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1. Who determines my property taxes? Property taxes are determined by the respective local governments and provide a huge revenue source for the school systems, police and fire departments, street and other public works projects, parks systems, libraries, public health and safety programs. The assessed value of your property determines your share of the taxes.

2. Who decides my property’s assessed value? The Assessor’s office does so based on the recent sales of properties in your neighborhood that possess similar characteristics to your own. Some examples of these characteristics include age, square footage, and type of construction. The value is reassessed yearly, which allows for a household to appeal their taxes each year.

3. How many households are assessed annually in Cook County? There are 1,933,670 households in Cook County according to the U.S. Census website last updated January 6, 2013.

4. How do I know I am eligible? Every household is eligible to file each year. The only time a household would be unable to file is if they had not lived in the house for a year prior to the filing. It is best to appeal your property taxes every year because the tax rate changes annually.

5. Do all townships have the same deadline? How do I know when to begin the appeals process?   The appeal window opens thirty days after the letters are sent in the mail. Not all townships have the same deadline, but here is a concise list of township deadlines: http://www.cookcountyassessor.com/appdeadlines/appealdeadlinesform.aspx