5-14-2020-11-04-21-AM-10031029

Cook County to waive late fees on property tax payments

From staff reports

Recognizing the financial toll of the coronavirus and the

pressing need to extend economic relief to area homeowners, Cook County Board

President Toni Preckwinkle announced Wednesday plans to waive late fees on

property tax payments.

“These are incredibly difficult times for our residents and

this measure creates much-needed breathing room for Cook County property

owners,” Preckwinkle said.

“With residents and businesses facing so many challenges and

difficulties because of the coronavirus, waiving late fees on property taxes is

the right thing to do right now. This can keep residents in their homes and

allow businesses much needed time to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Under the proposed relief ordinance, interest penalties for

late payments of the second installment of property taxes, which are normally

due August 3, will now be postponed until October 1.

Any payments made on or before October 1 for property tax

second installments will be considered filed and paid on time by Cook County

Treasurer Maria Pappas. Under state law, late property tax payments are charged

1.5 percent of the total property taxes owed per month, which is collected by

the Cook County Treasurer.

“We’re in the midst of a national crisis with lives and

livelihoods at stake,” said Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi. “In a time of

financial hardship for County taxpayers, this decision provides relief to those

most in need of it.”

“Keeping families and households afloat during these

tough times is key to our recovery, and delaying interest and penalties on

property taxes is the compassionate thing to do,” said Cook County Clerk

Karen A. Yarbrough.

The Cook County Treasurer collects over $12 billion annually

on behalf of over 2,200 jurisdictions that include all underlying

municipalities, school districts, park districts, libraries and other taxing

districts.

“We can’t rely on the Trump administration to provide

the necessary assistance: local government needs to act,” Chair of the

Cook County Board of Review Michael Cabonargi said. “Our hope is that this

late fee waiver will ease some of the financial pressure on homeowners and

families, and reassure landlords that they have some flexibility on their

upcoming bills and can now offer more leniency to tenants who are struggling to

pay rent on time, particularly those in black and brown communities that have

been both disproportionately infected by the virus and impacted by the

financial ramifications of the shelter-in-place order.”

“This pandemic is placing serious financial strain on

the homeowners and landlords of Cook County, and we at the Board of Review

don’t want to wait to help people until they appeal their property taxes a few

months from now,” Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers

said. “This solution helps people now by giving families, business owners,

and landlords a few extra months to pay their property taxes or to file an

appeal. It’s our responsibility to do everything we can to help those most

impacted by the pandemic, especially families in back and brown communities.”

The property tax relief ordinance will be presented at the

next full meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners scheduled for May

21.

“This initiative is something we can do immediately that

offers much-needed tax relief during these unprecedented and challenging

times,” Preckwinkle added. “It is our hope this measure can help alleviate some

of the financial strain and anxiety being experienced by residents and

businesses, while balancing the fiscal needs of our underlying taxing

districts.”

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