Cook County property tax bills arrive after months of delay

Cook County property tax bills arrive after months of delay

A months-long delay in mailing out Cook County property tax bills has been resolved: bills will go live on Tuesday, mailed by December 1, and due by December 30.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, responsible for issuing invoices and collecting payments, told the Tribune that her team was running tests over the weekend to release invoices on Tuesday, “assuming it no problem,” or Wednesday.

“Everyone wants to know” what their bill will look like, Pappas said, especially commercial landlords who are worried about the city of Chicago’s first reassessment under assessor Fritz Kaegi.

Taxpayers will be able to download their bill to print and mail their payment, pay online at the Treasurer’s website, at Chase Bank branches or at the Downtown Treasurer’s Office.

Thursday’s announcement closes a chapter in the dispute between Kaegi, whose office assigns values ​​to every property in the county, and the Board of Review, which hears appeals to those assessments. The news also delivers on Cook County Council Chairman Toni Preckwinkle’s commitment to send out bills early enough for residents to count their payment on their 2022 tax returns.

In an emailed statement, Preckwinkle said she was “grateful” to the separate elected officials who worked to ensure the bills were due before the end of the year. His office has served for several months as an intermediary with the various officials responsible for sending out the invoices.

“My office remains committed to providing the resources and leadership necessary for the separately elected officials to fulfill their responsibilities to all residents of Cook County. … We will continue to provide this leadership to help ensure that every stakeholder in the property tax system is able to fulfill its duties to the citizens of Cook County in the future,” the Preckwinkle statement said.

Invoices are generally due before August 1st. But Preckwinkle suggested earlier this fall in an interview with the Chicago Tribune editorial board that the conditions that led to this year’s delay were not yet resolved and that the delays could continue for the “next two years.” .

Pappas was also frustrated with the delay, describing the situation in a WGN interview last month as a “fiasco” that “blocks all other agencies”.

The delays affect both landowners and tax agencies unable to pay for ongoing operations.

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To make sure that taxpayers could take full advantage of the federal, state and local deduction on their 2022 federal income taxes, Preckwinkle promised the bills would land before the end of the year. The deadline also created headaches for real estate agents trying to finalize home sales, who couldn’t estimate what the final bills might be — and therefore closing costs.

To help tax agencies such as cities and towns, libraries, schools and parks pay for operations during the delay, Preckwinkle has launched a $300 million bridging loan program for the most cash-strapped districts. county money. Interest-free loans would help pay for operations, thus sparing tax agencies from having to take out more costly loans in the market.

But only 49 tax bodies have filed a request for loans, asking just over $100 million. In the end, only 22 tax agencies received loans, totaling just over $39 million. Most were screened out due to ineligibility, a spokesperson for the county’s Office of Finance said.

The City of Chicago and its taxing agencies, including Chicago Public Schools, were not eligible for the program.

Kaegi and review board member Larry Rogers Jr. publicly disagree on the cause of the delays. Kaegi said the council failed to cooperate in filling a data gap during a technology upgrade to the appraiser’s outdated computer system. Rogers said Kaegi’s office should have used a parallel system with both new and old technology to avoid the snafu, and widely criticized his tenure as the ‘worst’ the 20 years he served on the board.

Democrats Preckwinkle, Pappas, Rogers and Kaegi all won re-election in Tuesday’s election. But two members of the Board of Review will be brand new: Chicago Ald. George Cardenas, who is resigning from the city council for the new post, and Samantha Steele. The two ran unopposed on Tuesday.

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Amanda P. Whitten