Illinois Department of Revenue Releases Tentative 2020 Cook County Equalization Factor

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The Illinois Department of Revenue recently released the tentative 2020 Cook County equalization factor, also known as the multiplier. The preliminary factor is 3.0861. The ten-year history of preliminary and final equalization factors is summarized below.

Tax Year

Tentative Multiplier

Final Multiplier

2011

2.8983

2.9706

2012

2.7432

2.8056

2013

2.6039

2.6621

2014

2.6922

2.7253

2015

2.6059

2.6685

2016

2.7455

2.8032

2017

2.9084

2.9627

2018

2.8366

2.9109

2019

2.7523

2.9160

2020

3.0861

 

The Illinois Department of Revenue is required by the Property Tax Code to equalize the property tax assessments among the State’s 102 counties so that the aggregate assessed value of a county represent 33 1/3 % of the fair cash value of all the locally assessed property (with a few unique exceptions such as certain farmland).  The Department generates the equalization factor primarily by comparing actual sale prices to the assessments of those properties. 

Tax bills are calculated by applying the equalization factor to the assessment of an individual property to establish the equalized assessed value (EAV) of a property.  Any exemptions (such as a homeowner’s exemption) are then subtracted to determine the taxable value of a property.  The tax rate is then applied to generate the amount of taxes due.  The aggregate EAV of a taxing body is therefore often referred to as the tax base.

It is important to note two things about the equalization factor.  First, the equalization factor does not cause individual tax bills to go up. Tax bills are determined by local taxing bodies when they request the dollars needed to provide services to citizens. The assessment process simply determines how the bill will be divided among taxpayers.  Second, a matter of general math, the greater the equalization factor the more disparity there is between assessments and the evidence of fair cash value used by the Illinois Department of Revenue to determine the equalization factor.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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