Cook County Clerk David Orr this afternoon released tax rates for Evanston and other communities around the county. The rate for Evanston went up 10.84 percent from last year.

But before you faint away at that increase, recognize that there’s a substantial chance that the declining value of your home means you may not actually have to pay more on this fall’s tax bill.

With the new rate, which is 6.801 percent for Evanston residents who are not within any of the three park districts that serve parts of town, plus the market value of your home as estimated by the county assessor, and your recent tax bills you can get at least a ballpark estimate of what your new tax bill will be when it arrives in the mail soon.

Here’s how to figure your own tax bill, as explained by the county clerk’s office.

  • Start by going to the property search page on county assessor’s website. Enter your home’s address in the “Search by Address” section and note the “Estimated 2010 market value.”
  • Multiply that number by 10 percent to get the assessed valuation.
  • Multiply the assessed valuation by the state equalization factor, 3.3, to get the equalized assessed valuation before any exemptions.
  • If you live in your own home, you qualify for a homeowner’s exemption which this year can range from $6,000 to $20,000. Subtract your best guess of that amount from the equalized assessed valuation.
  • Multiply that number by the tax rate, 6.801 percent for most Evanstonians, to get the likely amount of your total tax bill for the year.
  • Subtract the amount you paid in your first installment payment that was due April 1. (The first installment payment was 55 percent of last year’s tax bill.)
  • What’s left is what you should have to pay this fall.

If you want to know what other tax rates are across Cook County, you can find that in the full report from the clerk’s office.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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