The real estate tax bills are coming...
As we close out the 2013 calendar year and enter 2014 we are still waiting to pay our 2013 real estate tax. Why? Because the Illinois property tax system cannot be completed within a calendar year, we are always one year in arrears (behind) in payment of the tax.
In Cook County...
In Cook County the first installment of the 2013 real estate tax bill will be sent to taxpayers of record on or about February 1st 2014. The amount to be paid will be 55% of the previous year's total tax. So if you are trying to estimate the impending 2013 first installment you need to know the total 2012 real estate tax bill.
Here is a tip if you want to see a copy of the previous year's full tax bill.
The Cook County Treasurer's web site (www.cookcountytreasurer.com) will give you that information and more, such as the tax rates and the breakdown of percentages and taxes of each taxing district involved.
Look for a tab entitled: Taxing Districts Financial Statements and Disclosures. Follow the prompts to type in the full parcel number and it will provide you with the final tax bill as we just described. It's a handy way to track historical real estate taxes.
Keep in mind that your second installment (now anticipated to be due every August 1st) will be roughly the other 45% if your assessment has stayed the same. We say roughly because the tax rates will change (+ or -) from year to year.
Caution: an increase in the property's assessment could cause a dramatic difference in the remaining amount due the county. So you cannot comfortably rely on the remaining amount being roughly 45%! This often happens when property is reassessed or when assessments are reduced in the previous year and the reduction does not carry over to the next real estate tax year.
Assessment changes are key elements in the formula for determining the real estate tax and cause the administration of the property tax to always enter into the next year (why we are always in arrears).
This is also the time when appeal opportunities are available to reduce your assessment, and resulting tax. You need to be aware of what the Assessor is doing in your township...something we can help you with.
Outside of Cook County...
Other counties work through their assessment appeal opportunities with a focus on presenting the taxpayer with a total real estate tax bill arriving on or about May 1st each year, again in the calendar year following the real estate tax year (an obvious difference in the administration of the tax outside Cook County.)
The first installment, typically due June 1st will be 50% of the total tax due, with the second 50% installment due on or about September 1st.
Changing the tax payer of record...
Assessing officials generally retain the name and addresses of the taxpayers of record through their Treasure's databases. When you are a new purchaser closing documents are sent to various government offices for recordation. Do not rely on these documents to change the address.
Be aggressive in submitting your own change of address notifications to the Assessor or Treasurer offices. Review your county's websites to ensure changes in address are in place so that you get your tax bills and timely notices about your property.
As a general rule, notice requirements allow for government to send a tax bill to the taxpayer of record. If you do not receive a tax bill you are still responsible to pay the tax in full and on time. Complications arise when their data base is not up to date, but the onus is on you to make sure that it is!