At long last, the second installment of Cook County’s 2021 property tax bills have been released after significant delays. Normally issued in July with an August 1 due date, the tax bills became available online at the Cook County Treasurer’s website on November 15. Paper copies of the bills are expected to be mailed by December 1 with payments due by December 30.
It is understandable if taxpayers lost track of the 2021 Cook County assessment appeal process. Rarely expedient in the best of years, the 2021 tax appeal cycle was exceptionally drawn out. For example, the appeal cycle spanned 14 months in 2019, from February of 2019 to April of 2020. 2021 was significantly more problematic. The process that normally starts in February didn’t begin until April; the 14-month cycle from 2019 extended to 18 months in 2021. Consequently, second installment tax bills with a July 1 mail date and August 1 due date have turned into bills with a December 1 mail date and a December 30 due date.
Delayed distribution of Cook County’s tax bills has several practical consequences. The delay in issuing the bills will, in turn, cause a payment crunch for Cook County property owners. After not paying a tax bill for nearly a year (the first installment 2021 bills were mailed in January and due March 1), property owners will be asked to pay a year’s worth of taxes, or two installments, in the next three and a half months. The second installment 2021 bills are now out and will be followed in short order by the first installment 2022 bills. Those bills will be mailed in January with a March due date and will be 55% of the total 2021 taxes (first installment plus second installment). Another effect caused by the delayed bills is the deadline for property owners to pursue relief on those bills will be extended. The window for filing “specific objection” complaints in circuit court remains open for 165 days beyond the first penalty date of the second installment tax bills for a given year. That window would normally be closing by this point. Due to the delays, however, that window has yet to open.
Navigating Cook County property taxes are complicated in an average year, and, between a scheduled City of Chicago reassessment and significant administrative delays, 2021 was an exceptional one. Notably, the 2022 and 2023 assessment years are looking to be on a similar trajectory. 2022 is a north suburb reassessment year. The 2022 reassessment townships have already opened and closed for appeals at the Assessor level, but the next level of appeal, the Board of Review, will be opening for those appeals in January. 2023 is a south suburb reassessment year. Look for those reassessment notices in late spring of 2023.
Please contact Nick McIntyre or Scott David in Much’s Property Tax Appeals group for a comprehensive review of your property and potential avenues for relief.