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Cook County treasurer launches online service to check for returned tax bills

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas | Santiago Covarrubias/For the Sun-Times

The Cook County treasurer’s office has launched an online portal to help homeowners find out if their tax bills have been returned by the U.S. Postal Service.

The service is meant to help homeowners with mail delivery problems avoid penalties for late payments, according to a statement from Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

“Property owners who don’t receive their tax bills often face interest charges for late payments and even see their properties go up for sale for delinquent taxes,” Pappas said in the statement. “It’s an unnecessary waste of time and money, and it’s unfair.”

To check if tax bills have been returned, homeowners should:

  • Select the purple box labeled “Your Property Tax Overview” on the treasurer’s website;
  • Enter their address or Property Index Number; and
  • Look for a red warning pop-up that indicates a bill has been returned.

The website can also be used to update mailing information or enroll to receive bills via email.

Pappas said the online portal also shows any overpayments made on a property dating back 20 years and allows homeowners to apply for refunds. She said there was up to $94 million available in property tax refunds for people who have overpaid.

The site also has features to allow senior citizens to apply for deferrals or exemptions, according to Pappas, who said seniors in Cook County were owed more than $43 million in unclaimed property tax exemptions.

The due date for the first installment for the 2018 tax year is March 1. An official with the treasurer’s office said the first installment bills will be sent out in late January, but taxpayers can use the online system now to see if previous bills have been returned or if their billing information needs to be updated. Bills can also be viewed online or paid early via the website, and can be downloaded in multiple languages.

The treasurer’s office has reduced the number of properties with incorrect mailing addresses from 86,200 two years ago to 63,500 today, officials said.