What Tax Relief Policies Are Cook County And Illinois Collar Counties Offering Property Owners?
Commercial property owners across the country are asking themselves the same questions: What happens if my tenants can’t pay rent? How can I keep my property profitable? How will I be able to pay my property taxes?
While rent collection has dwindled, mortgage and tax payments have remained constant. Now, owners are trying to work out the details of what must be paid, when, and how to avoid going out of business because of the pandemic.
“The majority of the questions we have received from clients are about the due date and corresponding penalty dates of second-installment tax bill payments, followed closely by the effect the coronavirus will have on appeals,” said Peter Verros, a partner at Chicago law firm Verros Berkshire. “Our firm is focusing on working with appraisers, real estate brokers and owners to outline and estimate the pandemic’s effects on values and how to prepare for upcoming appeals.”
Verros and his team are keeping a close eye on Illinois counties and the tax relief measures they are offering property owners. He walked Bisnow through what several counties have announced so far and what it could mean for local property owners.
On May 13, Cook County officials announced that the second installment of 2019 bills will go out on Aug. 3, as scheduled. However, county officials have announced a plan to halt the interest fees and late fees until Oct. 1, and any payments made by that date will be considered on time.
The county treasurer’s office expects about $7B in property taxes during this second collection, according to The Chicago Tribune. Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas told the Tribune she has been fielding calls from property owners who are very concerned about making summer payments. She added that while around 92% of the first installment of payments were made on time at the beginning of March, she expects the number to be much smaller for the second round.
DuPage County has decided not to extend its tax payment deadline. The first installment will be due June 1, and the second installment will be due Sept. 1, as originally scheduled. Interest and late fees will be suspended for 90 days, but only for residents who can prove they have suffered financial hardship directly as a result of the pandemic.
Kane County has determined that payments will still be due June 1, but there will be no late fees for payments received by July 1. This relief will not apply to taxpayers whose payments are done through a third party, such as tax payments placed in escrow through a mortgage lender.
The Kankakee County Board has not made any decisions regarding taxpayer relief, but the question remains under consideration. The Kankakee County Administration Building was reopened to the public on May 11, but the board still encourages taxpayers to avoid making payments in person. In Kankakee County, second-installment tax bills were mailed to taxpayers by May 18. The first installment is due June 24, and the second installment is due Sept. 3.
Kendall County has not yet finalized its decision regarding property tax relief. However, county officials have indicated they plan to include an application showing financial hardship due to the pandemic with each tax bill. If this application is completed and approved, officials anticipate providing a suspension of late penalties for two months. At the end of this suspension period, if the property tax bill has still not been paid, Kendall County may pursue interest and late penalties for the suspension period.
Lake County property owners must still pay the full amount of property taxes due, but the deadlines have been extended. While 50% the first installment of taxes is still due June 8, the remaining 50% is now due Aug. 7. As for the second installment, 50% is due Sept. 8, and the remaining 50% is due Nov. 9.
McHenry County has also decided not to extend the payment deadline. Payments will continue to be due June 15, but there will be no late fees for payments received by Sept. 15. As with Kane County, this relief will not apply to taxpayers whose payments are done through a third party.
In Will County, 50% of the first installment of tax payments are due June 3, while the remaining 50% is due Aug. 3. For the second installment, 50% is due Sept. 3, and the remaining 50% is due Nov. 3. Any unpaid balance remaining after the Aug. 3 and Nov. 3 dates will incur interest.
With uncertainty mounting, Verros believes the key to weathering the upcoming storm is for property owners and tenants to work together and stay informed. He said many clients are looking to appeal their property valuations now in order to hopefully lower their tax bill, and his firm is preparing for those discussions.
“We’re only just now starting to see the impact the coronavirus will have on the market,” Verros said. “Some experts believe that it could take up to 18 to 24 months for the dust to settle. Moving forward, it’s important that both tenants and property owners stay ahead of these tax appeal developments and structure deals with them in mind.”
This feature was produced in collaboration between the Bisnow Branded Content Studio and Verros Berkshire. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
All information in this article was current as of May 26 but is subject to change. Please reach out to Verros Berkshire with any questions regarding tax policies or due dates.