Current 2018/2019 Wheel Tax Vehicle License Information
Section 74-552 of the current Cook County Wheel Tax Ordinance that is 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.
The CURRENT 2018 / 2019 VEHICLE LICENSE can be purchased in-person at the Cook County Department of Revenue located at 118 N. Clark Street – Suite 1160, Chicago, IL 60602 or at your local participating Township locations until June 30, 2019. Failure to comply with the Cook County Wheel Tax Ordinance by not purchasing the 2018 / 2019 vehicle license will result in additional penalties and further enforcement action taken by the Department that may require an appearance in Administrative Hearings to address the offense.
Who is Liable for the Unincorporated Cook County Wheel Tax Liability Notification?
Effective June 1, 2019 – The amended Cook County Wheel Tax Ordinance, Section 74-552 states, that it is unlawful for any motor vehicle owner residing within the unincorporated area of Cook County to own, possess, use, or to cause or permit any of his agents, employees, lessees or bailees to use any motor vehicle upon the unincorporated area of Cook County without remitting payment for the annual Wheel Tax Liability.
About the New STICKERLESS Wheel Tax process
The Cook County Department of Revenue will be implementing a new innovative STICKERLESS Wheel Tax process for the up and coming 2019/2020 Wheel Tax season!
The Cook County Wheel Tax will continue to be an annual Tax and is valid for the period of July 1st through June 30th of the following year.
This new, improved process will go live in mid-May 2019. Residents will no longer have to purchase or obtain a physical license to affix and display on their windshield/vehicle. They will simply remit the Cook County Wheel Tax by utilizing their Renewal Wheel Tax Liability Notification along with their payment. Payments will be accepted online, by mail, in-person at DOR and at over 100+ participating ELS (currency exchange/retail payment processing) locations.
Future enhancements in late 2019 or early 2020 will include the launching of our Integrated Tax Processing System that will have multiple on-line portal features such as allowing taxpayers to self-assess, file and remit their Wheel Tax liability for newly purchased vehicles or if they become new residents, manage and update their account information, request a Wheel Tax Ordinance exemption (Senior or NF category) or an exclusion (remove a vehicle that was sold, junked, etc.) and request a refund from the Department.
This New Process will benefit residents as they will have more payment options while eliminating the hassle of dealing with a physical decal/tag. The new process also reduces the amount of manual processing and data entry and will allow the Department to improve enforcement efforts. The current 2018 / 2019 Wheel Tax rules and regulations are applicable until June 30th.
Highlighted Benefits (Amended Ordinance – Under Downloads)
The purpose of the reengineering strategy for Wheel Tax is to improve the overall process. Some of the resident benefits include (but are not limited to):
- Reduces tax rate for Antique Vehicles
- Removes the current limit/cap and vehicle class restrictions for Senior Citizens (SR no fee license)
- Eliminates the registration/licensing requirement for Senior Citizens and certain No Fee categories
- Exemption amendments for Active Military Duty, Law Enforcement Officers and Apportioned vehicles
- New Residents will now qualify for prorated tax rates based on date of residency
- Correction to prorated start date will begin January 1st instead of December 1st
- Elimination of having to purchase a duplicate license (DP) category if your windshield is destroyed
Senior Citizens and No Fee Exemption
Residents that qualify as a Senior Citizen or certain No Fee Exemption classifications will not be required to register or remit a tax payment as of July 1, 2019. The Department will continuously update and maintain exemption statuses in the new Integrated Tax Processing System to eliminate future billings based on specific matching criteria. In order to qualify for a Senior Citizen or a certain No Fee Exemption, the resident must turn 65 years old on or before July 1st of the current Wheel Tax Year. In order to qualify for a certain No Fee Exemption, the resident must meet the ordinance requirements on or before July 1st of the current Wheel Tax Year. Supporting documentation is required.
The Senior (SR) exemption has been amended to now mirror other No Fee Categories so there is no limit/cap on vehicle licenses and no vehicle class restrictions. If a Senior Citizen or a qualifying No Fee Category receives a notification, they can work directly with the Department to update their account status at this time. Once our NEW online portal feature becomes available, Senior Citizens and specific No Fee Categories will have the ability to conveniently file their own request for an exemption to update their account with the Department.
Proration – Newly Purchased or Acquired Vehicles and New Residents
The proration period will now be January 1st through June 30th. New Residents will now qualify for a prorated tax rate. In order to qualify for a prorated vehicle license per the amended ordinance, residents must do the following on or after January 1st: Purchase or acquire a NEW vehicle and file within 30 days of their purchase date or move from an area outside of unincorporated Cook County INTO the unincorporated Cook County area within 30 days of their Lease or Mortgage date. If the 30 day grace period expires, the resident is liable for the prorated tax amount plus the assessed penalty.
What happens if the 2019 / 2020 Wheel Tax Liability Notification is not paid?
If payment is not received on or prior to July 1, 2019, it will result in the Department issuing a Tax Determination and Assessment Notification that will include an assessed late penalty equal to the amount due but not less than $25.00 and any other penalties that may apply. Failure to comply with the Cook County Ordinance will result in additional penalties and further enforcement action taken by the Department that may require an appearance in Administrative Hearings to address the offense.
- How will the Sheriff’s Police know that the Wheel Tax liability has been paid?
The Sheriff’s Department will work with the Department on ensuring that citations are written to noncompliant residents.
- Will the Sheriff’s Department issue a citation for not having a physical license displayed?
No. Sheriffs will no longer issue citations for “Failure to display”.
- Is it required that the payment receipt of the Wheel Tax liability be kept in the vehicle?
No, a payment receipt is not required; however it is good practice to keep it for record purposes.
- Can a payment be made at a participating Township office for the new 2019-2020 Wheel Tax liability?
No. Townships can ONLY sell the 2018 / 2019 Wheel Tax vehicle license through June 30, 2019.
- Is there a cap/limit to the amount of Antique vehicle discounts (antique car collectors)?
No. Per the amended ordinance, as long the vehicle qualifies as an antique, there are no limitations on the discounted vehicle class rate.
- If my vehicle is in storage or inoperable, do I still have to pay the Wheel Tax?
Yes. It is unlawful for any vehicle owner residing in unincorporated Cook County to own, possess, use or register a vehicle to an address in unincorporated Cook County and not remit the Wheel Tax.
- Can the old SR/NF license be removed from the windshield?
Yes, the SR/NF vehicle license can be removed.
- Are there certain Exemptions that must be filed annually?
Yes. Per the amended Cook County Wheel Tax ordinance (please reference), the following annual exemptions must renewal annually with the Department of Revenue; Active Law Enforcement Officer, Active Military Duty and Apportionable Vehicle.
- What is needed in order to pay the tax?
Residents will receive an annual Wheel Tax Liability Notification for each vehicle they own.There will be a Cook ID and Invoice number on the notification that will be needed in order to process the payment online, in-person at DOR or at participating ELS locations.
- What if I did not receive a Wheel Tax Liability Notification?
If a resident recently purchased a vehicle or moved into unincorporated Cook County and did not receive a renewal notification, they should contact the Department by phone or appear in-person for assistance. Supporting documentation regarding the vehicle and residency is required.
- Will I continue to receive notifications?
If the Wheel Tax liability has been fully paid on or before July 1, 2019, no further notifications will be issued by the Department until the next renewal period.Failure to comply with the Cook County Wheel Tax Ordinance will result in additional penalties and further enforcement action taken by the Department that may require an appearance in Administrative Hearings to address the offense.