In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, some county governments have extended deadlines for payment of property taxes or waived interest and penalties for late payment. The relief has been ad hoc with different measures enacted by different counties.
Since property taxes in Illinois are paid in arrears, 2019 taxes are now due in 2020. Most jurisdictions require payment in two, equal installments. In Cook County, however, the first installment payment is 55% of the prior year’s tax (i.e. 2018 tax paid in 2019). The second installment payment makes up any difference.
Local governments have recognized that the soaring unemployment rates and the government-mandated shutdown of most businesses will make it very difficult, if not impossible, for many residents to meet property tax deadlines. Imposing penalties and interest for late payments would only add to the taxpayers’ pain. On the other hand, school districts and other taxing districts, which rely on property taxes for their operation, may not be able to meet their payrolls if taxes are delayed too long. In a balancing act, some counties have enacted measures that at least allow taxpayers some additional time for property tax payments.
In Cook County, the second installment payment of 2019 property tax is due on August 3, 2020. However, Cook County will waive late penalties and interest if full payment is made by October 1, 2020. Otherwise, all of the accrued interest will become due.
In McHenry County, payment of the first installment 2019 property tax was due on June 15, 2020, but as long as payment is made by September 15, 2020, penalties will be waived (except for those whose taxes are paid through an escrow).
In DuPage County, the first installment payment of 2019 property tax was due on June 1, 2020, but if payment is made by September 1, 2020, interest is waived. (The second installment payment is also due on September 1, 2020.) However, the taxpayer must meet one of the following conditions:
- Employment terminated after March 9, 2020 and employed for at least 90 days before March 9, 2020;
- Income reduced by at least 20%;
- Unable to collect 80% of collectible rent due during the period from March 1, 2020 through May 30, 2020; or
- An owner-occupied “nonessential” business was forced to close and the owner did not receive relief under the Paycheck Protection Program of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act.
Lake County also debated whether to impose conditions on property tax relief, but agency officials objected that there was no way they could administer such a program. As a result, Lake County allowed all taxpayers to extend payments into additional installments. The first installment payment was due on June 8, 2020, but now only half of the first installment had to be paid on the initial deadline. The other half of the first installment is now due by August 7, 2020. The second installment payment deadline was September 8, 2020, but will now be accepted until November 9, 2020 without penalty.
In Kane County, the first installment payment of 2019 property taxes may be made up to July 1, 2020 without interest. The first installment was otherwise due on June 1, 2020.
Government action on payment relief is ongoing and the current requirements should be confirmed with each county treasurer.
For additional information or questions, please contact Terry Nader or call (312) 648-2300.
[DISCLAIMER – This information is solely for information purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact SFNR with all legal questions.]