With a new federal tax plan looming in the distance, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas announced Tuesday that her office will make it easier for local taxpayers to still get their property tax deductible regardless of whether or not the national bill passes.
Prepayments for the first property tax installment are still due Dec. 31, but now residents can prepay through the treasurer’s website, in person at Chase banks or over 100 community banks or with credit and debit cards. Before this option, people would have to prepay in person at the Clark Street office or mail in their tax dollars.
The prepayment option would allow taxpayers to still be able to deduct the payment on their 2017 federal income taxes.
The shift was six months in the making, Pappas said. Conversations began around the time Congress began talking about its tax bill, which may be up for a vote next week. The bill in its current form may not allow a property tax deduction next year.
Pappas said that her office has gotten a minimum of 600 emails a day so far from people asking to prepay. Last year, nearly 2,000 people paid early — mostly “snowbirds” (people spending the winter in warmer states) and people with high-end homes, Pappas said.
Within the last week, the number of people requesting to prepay jumped to over 6,600.
“I think this is going to have a big impact because everyone is trying to save money,” Pappas said. “So if they can get a deduction, I don’t want to make any guesses, but I think we’re going to get tsunamied. There’s going to be a wave of people in here.”
So far, of over 1.7 million parcels in the county, 180,000 are paying online and have signed up for e-billing, Pappas said.
To accommodate the larger influx of people and requests, Pappas said her office will open at 8:30 a.m. every business day and may extend their office hours to be able to help everyone. Property tax bills are due March 1.