McHenry County property tax bills get new look, paperless option

McHenry County Treasurer Donna Kurtz explains the county's new tax bill March 14, 2024.

McHenry County Treasurer Donna Kurtz unveiled a new property tax bill Thursday.

The new bill has section headings titled with questions such as “Who is taxing me?” and “Who do I contact with questions?” It contains a listing with a phone number for every taxing body property owners pay into, along with how much taxes have changed from last year.

Township assessor, county treasurer and county assessment contact information is on the back of the bill. The listing is sorted by total dollar amount increase, and a colorful pie chart on the bill gives a breakdown of how much of your taxes go to which agencies.

“We want to promote taxpayer engagement and education,” Kurtz said.

McHenry County Board members praised the new bill. Board member Terri Greeno, R-Crystal Lake, said it’s “far superior to the ComEd bill,” and board member Tracie Von Bergen, R-Hebron, said it was “huge” for taxpayers and provides accountability to agencies.

“The ‘ugh’ is not going to be removed,” board member Brian Sager, R-Woodstock, said of paying taxes, but also gave “kudos” to the treasurer’s office for the bill.

Taxpayers can create an account to sign up for reminders to pay their bill and set up automatic payments, Kurtz said, and a paperless option is being added this year. The tax bill also has a QR code that people can scan to go right to an online portal. She said the treasurer’s office pays $1 when someone pays by e-check, which is free to the taxpayer, but people who use credit cards pay a 2.4% credit card fee and people will pay a $4 convenience fee if they pay by debit card. She added the treasurer’s office is planning to allow people to pay their tax bill using tools like PayPal next year.

The new form comes one month after the county board approved a new printing contract with Tempe, Arizona-based The Master’s Touch, LLC to print the real estate tax bills. The contract costs $37,500 per year and runs through calendar year 2026. Woodstock-based LRD Systems and Forms was the second place bidder, according to county documents. Kurtz said the cost to mail out a tax bill was 62.3 cents. This year, tax bills will be mailed out May 3 and installments will be due June 10 and Sept. 10.

Kurtz also thinks the new tax bill is a high-quality form. “I believe we’re delivering a commercial grade tax bill,” she said.

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