More than 85k Cook County homeowners prepay property taxes, in-person payments to be accepted over the weekend

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Homeowners hoping to take advantage of a tax break that is capped in the new GOP tax bill rushed to prepay their 2018 property taxes in December. (WLS)

Cook County residents who tried to prepay their 2018 property taxes at the Cook County Treasurer's Office today didn't wait long, but thousands of others have already paid their bill.

More than 85,000 homeowners have already pre-paid their 2018 property taxes since the online payment tool became available on December 12, compared to fewer than 1,400 prepayments in December 2016. The majority of payments have been made online.

The prepayments have brought in more than $529 million in tax revenue this month.

"I don't know what the impact will be on my refund for next year, I mean for this year, but I mean anything I can get extra is worth it," said homeowner Maria Mendoza.

Officials said the large numbers are due to homeowners hoping to take advantage of the currently-unlimited tax break they get for their property taxes. Homeowners with high property tax bills will be most affected under the new tax law, which caps how much can be deducted for state, local and property taxes at $10,000 combined.

Ernest Dankwa prepaid his bill today to save as much as possible. (13)

"Probably about $1000 or more because I'm paying almost $18,000 a year," Dankwa said. "I live in in Evanston so it's quite quite a lot."

The IRS has cautioned that not all pre-paid property taxes will be deductible.
"In Cook County you're still probably safe making the first installment payment," said Michael Caramangno, CPA for Caramagno and Associates. "But the other counties that haven't assessed those bills yet, the IRS is saying those payments, even if they're made in 2017 would not be deductible."

Cook County residents who wish to prepay their property can still do so Saturday and Sunday.

Payments can be made at any Chase Bank location in Cook County Saturday. On Sunday, the Treasurer's Office on North Clark Street will be open to accept last-minute payments.

Residents may also submit payments to the after-hours mail slot at the Clark Street office. Payments made before midnight Sunday will be counted toward 2017 taxes.
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