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Editorial: Make tax payments easier to manage

We’re in real estate tax season. Allowing more time between the first and second installments would help many taxpayers. Three nearby states allow 6 months between payments. Illinois should, too.

Published: Saturday, June 14, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

After autumn comes winter, after winter comes spring, and after spring comes – real estate tax season.

Friday the 13th marked the first installment payment deadline for real estate taxes in Ogle County.

Other first installment deadlines across the Sauk Valley are:

Whiteside County – June 19;

Carroll County – July 3;

Bureau County – July 9; and

Lee County – July 11.

Second installment payment deadlines in the Sauk Valley all fall in the first week of September: Sept. 3, Carroll and Bureau; Sept. 4, Whiteside; and Sept. 5, Lee and Ogle.

In a recent SVM story, Lee County Treasurer John Fritts said that, for the first time, his office would allow Lee County residents to make weekly or monthly payments on their taxes.

With less than 2 months between the first and second installment due dates, some Lee taxpayers might find that option useful.

Although real estate taxpayers know that their tax payments are due every year in early and late summer, it can still be a challenge for some people to scrounge up the money for that second payment.

It would be less of a challenge if the time could be lengthened between the first and second installments.

How about 6 months between payments?

That would be a customer-friendly approach for Illinois county treasurers to adopt toward their constituents.

Other nearby states already do this.

In Wisconsin, real estate tax due dates are Jan. 31 and July 31.

In Iowa, the due dates are March 1 and Sept. 1.

In Indiana, the due dates are May 10 and Nov. 10.

Officials involved in Illinois’ real estate tax process may scoff at the idea of making schedule changes that would upset their established way of doing things.

We believe that having defined annual payment dates, with 6 full months between the first and second installments, would be an improvement that taxpayers would gratefully embrace.

We encourage Sauk Valley lawmakers to investigate the possibilities, introduce appropriate legislation, and push for its approval.

That way, the season that comes after spring could become much more enjoyable for taxpayers.

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