Tax Information

From the Annual Budget for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2018 (PDF, 941 KB), which can be found as part of our Institutional Publications and Business and Financial Services web pages.

Property Taxes

The County Assessor is responsible for assessment of all taxable real property within Cook County, except for certain railroad property which is assessed directly by the State of Illinois. Reassessment is conducted on a three year schedule established by the County Assessor. The County Clerk computes the annual tax for each parcel of real property and prepares tax books used by the County Collector as the basis for issuing tax bills to all taxpayers in the county.

The County Assessor is responsible for appraising the value of all real property and railroad property not used for transportation purposes. Railroad property used for operations and pollution control equipment are assessed by the Illinois Department of Revenue. In Cook County, property is classified for assessment into six categories with various percentages of fair market value as detailed below:

Property Class

Assessment Percentage

Commercial

25%

Industrial

25%

Rental-Residential

16%

Miscellaneous

10%

Residential

10%

Unimproved Land

10%

The County Assessors' valuations are subject to appeal by the taxpayer and then to equalization by the Illinois Department of Revenue. Equalization is necessary for the fair implementation of certain state statutes. Assessed valuation of property is a component in formulas for various education, transportation, and public assistance grants to local jurisdictions, so it is important that assessed values be made equivalent statewide. State statutes that limit property tax rates and bonded indebtedness of local governments are also related to assessed value.

Property taxes are both collected and remitted by the County Treasurer. Taxes levied in one year become due and payable in two installments during the following year, the first, on March 1st and the second, on August 1st. The first installment is an estimated bill and is 55% of the prior year's tax bill. The second installment is based upon the current levy, assessment, equalization, certificate to limit levy, and other factors. Changes from the prior year will be reflected in the second installment bill. The tax levy submitted to Cook County must be approved by the Board of Trustees and reported to the County Clerk on or before the last Tuesday in December for the following collection year. The levy becomes a retroactive enforceable lien against the property as of January 1st of the year in which the levy is passed.

Taxes may be levied for a variety of purposes or funds. The following table lists the tax categories the College has used and the present status of each. Data is from the Tax Year 2016 Agency Tax Rate Report, commonly termed the rate card, issued by the Office of the County Clerk. The 2016 report is the most recent available.

Tax Category

Current Rate

Statutory Maximum

Education Fund

0.1767

0.7500

Operation/Maintenance Fund

0.0377

0.1000

Audit Fund

0.0005

0.0050

Life Safety

0.0000

0.1000

Liability/Settlement/Protection Fund

0.0000

None

Social Security/Medicare

0.0000

None

Bond and Interest Fund

0.0000

*

Total

0.2149

 

*The rate depends on the value of the bond issue; no maximums are imposed.

The Current Rate in the table above is the levy rate from the 2016 tax levy. The Statutory Maximum is the highest tax rate permitted by state law. The term “None” means no maximum is imposed.

Property Tax Limitations

CPI Percent change line graph

The Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) requires that tax levy calculations be based on the prior year’s EAV and limits the increase in property tax extensions to the lesser of 5% or the percent increase in the national Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the prior year.

For the 2016 levy year, on which the current budget is partly based, the change is measured from December 2015 to December 2016; this change was 0.7%, so the cap for the 2016 levy year is 0.7%. Therefore, for calculating and testing the 2016 aggregate tax levy, which was acted on by the Board of Trustees in December 2016 and which will provide revenues for the second half of Fiscal Year 2017 and the first half of Fiscal Year 2018, it is necessary to use the EAV from 2016 and the CPI from December 2016 to verify compliance with applicable tax laws.

The County Clerk automatically reduces the aggregate levy if it exceeds the PTELL; however, the College can specify how the reduction will be applied to the individual tax levies if other than a proportional basis reduction is appropriate. For example, the College can instruct the County Clerk, by resolution, to apply all of any reduction due to PTELL to a specific levy and leave the other levies intact.

The general effect of PTELL is to limit revenue growth from property taxes to the rate of inflation plus an allowance for new property; however, taxpayers are still allowed to grant additional growth to a taxing district through referendum. The cap applies to the total, or aggregate, extension for a taxing district (excluding certain types of bonds), so an increase in the tax extension for one fund can be offset by a decrease in the extension for another fund because the cap applies to the total extension for the receiving taxing district, not to the individual levies or to the rates. Furthermore, the cap does not prevent or limit increases on individual tax bills, which can increase from other factors, such as new construction or additions to the property. New additions to the tax base are exempted from the cap in the first year and become part of the base the following year. While this discussion provides a general overview of tax limitation, the law itself is somewhat more complex and should be consulted for a more detailed analysis; such analysis will also specify limitation exceptions and exclusions.

Truth in Taxation

The Cook County Truth in Taxation Law imposes procedural processes and limitations on the District's real estate taxing powers. The law requires that not less than twenty days prior to the adoption of its aggregate levy, the District shall determine the amounts of money estimated to be necessary to be raised by taxation for that year upon the taxable property in the District. If the estimated aggregate levy exceeds 105% of the prior year’s aggregate tax extension (not the prior year’s levy, which may be more or less than the tax extension), the District must publish notice and hold a public hearing on its intent to adopt such a levy. The notice, with specified statutory form, is required to be published not less than seven nor more than fourteen days prior to the public hearing date. Truth in Taxation is independent of and unaffected by the property tax extension limitation laws.

Comparison of Property Tax Rates

The following table shows that Oakton's total property tax rate is 12.27 points lower than the average, total tax rate for colleges in the local area. The data comes from the Illinois Community College Board’s annual community college property tax rate survey.

 

Oakton

Local Area* Avg.

State Highest^

State Lowest

State Avg.

Property Tax Rates: Tax Levy Year 2015

Education Fund

20.71

25.51

49.99

0.17

19.37

Operation/ Maintenance Fund

4.41

6.79

74.80

0.04

5.78

Total Operating Funds:

25.12

32.30

124.79

0.21

25.15

Liability, Protect, Settle Fund

0.00

1.36

16.29

0.00

4.70

Bond and Interest Fund

1.84

5.33

29.12

0.00

5.29

Audit Fund

0.01

0.13

0.50

0.01

0.23

All Other

0.00

0.12

17.33

0.00

5.91

Total All Funds:

26.97

39.24

188.03

0.22

41.28

*Local Area Colleges included in the average are DuPage, Elgin, Harper, Lake County, Moraine Valley, Morton, Oakton, Prairie State, South Suburban, and Triton.
^ Data is for individual colleges and is not cumulative.