Cook County officials warn residents to pay property tax or get auctioned in May

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Time is running out for thousands of people in Cook County to pay their property taxes. If they don't, their taxes will be auctioned off in a sale in May.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas is making an appeal to shrink the tax sale list. She said delinquent taxes on nearly 57,000 properties could be auctioned in the annual tax sale in May if owners don't catch up on their property taxes.

"For whatever reason, there are more parcels this year on the tax sale list than there have been in the past," she said.

Pappas said all the information taxpayers need is on the Cook County Treasurer's website, where there is a list of properties with unpaid bills for tax year 2017.

There was an appeal to members of the faith based community to share the list with their congregations.

More than 3,000 of the outstanding property tax bills are in Alderman Carrie Austin's 34th Ward.

"Most of the time when people get their taxes, they have no money to even start. Because they haven't prepared for it," Austin said.

Austin said her office has conducted seminars geared toward helping seniors stay current on their payments.

Tanya Woods with the Westside Justice Center said advocacy is important for many people who simply may not know that they owe money.

Many times, property tax bills are returned to the treasurer by the post office.

"This is especially tragic for people who are marginalized, who are disenfranchised, are seniors, are poor, undereducated, underemployed," said Woods.

Hundreds of seniors qualify for exemptions. That information can also be found on the website as well as link to pay the property tax bill before the May 3 deadline.
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