City Cast

Local Civics: Property Tax Changes

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on May 31   |   Updated on June 5

Cook County’s property tax sale system could soon look different — pending Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature.

What is the current system? When homeowners are delinquent on their property tax payments, private investors can buy up that debt, putting owners at risk of owing large-interest payments.

How could it change? According to the Real Deal:

  • Annual interest on delinquent property taxes would drop from 18% to 9%, giving owners more time to catch up on back payments.
  • A loophole that has long been criticized would close. Currently, tax buyers can more easily get a refund on the property even after collecting interest payments. This law would set a higher bar for buyers to prove the property was "sold in error.”

What makes the bill significant? Two studies released last year by the Cook County Treasurer’s office showed how the law was harming communities of color. The system was launched 80 years ago by the same officials who created modern segregation, WTTW reported.

What would that mean for taxpayers? Affected owners, many of whom are Black and Latinx, would save between $25 million and $35 million a year, county Treasurer Maria Pappas said.

Now it’s in Pritzker’s hands … and he is expected to sign the bill into law.

+ Speaking of property taxes, did yours skyrocket? Check out Axios’ guide about how to appeal.

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