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Tax Definitions


What Does The Word Assessor Mean?

The governmental offices known as the Assessor (an elected official), assesses the value of all real property located within the county perimeter.  Not a small task considering there exists over one million improved structures and vacant parcels within the county. The Assessor determines your property characteristics, groups it in a class and assigns your property what it believes to be fair market value. Depending on the rules of your county or local government, the Assessor may reassess your property at different intervals. In Cook County, IL for example. The Assessor will reassess a given township every three years. 


What Does The Word Assess Mean?

This is the task which is performed by the County Assessor and means the placing or the act of applying a given value to a given property for tax purposes.

Assessment Level

What Does Assessment Level Mean?

All properties in a given classification are assessed at a determined level dictated by the Assessor. In Cook County for example the level of assessment or percentage of assessment of the fair market value for residential property is 10%. If a property has a fair market value of $100000, the Assessor will ascribe an assessment amount of $10,000. Thus $10,000 reflects the percentage of value at which the property is assessed.

Assessment Review

What Does Assessment Review Mean?

Depending on your state, there may be two or up to four tiers of review of assessments available in order to seek tax relief.  Ex. Cook County: 1. The County Assessor, 2 The Board of Review (BOR); 3 The Property Tax Appeal Board; and 4 the filing of an objection in Circuit Court (this remedy is only available if grounds for review were preserved with a filing at the BOR.

Assessed Value

What Does Assessed Value Mean?

The fair market value multiplied by the assessment level for a class of property.


What Does Classification Mean?

The process of grouping similar looking property into various classes for the purposes of taxing them at the same levels of assessment. All same classed properties have similar descriptions for example.

Equalization Factor

What Does Equalization Factor Mean?

This is  known as a “the multiplier” that exists to ensure an equal assessment among all counties in a state. Illinois has 102 counties. The equalization factor is determined by the Illinois Department of Revenue annually as mandated by a State statute which requires that the Department aggregate the value of assessments within each county and equalize them at an amount reflecting 33 1/3% of the estimated fair market value of real estate in the county. Thus the assessments between counties is equalized by the multiplier.

Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV)

What Does Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) Mean?

The assessed value of property multiplied by the state equalization factor.


What Is An Exemption?

A particular release of liability for a portion of property taxes based on a particular criteria established by the assessor. The assessor has authority to create exemptions and remove exemptions.  Once an exemption is established the taxpayer is responsible to apply for the exemption. Although the assessor does send notice that an exemption exists and how it can be applied for. The most common type of exemptions are a Home Owner’s Exemption, Senior Exemption, and Disabled Veteran Exemption.

Tax Extension

What Is A Tax Extension?

The calculation of the tax rate by the County Clerk based on the local municipality’s tax levy.

Fair Market Value (FMV) or Market Value

What Does Fair Market Value (FMV) or Market Value Mean?

The value ascribed to a property by the county assessor for assessment purposes.

Property Tax

What Is Property Tax?

A liability levied against a property based on the value of real property, land, buildings and homes, payment of which is mandatory and funds government services.

Tax Base

What Does Tax Base Mean?

The total amount of tax revenues.

Taxing Body or Taxing Authorities

What Does Taxing Body or Taxing Authorities Mean?

Units of governments that levy taxes and collect taxes in order to fund government services (the City, the Board of Education, the Park District, the County, and local school districts, Libraries.)

Tax Incentives

What Are Tax Incentives?

Incentives include exemptions, deferrals, abatements or tax credits. Incentives were established to stimulate a specific type of new growth for certain types of properties (i.e. affordable housing) or growth in areas of economic need.

Tax Levy

What Does Tax Levy Mean?

The amount in real estate taxes requested by each taxing body.

Tax Rate

What Does Tax Rate Mean?

The tax levy divided by the total equalized assessed valuation. This figure is compiled by the County Clerk and applied to the equalized assessed valuation to determine the amount paid in property taxes.

Ad Velorem proceedings

What Are Ad Velorem Proceedings?

Tribunal review of tax assessments, simply put the review of tax assessments in order to insure that a tax payer is not paying more than his fair share of tax liability due to an inequitable assessed value.





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