These tax incentives are available to those projects that qualify. With 18 universities, the regional Chicago workforce is educated and capable. Combine that with excellent transportation systems, a mecca for architecture and culture, a broad-spectrum and diversified economic base and you have a very conducive business atmosphere.

Cook County and many of it’s municipalities offer numerous tax incentive programs. Each of these programs are the result of a government initiative to stimulate certain types of development. Applicants are advised that merely applying for the program will not necessarily qualify the property for participation in an incentive program. Cook County applies the “But For” test to each application. Under that test, assessing officials must be made reasonably certain that the proposed project will not become a reality “but for” the existence of tax incentives. Additionally, in order to keep a property enrolled in the program, there are numerous requirements that must be met annually. The city of Chicago and other Cook County municipalities offer numerous types of other enticements that may be used in conjunction with some of the tax incentives listed below.

When applying for participation in a tax incentive program, we need as much lead time as possible. Applicants should expect a minimum time period of nine months from initial application to final approval.

Applicants are also advised that these tax incentives do not always make good economic sense. I question the wisdom of seeking a tax incentive in a municipality where the tax rate is already excessive (as compared to the average tax rate). The effect of such an excessive tax rate renders the tax incentive as nothing more than an illusion. A illusion which will soon or later, doom the project as unfeasible.

Cook County Tax Incentive Programs

Class 6B:

Class 7A:

Class 7B:

Class 7C: 

Class 8:

Class C: (Environmental Contamination)

Class L: (Architecturally Significant commercial, industrial and multifamily buildings)


Tax Increment Financing “TIF”
Tax Increment Financing is a method of financing public and private improvements through the sale of municipal bonds. The bonds are secured by future tax revenues which are presumed will be derived by increased property values. TIF’s have been responsible for the revitalization and stabilization of many marginal and declining areas throughout Cook County. The following programs are available in TIF’s throughout Cook County.

Expenses eligible for TIF grants include:
-Land acquisition, clearance and site preparation

-Environmental remediation measures
-Employee training
-Building rehab and repair
-Remodeling of tenant improvements
-Professional fees (Architectural and Engineering)
-Up to 30% of the owners borrowing cost

The downside about TIF’s is that commercial and industrial real estate located in or near a TIF tend to be assessed at a higher market value after the TIF is put into place. This phenomenon seems to develop regardless of whether the property values have in fact increased. Since TIF bonds are guaranteed by the local municipality, all taxpayers located within the municipality are responsible for repayment of the bonds.

Until recently, TIF’s seemed to be viewed by every mayor as a means of inexpensive financing for a pet project. Such a perspective has lead to abuse, the cost of which will ultimately be borne by bond holders.

Tax Abatement
A written agreement between a taxpayer and a taxing body whereby a certain dollar amount is refunded to the taxpayer each year.

Updated: April 2, 2018

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For more information about our services:

Fitzgerald Law Group, PC
7035 High Grove Boulevard
Burr Ridge, Illinois 60527
Telephone: (630) 371 – 4000

Other offices in Chicago


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