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With federal tax reform looming, should I prepay 2017 Cook County property taxes?

By Michael H. Wasserman

Paying property tax bills before the end of the 2017 may help some owners save on their federal income tax liabilities.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been called the most sweeping tax reform bill in decades. Like it or
not, tax reform is coming. Others might wring their hands with glee or with worry. We are already working on ways to minimize the pain this reform might cause. 

One aspect of the pending tax reform plan presents a clear challenge for most Chicagoland home owners, the elimination of deductions for State and Local Taxes (SALT). The house and senate plans both limit deductibility to $10,000. Once the tax reform is signed into law, we will pay federal income taxes on the money we use to pay our local taxes exceeding that $10,000 threshold.
Some homeowners who have the foresight (and lets face it, the savings) to act swiftly may want to pre-pay their first installment 2017 property tax bills this year before the tax laws kick in, so that those payments can be deducted on 2017 federal income tax returns.

Who might want to consider this? These may be the criteria: (a) Cook County homeowners who have (b) annual SALT bills exceeding $10,000; (c) do not escrow for taxes (or who are willing to work with their loan services to avoid double payment of the bill); and (d) and have ample cash resources to pay now rather than three months from now.

HOW TO PREPAY COOK COUNTY PROPERTY TAXES BILLS

You must first obtain a hard copy of your tax bill before making a payment.
1. Get a tax bill and pay in person at any Cook County Treasurer office.
2. Request a tax bill by email at this link.

Generally, first installment Cook County tax bills are always mailed out at the beginning of February and are due on March 1st. With only the rarest of exceptions they are always 55% of the previous year's taxes. 

First installment payments in surrounding counties are not due until later in the year and precise tax bills are not yet known or ascertainable. Homeowners outside of Cook County who want to explore tax pre-payments should contact their local County Treasurers' Offices.

PLEASE NOTE: We are not tax advisers. Any reader inclined to act of this matter is STRONGLY urged to consult their own personal tax advisor before doing so. 

To learn more about prepayment, check out the County Treasure's web site.


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