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Property Tax Incentives: Open Spaces

Cook County awards tax incentives to owners of several different types of property. Eligibility is contingent on matching the description of at least one of several special assessment property classes.

Here are a few examples:

  • Many classes concern the improvement of a parcel of land.
  • Some classes are designed to encourage industrial development and commercial projects in areas that could benefit from an economic boost.
  • There is a class dedicated to multi-family rental housing.
  • Class C offers a tax incentive to developers who rehabilitate contaminated areas.
  • There is also a class specifically for section 8 housing.

This article will focus on the Open Spaces class.

What is the Open Space property tax incentive?

The Open Space tax incentive covers more than vacancy. To meet the criteria for the Open Space class, the land:

  • Must be larger than ten acres
  • Cannot be used for residential purposes
  • Must be used exclusively for maintaining scenic resources
  • Must be used to preserve air and water quality
  • Must promote the health of local ecosystems
  • Have historic value and is being preserved for this reason

Even for properties that meet these criteria, open space valuation is not automatically applied. The property owner must submit an application to the Cook County Assessor’s office before the annual deadline. The application is short and straightforward, but it is crucial to file it promptly.

If a taxpayer fails to apply or misses the January 31st deadline, they waive their right to claim the open space valuation for that year. However, they can always apply the following year.

Property taxes unappealing? We can help!

Appealing your property taxes is one way to ensure that the amount you pay is fair whether you live in the north/northwest suburbs, south/southwest suburbs, or in the City of Chicago.

At present, Illinois is second only to New Jersey with the highest effective property tax rates in the United States. A 2020 study found that some Chicago area homeowners pay twice the national average in property taxes for a similarly valued home. Moreover, property tax hikes are slated for 2021.

Appeal.Tax can prepare your property tax appeal and handle it from start to finish. We understand local appeal procedures to help homeowners avoid being overburdened with property taxes.

Appeal.Tax has no fee unless a reduction is obtained. And we only charge a small portion of the overall tax savings secured. 

Since 2015, we’ve saved Illinois property owners over $100 million in reduced property taxes.

Contact Appeal.Tax today to discuss your Association, residential, or commercial property tax appeal. Tax Attorney Timothy Jacobs can be reached at 847-777-7270 or