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Cook County Postponed Property Tax Payments
Hit $1.8 Billion

by Bob Tivnan, CMI, Chicago, September 2020

 

To help property owners deal with the economic hardships posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cook County offered no late fees on 2019 Second Installment taxes through October 1. Typically, the penalty for late payments is a monthly charge of 1.5% of the amount of property taxes due.

 

The reprieve from delinquent property tax penalties has resulted in delayed tax payments of almost $1.8 billion, with the majority being from commercial property owners ($1.1 billion).

 

On the Verge of a Commercial Collapse?

 

Nearly 25% of property taxes owed in the second installment bills that were originally due August 3 have not been paid, according to Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas’ office.

 

“The fact that there’s so many unpaid commercial bills is maybe the beginning of the dam breaking for commercial real estate,” Pappas told the Chicago Daily Herald. “How can they pay if nobody is paying them? I think we’re on the verge of a commercial collapse, but I’m just an independent observer.”

 

Some Townships Have More Delayed Collections Than Others

 

Among properties in Northwest Cook County, 30.1% of the property taxes owed in Leyden Township have yet to be paid. This is the highest deferred payment rate among the eight townships in the region and amounts to more than $62 million.

 

Other townships have varying rates of delayed payments:

 

  • Barrington Township (29.2%)

  • Elk Grove Township (22.7%)

  • Hanover Townships (17.4%)

  • Main Township (22.6%)

  • Palatine Township (21%)

  • Schaumburg Township (22.7%)

  • Wheeling Township (20%)

 

Many tax jurisdictions have sufficient reserves to cover monthly expenses in the short term. However, the loss of tax revenue could ultimately force them to borrow needed funds, which could lead to higher taxes.