Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas in November will conduct the first sale in more than two years of delinquent Cook County property taxes.
About $163.4 million in unpaid 2018 property taxes is due on 36,000 homes, businesses and land. Less than $1,000 is owed on 7,700 properties in suburban Cook County and 11,744 properties in Chicago, Pappas said.
Pappas is sending owners of those properties a certified mailing informing them that their unpaid taxes are scheduled to be sold Nov. 5, which would put a lien against their properties. It is the first step in a process that can end with the loss of a property.
Owners can avoid the tax sale by paying delinquent taxes and interest before the sale begins. To see if your taxes are delinquent -- and to make a payment -- visit cookcountytreasurer.com and select “Avoid the Tax Sale.” You can search by address or by Property Index Number (PIN).
“About 75% of the taxes offered for sale are for properties in majority Black and Latino communities,” Pappas said. “That’s why Black and Latino Houses Matter, my program to help homeowners find refunds and apply for tax exemptions, is so important.”
Owners may be unaware the taxes on their properties are headed to the tax sale because the U.S. Postal Service has returned bills and subsequent notices on 17,702 properties, according to the treasurer’s office. In addition, as many as 207 seniors may be missing a senior exemption and 184 seniors may be eligible for a senior freeze -- two exemptions that could reduce their tax bill.
Under state law, the annual sale traditionally is conducted 13 months after the due date of property taxes, but last year’s sale was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pappas plans to conduct the sale for 2019 unpaid taxes in May and for the 2020 taxes in November 2022.