Slashed interest rate on late property tax payments could prevent home loss 

Column: Your Property Taxes with Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas

By Maria Pappas

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessAs my office prepares for the Annual Tax Sale, we’re doing all we can to help people avoid losing their homes because of unpaid property taxes. One of the biggest legislative reforms to the Illinois property tax system in decades takes effect with tax bills due March 1, 2024. That’s when the interest rate charged on overdue tax payments will plummet to 9% a year from the current 18 percent. My office proposed the reform and helped convince lawmakers to approve the change.

This is a big deal because it will lower the cost for making late payments and allow more homeowners to pay off delinquent bills and avoid the Annual Tax Sale. The lower interest rate is expected to save folks who make late payments about $30 million per year. We championed the interest rate cut to give families a chance to build generational wealth.

Property taxes are due in two annual installments. If you fail to pay your 2023 First Installment property taxes by March 1, 2024, you will be charged 0.75% monthly interest. For taxes that were due in 2023 and earlier, the old monthly interest rate of 1.5% will continue to apply.

By law, the Annual Tax Sale occurs 13 months after Second Installment taxes were due. The Annual Tax Sale for 2021 taxes that were due in 2022 is set to occur between Jan. 9 and 12, with a reoffer of properties on Jan. 16. 

Right now, investors known as tax buyers are registering for the sale. These tax buyers hope to make money by collecting interest owed on tax debt. The best way for homeowners to avoid the Annual Tax Sale is to pay their tax debt in full. Nearly half the properties listed in the upcoming Annual Tax Sale owe less than $1,000.

My office has sent notices to owners of properties on the Annual Tax Sale list and published information in local newspapers. Visit to find out if your property is on the Annual Tax Sale list. Use the purple box on the home page labeled “Your Property Tax Overview” and search using an address or Property Index Number (PIN). A banner with an urgent warning will appear if your property is on the Annual Tax Sale list.

In addition to cutting the interest rate, the new law gives counties new tools to return chronically tax delinquent properties to productive use. Also, the legislation closes loopholes that have allowed tax buyers to drain about $40 million each year from governments serving mostly Black and Latino residents.

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