David Orr, Cook County Clerk
         

Redemption Procedures

What Should I Do If My Taxes Have Been Sold?

If your taxes have been sold, you should immediately obtain an Estimate of the Cost of Redemption. This is a calculation of the amount you need to pay to redeem the sale and remove the threat of loss of the property.

Once you obtain the estimate, verify that it is for the correct PIN (property index number, also known as a permanent real estate index number).

Verify the PIN with the legal description on your deed to confirm you have identified the correct property. If you need assistance with reading the legal description, please visit the Real Estate and Tax Services Division, Cook County Building, 118 N. Clark Street, Room 434, Chicago, Illinois, where we can assist you with examining official county tax maps.

You are advised to redeem the taxes immediately, as penalties and fees can increase and can multiply over time. These taxes and any fees and penalties must be paid in full; there are no payment plans for redemption payments.

Failure to redeem within the time frame permitted by law will result in the loss of the property.

Helpful tips:

  • Always verify that the Estimate of the Cost of Redemption you receive is for your parcel and that you receive documents that cover all the delinquencies on your property. If you have any questions, call (312) 603-5645. The Clerk's operators for the Tax Redemption call center will be happy to assist you.

  • Do not redeem a property in which you have no ownership or other legal interest.

  • If your property has been the subject of more than one tax sale, be sure you know which of the sales has priority. Because each sale may be on a different schedule, it is important to know the deadlines that apply to each sale. Be sure you know the last day to redeem for each sale to avoid losing your property.

  • Illinois law requires that redemption tax payments be made by certified or cashier's check, money order or cash. Do not send cash through the mail. Partial payments are not permitted by law, nor are credit cards, debit cards or personal checks.

  • Make sure you review the Estimate of the Cost of Redemption for all scheduled penalty increases to avoid a returned payment. Other unscheduled charges can increase the total amount you owe:
  • If current taxes are not paid by the due date, the tax buyer may add them to the tax sale, with additional fees and penalties.

  • If the sale is not redeemed prior to five months before the end of the redemption period, certain costs, such as charges for the Cook County Sheriff to serve notices to you, may be included in the cost of redemption.

Redeem as soon as possible to avoid additional charges.

  • If there are any taxes added to your Estimate of the Cost of Redemption that you believe you have already paid, please bring this to the attention of the Clerk's Tax Redemption Unit before you pay your redemption. The tax buyer can pay unpaid current taxes and add them to your sale, but only if you did not pay them first. If you did, the Clerk's office can remove them and reduce the amount you need to pay by removing the tax buyer's payment from the Cost of Redemption.

Example: Your 2007 taxes were sold, and you were late paying your 2008 taxes but paid them a day before the tax buyer did. We can remove them from your redemption total if you supply us with proof of your payment.

  • Always make sure you obtain any exemptions that will reduce the amount of taxes due. If you were entitled to an exemption for a tax year that occurred after your taxes were sold, obtain a Certificate of Error from the Cook County Assessor's office to reduce the amount of taxes and penalties you owe. Call the Assessor's office at (312) 443-7550 regarding a missed exemption.

If the tax buyer has already added those taxes to your sale, we can also reduce the amount due, once the Assessor's office has completed the certification process. If you missed an exemption for the year of taxes that were sold, you must redeem your taxes first before applying to obtain the exemption. The amount of exemption can then be refunded to you.

For more information

Please refer to the Property Tax Code, 35 ILCS 200/, in the Revenue chapter of Illinois Compiled Statutes.

Need more help?

Go to Tax FAQs