Explain Property Taxes to me (Chicago)
July 9, 2010 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Explain Property Taxes to me (Chicago) I recently bought a condo in the Wicker Park area of Chicago (Cook County). A week ago I received a notice that my 2008 Property Tax Bill is delinquent. Odd thing was it was sent to me by the builder of my condo building. I was under the impression that my mortgage company was supposed to be paying my property taxes and not me. I have a 30 year fixed mortgage with BoA if that's important. So what do I do? Anonymous 'cause I'm pretty ashamed I don't know the answer to this and know I should.
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Look at your mortgage statement. Is there a portion that's being paid into escrow to handle taxes? If yes, then you need to contact your mortgage company, because they're not doing their job. If no, then you're on the hook for managing your property taxes yourself.
posted by KathrynT at 11:05 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

In California you have to pay a one time Supplemental Tax when you purchase a home. I don't if it's the same in Chicago. If it is the Supplemental Tax, it usually isn't handled through an excrow account. You generally have to pay it.

Otherwise, what KathrynT said.
posted by phelixshu at 11:14 AM on July 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

*I don't KNOW if it's the same in Chicago.*
posted by phelixshu at 11:15 AM on July 9, 2010

BofA mortgage division are plumbing new depths of ineptitude on a daily basis so its entirely possible they have screwed up. Look at your mortgage documents and see who is responsible. If you are not sure call your broker or the escrow company and ask them to walk you through it.
posted by fshgrl at 11:23 AM on July 9, 2010

How recently did you buy this condo? A 2008 bill seems to me that there were delinquent taxes on the place when you bought it, which I would have expected to be disclosed during closing costs. Is the time to start the "get a lawyer!" stampede?

IANAL and have no idea what I'm talking about; 2008 just looks weird to me.
posted by CathyG at 11:23 AM on July 9, 2010

wait hold on did you own the apartment in 2008? sounds like no. The title insurer should have found the lien. If they didn't find it they have to pay it up.

Otehrwise there is something messed up with your escrow and you need to call your mortgage company
posted by JPD at 11:24 AM on July 9, 2010

We get some tax bills mailed to us and we just mail them to our mortgage people so they can pay them from the escrow. Maybe you just have to do that? I would call them if I were you.
posted by zorrine at 11:25 AM on July 9, 2010

Most likely the amount for this tax was deducted from your down payment. This being new construction meant that the taxes went upaid during this time. In CCounty 2008 is payable in 2009. I'd contact my closing lawyer or agent and ask about this. Escrow wont pay back taxes. Escrow is only going forward.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:32 AM on July 9, 2010

Did you buy the condo from the builder? According to the Cook County website, "current taxes are paid to the Cook County Treasurer's office, which mails the tax bills to the last "Taxpayer of Record" on file with the Treasurer's office", so they may be listed as the last 'taxpayer of record'. (There is also a link there to see if you are listed as the taxpayer of record.) That might explain why the tax bill was sent to you by the builder.

Also, when (month and year) did you buy the property? According to the Cook County Treasurer's website, it looks like second installment of the 2008 tax bill was due in December 2009 - in other words, it looks like it's a full year behind what it actually is*. I don't know if that means that if you bought the property, say, in August 2009, if that is on the "2008" tax bill (due December 2009) or the "2009" tax bill (due December 2010).

So it's either an issue of the previous owner not paying the tax bill (in which case you'd talk to the title company that handled the closing) or your escrow company not paying the tax bill (in which case you'd talk to the bank).

*in New York State (where I am) you pay "ahead" (the 2010 County tax bill is due by January 31, 2010)
posted by Lucinda at 1:16 PM on July 9, 2010

Another possibility to consider: My sister bought a condo in a freshly rehabbed building in Chicago. Turns out the developer is a colossal scumbag who embezzled funds from the condo association, stuck them with his debts, etc. The fact that this was sent to you by the builder makes me wonder if the developer was a scumbag in your case as well—or even the same guy.
posted by adamrice at 1:20 PM on July 9, 2010

PA here. Are you sending the tax bills to the bank? When we had a mortgage, we had to mail the tax bills to the bank so they could pay them. Your bank is probably are holding the escrow, but if you're not giving them the bill to pay, they cant pay it.

If you are sending them the bills then please don't read what I wrote above :)
posted by sandra_s at 5:47 PM on July 9, 2010

First, i live in Cook County and BofA holds my mortgage. I do nothing with the tax bills, and BofA pays on my behalf. It clearly labels the portion that is escrowed for taxes on the statements they send me. If they are escrowing taxes for you, you shoud be ok for the future.

Also: you may be unaware of this, so I'd like to mention that in Cook County, you receive a DISCOUNT on the property taxes for your primary residence. Nobody tells you this - they'll happily collect the higher rate until you say something, and even then they'll only refund the overpayment for the past four tax years. I just went through a long ass process to get rebates for my overpayments. Call the Cook County Assessor's Office NOW to fill out whatever the document is that will implement the discount!
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 9:00 PM on July 9, 2010

in other words, it looks like it's a full year behind what it actually is

Illinois property taxes are indeed paid in arrears, and it can get rather confusing what you are paying for when, especially when ownership changes.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 9:11 PM on July 9, 2010

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