Exemptions for Religious Institutions

Religious institutions serve the neighborhoods of and contribute to the overall quality of life in Cook County. The Assessor’s Office wants to ensure religious institutions are aware of a property tax exemption that could eliminate all or a portion of their tax burden. This section is a guide to help religious institutions understand how to apply for a property tax exemption. 

According to Illinois statute, an institution used for religious purposes, as an orphanage or for school and religious purposes, may qualify for a property tax exemption if it is not used for profit.

When to apply: the dates to file for a property tax exemption at the Cook County Board of Review can be found here.

How can religious institutions obtain a property tax exemption?ii  

  1. Contact the Cook County Board of Review at 312.603.5542 or visit its website at www.cookcountyboardofreview.com for exempt filing dates. 
  2. Request from the Board of Review an application for exempt status. 
  3. Complete and return the application to the Board of Review, providing the necessary documentation of exempt ownership and or use. Below is a list of documents the applicants may need to submit:
    • Board or Review Real Estate Exemption Complaint
    • Illinois Department of Revenue Religious Application (PTAX-300 R)
    • Affidavit of Use
    • Parsonage/Convent Form - Required only if organizations use the property as a residence 
    • Leases - Required when anyone other than the owner used the property
    • Preparation Documents 
    • State Corporate Charter or Articles of Incorporation 
    • By-Laws
    • Current Tax Bill of Each parcel 
    • Original photos
    • Plat of Survey
    • Hand drawn floor plans 
    • Illinois Department of Revenue Sales Tax Exemption Letter
    • U.S. Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(2) or 501(c)(3) Letter 
    • Current Financial Statement or Charitable Organization Financial Summary 
    • Bulletins
    • Registered mail notification to affected municipalities, school districts, and community college districts 
    • Main church building exemption letter-required if subject property involves parking lots, branch offices, etc. 

Your application and accompanying documentation, along with the Board of Review's recommendation, is then sent to the Illinois Department of Revenue for a final decision. Please note, this stage of the process can take anywhere from six months to a year. 

What happens if your exemption application is denied? 

If the Illinois Department of Revenue does not approve a religious institution’s exemption application, then the religious institution may request a formal review by calling 800.732.8866.iii

What happens if exemption status is approved?iv

The Illinois Department of Revenue will send the applicant a letter approving their property tax exemption application. 

Afterward, the religious institution must submit copies of the letter to the Exempt Departments of the offices of the Cook County Assessor and Cook County Treasurer. 

The Cook County Assessor’s Office administers the exemption status for all religious institutions that IDOR determines are not subject to property taxation. 

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the Assessor's Office at 312.443-7550 and ask to be connected with someone Exempt Department.


35 ILCS 200/15-40 Religious Purposes.

ii Cook County Board of Review Property Tax Exemption Required Documents 

iii Cook County Assessor’s Office Frequently Asked Questions “Religious Institutions Exemption Questions”

iv Cook County Assessor’s Office Frequently Asked Questions “Religious Institutions Exemption Questions”