The tax man cometh. Cook County first installment property tax bills should be hitting mail boxes everywhere this week. The bills will be due and payable by March 1st.
Taxpayers are reminded that the first installment bills are being sent out now, even though the County does not know how much is actually owed. These are "estimated" bills. For now, bills are simply computed based on a percentage of last year's tariff. A law change enacted in 2009 raised the estimated amount due from 50% to 55%. The final reckoning will not be announced until later this fall.
In theory, those final bills will be mailed out at the beginning of August and will be due September 3rd. The actual due dates may be (and typically are) much later. Our County is notorious for tardy tax bills. Last year's final installments were due in November. Bills paid in 2010 were so late that they were not due until December! The Second Installment due dates vary because they are computed based on the delivery of various sets of data by several state and county agencies, and a delay anywhere along the line impacts the County’s ability to tally up our bills. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle vows that she is working hard to ensure that they will be mailed out on time this year.
Property taxes in Illinois are paid one year in arrears. That is to say, the bills we will pay in 2012 are actually 2011 taxes.
Oh, and just in case you are ready to wag a finger at politicians because your bill is too high, keep this in mind - Property taxes are imposed by local government taxing districts only, The state has not assessed a real estate tax of its own since 1932.