CHICAGO (WLS) – You likely won’t receive your pending Cook County property tax bills until August 1.
There is controversy between three Cook County offices; a battle for your property tax bill and some questionable exemptions for seniors. This battle, along with COVID-19, is likely to result in delays in property tax billing.
“I think the public really doesn’t like it when people argue, they want issues to be fixed,” said Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi. “If we really got into it, we’ll have found hundreds of scammers. We’ll keep catching more.”
There is growing controversy and a report in the Chicago Sun Times about the Freeze Freeze Exemption for Seniors and whether his office gave tax breaks to some seniors who may not have qualified.
In a letter received Tuesday by the ABC 7 I team from Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough and Treasurer Maria Pappas, Kaegi was asked to sign a document claiming his office was taking all 2020 rate dates Checked and corrected the penalty. If he doesn’t, they won’t push property tax invoices to meet the August 1st deadline.
Kaegi said he didn’t sign it and that it was mandatory for her to get the bills out.
“The Cook County attorney posted a statement later that day stating that you, clerk and treasurer, have to do your job and calculate tariffs and send out bills for us to consider the matter resolved and it it is up to them to carry them out. ” their duties, “said Kaegi.
He also said his office is finding people taking advantage of the seniors exemption by looking for recipients who do not have an annual household income of $ 65,000 or less, as required.
“We recovered approximately $ 11 million in corporate taxation that was inappropriately claimed. And we all keep audits, we checked 40,000 seniors exemptions last year, but we also want to make sure that people who receive the seniors exemptions are made sure, don’t let it be taken away from them, “Kaegi said.
The savings on questionable senior freeze exemptions could fall on all other landowners in the county.
“Well, when people cheat on the system, it affects others, and that’s why we have investigations for people who get it inappropriately,” says Kaegi.
The assessor added that prior to this controversy, his office faced delays due to COVID-19 that were already expected to hinder the process of issuing invoices on time.
Pappas gave the I-Team a statement that she will send the tax bills out as soon as she receives them from Yarbrough. Yarbrough didn’t respond to calls and emails from the I-Team. Pappas added that she believed “the assessor has an ethical responsibility to correct all data errors related to senior freeze exemptions”.
The office of Cook County’s chairman of the board, Toni Preckwinkle, exclusively announced to the I-Team that it will bring an amendment to the next board meeting that would officially move the property tax due date to October 1, bills out. Otherwise there may be further delays.
Statement by Treasurer Maria Pappas from July 14th, 21st
The Cook County Clerk’s office announced today that it has started calculating property tax rates. I am ready, willing and able to print the tax invoices as soon as I have received the required file from the clerk.
I expect invoices to be issued next month with a due date of October 1st – which, according to a Cook County ordinance issued in Fall 2020, was the last day to be paid without a penalty.
As always, before the invoices are printed, I will send the tax invoices to cookcountytreasurer.com.
I still believe that the assessor has an ethical responsibility to correct any data errors related to Senior Freeze exceptions. I made my position clear.
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