Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Property tax bills are out and due December 3

Property taxpayers should be on the lookout for their property tax bills shortly. Most tax bills hit the U.S.Post Office on Monday and were delivered yesterday. The due date for your payment is Monday, December 3rd.

Does your mortgage company pay your taxes automatically? If so, be on the lookout for an ominous letter from your mortgage company or escrow company telling you to forward your original letter to them or face penalties. The Cook County Treasurer's office started charging a new fee to pay taxes electronically. (Insane, I know.) Your mortgage company may be trying to avoid paying this new fee by asking you for your original tax bill so they can mail in a paper check rather than transmitting your payment.

If you feel like being a helpful customer, feel free to forward your bill to your escrow company, but you are under no obligation to do so. Your mortgage company receives your bill electronically in a large download and is supposed to make your payment in a bulk electronic payment transmittal. They are simply hoping to avoid the fee by sending out these scary-sounding letters. Also, if your escrow company fails to make your payment on time, you are not liable for the extra penalties the County Treasurer imposes for late payments.

Are you missing your tax bill? Your guides are amazed when the original developer of the townhome complex where we reside forwards us a sizable stack of un-deliverable tax bills to us. This occurs because residents still have not changed their address with the Cook County Treasurer's office and therefore the bills are sent off to the most recent known taxpayer of record - namely the developer.

Check out the Cook County Treasurer's website where you can look up your bill, change your name and billing address if you need to, and check out a bunch of other helpful features. The Treasurer's website is

Please note: other important services are offered in the treasurer's doppleganger office - the Cook County Assessor. Use the Assessor's office website to locate your Property Tax ID Number if you only know your address. Download the forms to apply for your Home Owner's Exemption, your Senior Citizen's Exemption at the Assessor's office. The Assessor's office is where you will start the process of a Tax Appeal if you feel your property is assessed too high. The Assessor's website is