Assessors in Riverside Township and Lyons Township announced last week that the second installment of 2020 property tax bills will be delayed at least a month, initially indicating that complications from the COVID-19 pandemic were at least partly to blame.

However, on July 9, Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough weighed in, saying her office won’t calculate municipal tax rates until “major errors” related to improper assessment freezes given to some senior citizens are fixed.

Yarbrough’s announcement came in the wake of a Chicago Sun-Times report stating that the Cook County Assessor’s Office had “incorrectly calculated the value of the senior assessment freeze for many of the 144,904 homeowners receiving the tax break.”

The second installment of property taxes is typically due to be paid in early August, but delays mean the bills won’t be mailed to property owners until at least the end of July, according to Riverside Township Assessor Fran Sitkiewicz. If the county holds to that timetable, second installment taxes would be due in early September.

All of the 2020 property assessment appeals have now been completed by the Cook County Assessor and Board of Review, and the Illinois Department of Revenue has released the state equalization factor, Sitkiewicz said in an email.

Now, the Cook County Assessor must calculate the correct 2020 exemptions so the Cook County Clerk can calculate local tax rates. Only then will the Cook County Treasurer be able to post amounts online and print and mail the 2020 second installment tax bills.

While it could take more than a month to get everything together, Sitkiewicz said she’s hopeful the delay won’t be extended.

“It really looks like they’re putting in the effort to get tax bills out by the end of July,” she said.

You can visit the Cook County Treasurer’s website at cookcountytreasurer.com for updates on when tax bills may be posted online and mailed.

Bob Uphues