Cook County Treasurer Goes Paperless!

Cook County Treasurer Goes Paperless!

By E. Christopher Caravette

February 18, 2017

Like many credit card companies, the Cook County Treasurer now offers eBilling to taxpayers. Beginning with the 2016 2nd Installment Tax Bill (which will issue this summer), you can receive your tax bills via electronic mail.

To participate, all you need to do is create an eBilling account at www.cookcountytreasurer.com. The eBilling service is free and will allow you to link to your online bill where you can view details and make online payments.

Once you are registered, you will no longer receive tax bills via the U.S. Postal Service.

In addition to sending tax bills by email, the Treasurer will also send you a reminder prior to the due date of each installment.

This service is especially helpful if you keep track of multiple tax bills. You can register up to ten (10) properties per eBilling account.

Some of the benefits of this new service include:

  • It saves paper and postage
  • It provides a permanent electronic record
  • It provides convenient access to pay online
  • You won’t have to worry about late or lost mail

For additional information, please contact me at christopher@caravette.com.

LOOK TO US FOR ALL OF YOUR REAL ESTATE, SMALL BUSINESS, AND ESTATE PLANNING LEGAL NEEDS! WE APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS!

(Note: The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. Plan to discuss your particular circumstances with an attorney for how this might apply to you.)

First Installment 2016 Cook County Tax Bills are Out!!

First Installment 2016 Cook County Tax Bills are Out!!

By E. Christopher Caravette

February 1, 2017

By now, every owner of real estate in Cook County will have received the First Installment of 2016 real estate tax bill.

What you should know:

  • In Cook County, we pay annual real estate taxes in two (2) installments. The First Installment bill is always fifty-five percent (55%) of the prior year’s total tax bill. The Second Installment bill will, therefore reflect any increase or decrease in annual taxes.
  • Many homeowners already escrow taxes each month with their mortgage lender. If you are one of those homeowners, your lender will pay this bill (so don’t pay it yourself). It is always advisable, particularly if it is during your first year of ownership of the property, to make a quick call to the lender to confirm they received and are paying the bill.
  • Those homeowners who do not escrow taxes must pay this bill on or before Wednesday, March 1, 2017. Payments can be made online, in person, or at several banks (go to cookcountytreasurer.com for details).

For additional information, please contact me at christopher@caravette.com.

LOOK TO US FOR ALL OF YOUR REAL ESTATE, SMALL BUSINESS, AND ESTATE PLANNING LEGAL NEEDS!  

WE APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS!

(Note: The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. Plan to discuss your particular circumstances with an attorney for how this might apply to you.)

Triennial Reassessment Hitting City this Year

Those of us who live in Cook County, Illinois, know that our real estate is reassessed every three years.  Well, for those Cook County residents who live in the City of Chicago, this is the year (the south and west suburban townships experienced it last year, and the north and northwest townships will be reassessed next year).

Most Chicago property owners already have gotten the bad news in the mail from the assessor’s office.  Some have seen astonishing increases – more than double in some cases.

Because the Cook County property tax system is so confusing, remember that these are not tax bills.  Tax bills are based, in part, on the value of a property and the reassessment sets that value.  Tax bills founded on the new re-evaluation won’t arrive until 2013, as Cook County residents pay real estate taxes in arrears (a year behind).

The tax bill every Cook County homeowner will get in late summer of this year is the second installment on the 2011 tax bill and isn’t connected to the current city reassessment.

What can a property owner do about the reassessed value if one feels that the reassessment is unfair?  One can appeal to the assessor’s office.  But be aware that the deadline for appeal has, in some cases, already passed.

Property owners also can use the assessor’s Web site (www.cookcountyassessor.com) to obtain the assessed valuation, information about appeals, as well as well as information about the homeowner’s exemption, the senior citizens exemption and the senior citizens assessment freeze.  The website has property assessment information on the homes of neighbors, information that is quite valuable in making an appeal, especially on the grounds of uniformity (whereby you claim your property is assessed higher than your neighbor’s property).

One of the forms the assessor sends out with the reassessment allows you to make a simple challenge based on the “property characteristics” section in the notice.  If the description of your home given in that section is inaccurate in a significant way, challenge it via the form.  But beware: discrepancies in the number of fireplaces or bathrooms probably will come to naught.  But noting major errors in building or land square footage might be successful.

If you strike out with the assessor’s office, you still have another chance to impact that assessed valuation.  First, a property owner can appeal to the Board of Review (www.cookcountyboardofreview.com), a separate governmental body with its own appeals process (and this can be done even if you did not file an appeal with the assessor’s office).  As you might guess, there are deadlines for this type of appeal as well, and they are listed on the website.  The Board handles hundreds of thousands of appeals, the majority of property owners who took this route won relief in tax savings, according to Board figures.

Finally, if you’re still unhappy with your reassessment, there’s the state’s Property Tax Appeals Board.  You can find out more information on their website (www.state.il.us/agency/ptab).

(Note: The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. Plan to discuss your particular circumstances with an attorney for how this might apply to you.)