Tax Information

From the Annual Budget for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2011 (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. Reassessment is conducted on a three year schedule established by the 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 has historically been classified for assessment into six categories with various percentages of fair market value as detailed below. Effective with the 2009 tax year and for taxes payable in 2010 and future years, a new law has gone into effect. While bills for some taxpayers will change, it is not anticipated that aggregate tax collections will be impacted.

Assessment Percentage

Property Class

Prior Law

New Law
















Unimproved Land




The Assessors' valuations are subject to appeal by the taxpayer and then to equalization by the Illinois Department of Revenue. The purpose of equalization is to develop a common level of assessments among counties to provide a uniform basis for the distribution of state aid to schools and other state grant-in-aid programs. Equalization is accomplished by means of multipliers assigned to each county. A multiplier is applied to all assessments in a county except farm assessments (which are based upon productivity and sales) and state assessed property. The objective of adjusting assessments in this manner is to produce state-wide conformity in property assessments.

Property taxes are collected by the County Collector and are submitted to the County Treasurer, who remits to the governmental units their respective share of the collections. Taxes levied in one year become due and payable in two installments during the following year, generally on March 1st and on/about August 30th (although in recent years, payments have been due as early as August 7th and as late as November 1st). The first installment is an estimated bill and is 55% (recently changed from one-half) 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 the 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 2008 Agency Tax Rate Report, commonly termed the rate card, issued by the Office of the County Clerk. The 2008 report is the most recently available data; this report is typically received by the College in mid-September after all property valuations have been completed and final rates can be calculated.

Tax Category

Current Rate

Maximum Rate

Statutory Maximum

Education Fund




Operation/Maintenance Fund




Audit Fund

0.0001 .



Life Safety




Liability/Settlement/Protection Fund




Social Security/Medicare




Bond and Interest Fund








*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 2008 tax levy. The Maximum Rate is the highest allowable rate as authorized by referendum within the district. The Statutory Maximum is the highest tax rate permitted by state law. The term “None” means no maximum is imposed. Other applicable tax categories include Building Bonds, Teachers Orders, and Public Building Commission Operation and Maintenance Fund, none of which the College currently uses.

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 2009 levy year, on which the current budget is partly based, the change is measured from December 2007 to December 2008; this change was 0.10%, so the cap for the 2009 levy year is 0.10%. Therefore, for calculating and testing the 2009 aggregate tax levy, which was acted on by the Board of Trustees in December 2009 and which will provide revenues for the second half of Fiscal Year 2010 and the first half of Fiscal Year 2011, it is necessary to use the EAV from 2008 and the CPI from December 2008 to verify compliance with applicable tax laws. The Office of the County Clerk, Cook County, 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, say for the education fund, 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, for example. 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 reasonable 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, which is set by statute as the first Friday in December for community colleges (other taxing districts are assigned different first in December days) if there is no regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting in December. 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 the lowest rate among all the community college districts in  Illinois.



Local Area* Average

State Highest

State Lowest

State Average

PROPERTY TAX RATES Tax Levy Year 2008 Collected in 2009**

Education Fund



37.29 ^



Operation/Maintenance Fund



10.00 ^



Total Operating Funds:



44.79 ^



Liability, Protect, Settle Fund



17.34 ^



Bond and Interest Fund



22.60 ^



Audit Fund



0.50 ^



All Other



27.64 ^



Total All Funds:



78.44 ^



*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.