.

For any further questions related to the operation of the multiplier on your tax bill, feel free to contact our offices for a further conversation.