The COVID-19 pandemic has caused financial hardship for many Illinois families. Long term stay-at-home orders, scarce federal stimulus money, and missed paychecks have made it difficult or impossible for some homeowners to pay their tax bills on time on time or altogether.
Before the Coronavirus
To fully understand the changes promoted by the coronavirus pandemic, below is an overview of the standard Cook County property tax payment break down and deadlines:
- Cook County property taxes are paid in two installments.
- The first installment is half of the previous year’s tax bill and is typically due on the first day of March.
- The balance of the second installment is the remainder of the present year’s taxes. It could be the same as the previous year or significantly more expensive.
- The second round of payments are typically due in August.
- If a taxpayer is experiencing a personal financial hardship, they can contact the County Treasurer’s Office for assistance with payment options and to get information about the penalties of paying late.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, county officials have adjusted payment deadlines, rescheduled bill mailings, and waived late fees.
Below is an overview of some of the 2020 changes:
- In May 2020, the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance that would postpone the deadline for the second installment of property taxes.
- Under this ordinance, the deadline extended until October 2020.
- Homeowners were not subject to late fees plus the interest and administrative fees that would normally apply to delinquent payments.
Given the virus’ continued spread and economic impact, Cook County Assessor’s Office (https://www.cookcountyassessor.com/covid-19-faq#1) has acknowledged “the pandemic’s toll on markets and property values” due to:
- “A record-breaking number of unemployment claims in Illinois”
- “Significant downturns in some (but not all) commercial sectors”
- “Widespread loss of rental income, both commercial and residential”
- “Disaster declarations encompassing Cook County were issued at the federal, state, and county levels”
In response, all Cook County residential and commercial property owners will have their property values reviewed and adjusted. However, the adjustments do not guarantee a reduced property tax bill.
Cook County Assessor plan to review residential properties – “Our plan is that all homes in Cook County will receive COVID19 adjustments to property values, based on our Data Science team’s estimates of local changes in unemployment. Areas with larger increases in unemployment will see larger adjustments.”
Cook County Assessor plan to review commercial properties – “Commercial properties will receive adjustments based on estimated effects on property use types, which range from no effect (for example, grocery stores) to large effects (hotels). Values of vacant land will not be adjusted for COVID19 effects.”
Regardless of the severity of the pandemic’s impact on your household or business, it’s always a good idea to appeal your property taxes.
Property taxes unappealing? We can help!
Appealing your property taxes is one way to ensure that the amount you pay is fair whether you live in the north/northwest suburbs, south/southwest suburbs, or in the City of Chicago.
At present, Illinois is second only to New Jersey with the highest effective property tax rates in the United States. A 2020 study found that some Chicago area homeowners pay twice the national average in property taxes for a similarly valued home. Moreover, property tax hikes are slated for 2021.
Staying on top of your assessment notices and researching local appeal procedures can help homeowners avoid being overburdened with property taxes.
Appeal.Tax can prepare your property tax appeal and handle it from start to finish. There is no fee unless a reduction is obtained. And we only charge a small portion of the overall tax savings secured.
Since 2015, we’ve saved Illinois property owners over $100 million in reduced property taxes. Contact Appeal.Tax today to discuss your Association, residential, or commercial property tax appeal. Tax Attorney Timothy Jacobs can be reached at 847-777-7270 or firstname.lastname@example.org.