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First Installment Tax BIlls: Here’s Why Your Exemptions or the Impact of Your Appeal May Not Be Showing Up

By Gary Smith
First Installment Tax BIlls: Here’s Why Your Exemptions or the Impact of Your Appeal May Not Be Showing Up

Property tax bills in Cook County are delivered in two parts. The first installment is sent near the end of January and is due March 1. The second installments are usually sent at the end of summer, after the total tax bill for the year has been calculated and has been due Aug. 1.

First Installment Tax Bills do not Reflect Exemptions

The first installment of Cook County’s property tax bill is for 55 percent of a property’s total tax bill for the previous year.

Any homeowner, senior citizen or other exemptions, as well as successful appeals on the property’s value, will be calculated for the second-installment bill. In addition, the second-installment bill will reflect any changes in the tax levies of local governments. A levy is the amount of tax revenue at taxing district—say a school district, for example—requests.

Something for homeowners to keep in mind about the second-installment bill is the new tax law passed last year impacts the dollar amounts of some exemptions. For instance, it expands the Homeowner Exemptions savings this year, from $7,000 to $10,000 in Equalized Assessed Value (EAV). The new law also expands the Senior Exemption Savings, for taxpayers 65 years or older, regardless of income, from $5,000 to $8,000 EAV.

Homeowners who have set aside property tax money in an escrow account may receive a copy of the bill, which was also sent to the financial institution. Homeowners should not pay the property taxes on their own, which could result in an overpayment on the property tax. Instead, they should double-check with the financial institution to ensure that the property taxes are paid from escrow.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas included on the bill this year, the amount of debt owed by each governmental body that taxpayers are funding. In Illinois, that can range from five to 13 different taxing bodies. The debt data includes:

  • The amount owed by each taxing body
  • Pension and health-care obligations
  • Each districts pension and healthcare shortfall
  • The percentage of those obligations the taxing body can pay

Pappas told the Daily Herald, “the financial challenges facing local governments can seem unreal because the numbers are so large. The tax bills show homeowners the problems are real indeed.”

Property tax bills can be paid online, by mail, at a Chase Bank branch or in person at the Cook County Treasurer’s Office.