Originally published December 6, 2012 at the Cook County Clerk's website
Clerk David Orr today unveiled a time and labor-saving delinquent property tax online search tool that provides instant information on all Cook County properties with sold, forfeited or unpaid taxes in the last 20 years. The delinquent property database contains 222,670 properties with more than $912 million in delinquent taxes.
With this new search tool, property owners can learn instantly if they owe back taxes, Orr said. Such transparency will improve collections, reduce calls and foot traffic to our office, and allow many businesses to be more efficient.
To use the tool, simply enter a Property Index Number (PIN) to see if any taxes were sold, forfeited or unpaid for tax years 1991-2010.
If any unpaid taxes were sold at an annual tax sale, scavenger sale or over the counter, the search results will display the date sold and link to instructions for ordering an Estimate Cost of Redemption.
If any delinquent taxes are found, the search results will display the tax year, status, forfeit date and tax balance due (penalties are not shown). Instructions for ordering an Estimate Cost of Redemption are provided.
This search tool will be invaluable for not only property owners, but also title companies, mortgage servicers and insurance adjusters who need to bring unpaid taxes up to date, Orr said.
Several frequent customers, including Rodney Slutzky, previewed the site. Slutzky, an attorney with Slutzky & Blumenthal who constantly researches historical tax records, said it is presented in an accessible and user-friendly format.
Having this information online will be not only convenient, but a great time saver, he said. I feel quite certain this innovation will be a great improvement to the often confusing and difficult to navigate tax collection system currently existing in Cook County.
In Illinois, unpaid property taxes are collectible for 20 years. While the vast majority of Cook County's 1.8 million properties do not have delinquent taxes, knowing the critical information contained in the search results is the first step in the tax redemption process.
Notification of unpaid prior tax years is noted on the current year's second installment tax bill. Future tax bills will direct taxpayers to this new search tool.