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What is property tax and how is it collected and distributed?

Property tax is a tax that is based on a property’s value. It is sometimes called an “ad valorem” tax, which means “according to value.” The property tax is a local tax imposed by local government taxing districts (e.g., school districts, municipalities, counties) and administered by local officials (e.g. township assessors, chief county assessment officers, local boards of review, county collectors). For statutory references that govern property taxes, see regulation 35 ILCS 200/1 et seq.

Generally, the property tax is a two-year cycle. During the first year, the assessor determines the property's value as of January 1 of that year. (This process starts about nine months earlier for farm acreage and farm buildings.) During the second year, the tax bills are calculated and mailed, and payments are distributed to local taxing districts. For more detailed information, see PTAX-1004, Illinois Property Tax System.

Property taxes are collected at the local level and distributed to the taxing district that requested the tax. School districts get the largest portion of property taxes. For information about the amount of property taxes collected, see the Property Taxes Statistics section on our website.

See our General Property Tax Information and Resources web page for more information.



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