PIN stands for Property Index Number, and knowing your PIN is important to protecting
your money and the real estate that you own.
Property taxes may be paid by current or past owners, a title company, a mortgage
company, a lease-holder, a co-op, a tax buyer or a combination of parties. Unlike
an account that is assigned to an individual or business, a PIN is assigned to the
property. This important information is intended to help you understand the importance
of your PIN.
What is a PIN?
PIN stands for Property Index Number. This unique 14-digit sequence number is assigned
to the legal description for each piece of real estate in Cook County, including
vacant lots, parking spaces and condominium common areas. The PIN is used for assessments,
tax rate calculations and tax collections.
Why is the PIN important?
A PIN is to a property what a Social Security number is to a person. If you have
your name placed on a tax bill for the wrong PIN and pay that wrong PIN, the taxes
on the PIN you actually own are still delinquent. For that reason, the PIN is the
key to making correct payments.
How can I be sure to pay on the right PIN?
Match the PIN on the tax bill to the PIN on your deed. This is very important when
you: (1) pay off a mortgage and take over tax payments, or (2) refinance with a
new company. An attorney who handles your property matters, or in the suburbs, a
township assessor, may be able to help verify a PIN. If your deed contains only
a legal description, the County Clerk 's Office, which assigns PINs, can find the
Can a PIN ever change?
Yes. When a property is divided after being altered, each new parcel gains a new
legal description and, thus, a new PIN. Taxpayers should make sure they have the
proper PIN when paying taxes on a new house, townhouse, loft, condo unit, and, in
some cases, parking spaces.
If my taxes are paid from my escrow, do I need to be aware of my PIN?
Absolutely. You need your PIN to verify that your mortgage company is making payment
on time, in full and on the right real estate. Also, if you and other owners share
a PIN, as happens with newly developed property, you need to contact our Legal Department
for information on submitting a payment by legal description. "Paying by Legal"
helps you avoid underpaying, overpaying or having your taxes sold if others who
share your PIN are delinquent.
Do I need my PIN for any other reasons?
Yes. You need the PIN to request a duplicate tax bill from the Treasurer's Office
or to call with any questions you may have about payments, assessments, appeals,
exemptions and tax rates.