Residents scramble to pay property taxes to take advantage of deduction

It’s now the law of the land. State and local property tax deductions are capped at $10,000.

But if you hurry up and pay your property tax bill now, you can still take advantage of a bigger deduction for 2017.
So residents are scrambling to pay their tax bill online.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Papas says more and more people are paying their bill online because of the huge incentive to meet the Dec. 31 prepayment deadline.

“What we’re finding is that people who want a deduction – a full deduction in 2017 - for what they would have paid in 2018, which exceeds $10,000, they’re rushing in to pay,” Papas said. “They have until midnight the 31st to get this deduction. If they show up on January 1, they won’t be able to get it.”

Last year, 1,775 people prepaid their taxes in Cook County, a total of $14.4 million.

This year, 23,000 people have prepaid with the county collecting $166.4 million.

Treasurer Pappas says her goal is to eventually eliminate mail from the property tax process signing people up for e-billing.

The unprecedented use of technology in the Treasurer’s Office comes amid questions about Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’s office.

The Chicago Tribune has published a series of stories showing errors in Assessor Berrios’s system that punished poor homeowners while giving the wealthy a break.

Berrios defends his assessments.

People satisfied with their bill and ready to pay can log onto the Cook County Treasurer’s website.