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Pappas Gratified as Cook County Board Approves Penalty Waivers on 2nd Installment Property Tax Bill

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas said she was gratified that the Board of Commissioners today approved her suggestion to waive late penalties for two months on property tax bills scheduled to be due August 3.

“Homeowners and business owners are financially stressed because of the pandemic, and the County Board’s action will give them two extra months to get their finances together and pay by October 1 without incurring late-payment charges,” Pappas said.

On April 29, Pappas wrote Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Board’s 17 commissioners to urge them to waive penalties of 1.5 percent per month for two months as “a form of relief for our people” because “too many are jobless” and fear losing their homes. The Board approved Pappas’ request at its virtual meeting today.

Pappas’ Office is to begin printing the Second Installment property tax bills for Tax Year 2019 in mid-June. The bills will be mailed to property owners at the beginning of July, but will be posted at cookcountytreasurer.com almost two weeks before they arrive in the mail.

“Unusual times demand extraordinary efforts from government to help people see what’s coming and then help them handle it,” Pappas said. “We’re doing both by waiving penalties and showing taxpayers the bills before they’re even mailed.”

Salesforce and Pappas Team Up
No need to come to the office. Apply online for $79 million in refunds and $44 million in missing Cook County property tax exemptions

Taxpayers seeking property tax refunds will have new tools on cookcountytreasurer.com enabling them to file electronically instead of downloading a form and mailing it in, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas said today.

“Filing for refunds just became easier, and for good reason,” Pappas said.  “Because of the pandemic, the new normal may be that people can’t visit government offices to submit documents or get answers to questions about their tax bill in person.  So, we’ll let them ‘visit’ from home.”

Pappas asked consulting firm Applications Software Technology LLC (AST) to integrate Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) software with the website to streamline the process of applying for refunds caused by overpayments and missing property tax exemptions. Taxpayers can now search for refunds by property address and select the application button to submit their claim.
The system also allows taxpayers to submit supporting documentation, if necessary. Eliminating paper applications will shave one week off the time it takes the Office to issue refunds due to overpayments, reducing processing to three to five weeks, Pappas said. About 16,000 paper applications are mailed each year.

Pappas also overhauled her CRM system, which the office developed in 2001, so that information about refund applications and other inquiries about property taxes is contained in a single database.

“Our CRM system was ahead of its time then,” Pappas said.  “Now we go to the next level of efficiency.”