As Illinois continues to grapple with restrictions put in place to lower COVID-19 cases, property owners are preparing to receive their first tax bill for the new year. Several counties are taking different strategic approaches in 2021 to ease the economic strain homeowners face as a result of the pandemic.
Counties Approach Property Tax Pandemic Relief Differently
In May of 2020, Illinois faced a dilemma similar to that of the present. The solution was for Illinois counties to provide relief from property tax late fees, allowing property owners to delay payment of the second installment of property taxes until Oct. 1. This didn’t impact property owners who made monthly payments into an escrow account.
Additionally, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas filed a motion to delay the Annual Tax Sale of delinquent properties in light of COVID-19.
With the pandemic still in play and Illinois in Tier 3 mitigation because of rising numbers, counties are now deciding how to handle the first installment of property tax bills scheduled to go out in the new year. The counties seem to be making similar decisions to those made in May and June.
In Lake County, the County Board decided to mail tax bills on schedule, and property owners are expected to pay by June 8. Late payment fees and interest will not be waived.
In McHenry County, late fees and interest continue to be waived for 90 days.
DuPage County is expecting to send its first installment of the property tax bill on April 30, 2020, with a due date of June 1, 2020. Although the DuPage County Finance Committee met in December to discuss relief options—which included waving late penalties for 90 days—no decision was reached at that meeting.
Cook County also has not made a final decision on late fees and pandemic-relief for property taxes due in the new year. However, the Cook County Board of Review is in the process of hearing property assessment appeals by some townships. Property owners who have received re-assessment notices should take note of the appeals deadlines specific to their township.
Kane County delayed its annual property tax sale in October and waived late fee penalties for the second installment of 2020, but has not decided how it will handle the first installment payments for 2021.