Who should buy a Cook County Vehicle License?
Section 74-552 of the Cook County Wheel Tax Ordinance requires a Cook County Vehicle License for all motor vehicles owned and operated by a person who resides within unincorporated Cook County. The Cook County Vehicle License is an annual license (sticker/decal) for the period of July 1st through June 30th of the following year and must be displayed by July 1st of each year.
Penalty Assessed for Late Purchase
If you purchase your unincorporated Cook County Vehicle License(s) after July 1st, you will be assessed a late penalty equal to the price of the Vehicle License or $25, whichever is greater. You may also be subject to additional penalties if your vehicle license is not affixed and displayed by July 1st.
- Unincorporated Cook County Vehicle Licenses are valid from July 1st through June 30th of the following year. Unincorporated Cook County Vehicle License(s) must be purchased and displayed on July 1st of each year.
- Passenger vehicles, trucks, and busses must display a current unincorporated Cook County Vehicle License affixed in the bottom right hand corner of the windshield. Motorcycles and trailers must display the unincorporated Cook County license plate on the rear end of the vehicle.
- Passenger vehicles weighing over 4,500 lbs are required to purchase and display a XLV (Large Vehicle) License. Please review the Vehicle License Rate Chart to confirm
- A qualified religious institution or charitable organization may be entitled to receive a “No Fee” (NF) class license at no charge.
- Commercial motor vehicles as defined under 625 ILCS 5/18b-101 and registered as apportionable vehicles with the Illinois Secretary of State pursuant to 625 ILCS 5/3-402.1 are exempt from the Cook County Wheel Tax. Supporting documentation is required for verification.
- Are all ‘XLV’ classed vehicles listed on the table provided? No. Please refer to the guide or call (312) 603-6961. Please have your VIN # available when calling the Department for assistance if weight confirmation.
- Can a new recently purchase vehicle be listed incorrect on the application? Yes. This can occur if a new vehicle has recently been purchased. Changes must be noted on the front of the application.
- What is the penalty assessed for residents that purchase their Vehicle Licenses after July 1st? The penalty assessed is equal to the price of the vehicle license or $25; whichever is greater.
- What is the penalty assessed for residents that purchase a ‘No Fee’ (NF) or Senior (SR) Vehicle Licenses after July 1st? The penalty assessed is $25.
- Does the vehicle have to be registered to the applicant of the vehicle license? Yes, for a business as it pertains to commercial use.
- Does the County have a database or list of unincorporated addresses? Yes, used only by Cook County Department of Revenue.
- Do both pre-printed and manual applications have to be completed entirely? Yes
- Can we accept an ID from another person, not the owner of the vehicle? No.
- Is the penalty waived for residents moving to unincorporated Cook County after July 1st? Yes. There is a 60 day grace period.
- If a vehicle owner purchases a license for their vehicle, and is no longer in possession of the vehicle can they obtain a refund? No.
- If the owner is moving from unincorporated Cook County within a month, can they purchase a temporary license or obtain a refund on the license they purchase? No.
- What is accepted proof for vehicles owned by a person with disabilities? Only State of Illinois Vehicle Registration Certificate showing that the person has disabled plates or their registration card; a valid State of Illinois driver’s license or identification card that classifies them as disabled and an approved Registration of Disability with the State of Illinois. Parking Placards are not accepted. Please also include your vehicle registration to show proof you are the owner of the vehicle, as well as your valid Identification.
- What is the acceptable proof for vehicles owned by disabled veterans? Proof of service, related disability from the Veterans Affairs Department or service of the United States Military. Please also provide your vehicle registration to show proof that you are the owner of the vehicle along with your valid identification.
- What is the last day to purchase the vehicle license without a penalty? July 1st.
According to the Ordinance:
What are exemptions? (No Fee Licenses). This vehicle license is permanent. There is no expiration date and will remain valid for the duration of the ownership of the vehicle it also has the word permanent printed on the license and the Sequence begin with NF for stickers and Perm for tags.
(a) All vehicles owned and operated upon the public ways of the unincorporated area of Cook County by the United States Government or any agency thereof, or by the State of Illinois or any department thereof, or by any political subdivision, public or municipal corporation of the State of Illinois or any department or other agency of such corporation, or by a nonprofit organization as defined by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended, such as the American Red Cross, and all buses owned and operated by churches in conjunction with the authorized activities of said institutions under Section 3-616 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, shall be exempt from the vehicle tax.
(b) Vehicles owned by a person with disabilities and registered with the State of Illinois under 625 ILCS 5/3-616, shall be exempt from this tax.
(c) Vehicles owned by a disabled veteran, who has provided proof of a disability connected to service in the United States military, shall be exempt from this tax.
Senior (SR) and No Fee (NF) Vehicle Licenses
The Department of Revenue implemented a new strategy in 2014 for SR and NR License(s). These stickers/tags where created for taxpayer convenience purposes; SR permanent vehicle licenses for Seniors and NF permanent vehicle licenses for persons with disabilities and disabled Veterans. These two classes have been separated from the standard vehicle license to highlight their permanent nature and reduce the number of erroneous citations that are issued. In order to be in compliance, you MUST display the SR and NF vehicle license affixed and displayed by July 1, 2017.
Please make sure to obtain your vehicle license on or before July 1, 2017. As of July 2, 2017, a $25.00 penalty will be assessed and applies for both SR and NF vehicle licenses.
- A Senior is a person who has turned 65 by July 1st of the current year.
- A Senior is entitled to a no fee ‘SR’ vehicle license that will remain effective for as long as he or she owns that vehicle.
- A Seniors qualifies for 2 no fee ‘SR’ vehicle licenses
- Seniors are only entitled to XSV, XLV, or A vehicle licenses. This discount is limited to only 2 passenger vehicles or trucks weighing less than 10,000 lbs.
- All other Vehicle Classes must be purchased at full price.
What age can you apply for a Senior Vehicle License? You must turn 65 years old on or before July1st of the current sticker year.
What happens if a senior owns a motorcycle or trailer? The Senior Discount applies ONLY to passenger vehicles and small trucks (XSV, XLV, A).
What if a senior owns more than 2 vehicles? Seniors are entitled to ONLY 2 SR vehicle licenses. They must pay full price for any additional vehicles. Any vehicles no longer owned by the resident, the SR vehicle license must be returned. If a senior already has 2 vehicle licenses, they cannot purchase another SR vehicle license without returning one of the previously purchased vehicle license, or they will have to purchase a regular vehicle license at full price. If a senior owns a business and registers his or her vehicle in the business name, can he purchase a ‘SR’ vehicle license? No, full cost of vehicle license would apply.
Fees and Locations
Unincorporated Cook County Vehicle Licenses may be purchased:
- In-person (NO ADDITIONAL COST) at 118 N. Clark Street, Room 1160, Chicago, IL 60602
- Online (NO ADDITIONAL COST)
- By Mail (NO ADDITIONAL COST) Make checks payable to Cook County Collector.
- at Township offices