Property tax bills available online

County treasurer estimates $20M in eligible cuts go unclaimed each year

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By Michael Romain

Editor

Second installment property tax bills for Cook County property owners can now be viewed and paid online, according to the Cook County Treasurer's Office. The bills, which are scheduled to be mailed next week, are due on Aug. 1.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas said in a statement that, although online payments will not require an additional fee for property owners using a bank account to pay their bills, there will be a 2.1 percent fee for those using a credit card.

Pappas has been urging senior citizens in the county to apply for property tax breaks that her office said many people have not been utilizing. Pappas' office roughly estimates that as much as $20 million in eligible tax cuts goes unclaimed each year.

According to Greg Hinze, of Crain's Chicago Business, the tax exemptions fall into two major types.

"The first, technically known as the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption, lowers the equalized assessed valuation on qualifying property by $8,000 a year. For most senior homeowners, that translates into a tax savings of around $600 a year, more in some parts of the county, less in others, depending on the actual tax rate," Hinze writes.

"The second break is the Senior Property Tax Freeze. It freezes your total bill at a certain level, usually a little below the current level, and, like the homestead exemption, has to be applied for each year. The freeze is limited to those with a total household income of $65,000 a year, up from $55,000 in previous years."

Those tax exemptions may come in handy this year. The Chicago Tribune reports that property tax rates for homeowners in Chicago are up around 3 percent, according to an assessment form by Cook County Clerk David Orr.

"In Chicago, the owner of a home worth $224,500 will pay $4,100 this year, which translates to an increase of $110 or 2.75 percent from last year," the Tribune reports. 

To determine if a home is eligible for a senior exemption or to view your second installment property tax bill, visit the treasurer's website at cookcountytreasurer.com.

CONTACT: michael@austinweeklynews.com   

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