Dear Friends and Clients,

Congress is working on making changes to the income tax code a reality, but at this time it is unknown whether those efforts will ultimately result in actual changes to the income tax code.  In spite of the uncertainty of Congress’ changes to the income tax code, we are letting our clients know that many of you may benefit by taking steps before the end of 2017 if the proposed income tax changes do in fact go into effect.  Some of the steps you may want to consider are to: (1) accelerate charitable contributions so that they are made in 2017 rather than 2018, (2) pay local real estate taxes in 2017 rather than when the bills are issued and mailed to you in 2018, and (3) make your fourth quarter estimated state tax payment before the end of 2017 rather than by its due date of January 15, 2018.  These suggestions are made since the plans proposed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives seem to be heading not only towards raising the standard deduction to a minimum of $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married filing jointly, but also decreasing federal income tax rates. Consequently, if implemented, this will result in some clients taking the standard deduction and no longer itemizing deductions, meaning they will not derive any tax savings from additional charitable contributions, nor from the payment of real estate taxes or estimated state taxes.

Additionally, the tax bills propose to limit the property tax deduction to $10,000. The House and Senate bills also propose that other state and local tax payments (i.e. payment of state income taxes and sales taxes) will no longer be permitted deductions.  Again, it is unknown what, if any, version of the bills will pass.  However, if the bill that ultimately passes is reflective of those currently proposed by the House and Senate, tax savings can be derived by accelerating charitable contributions and paying local real estate taxes and state estimated taxes prior to December 31, 2017.

Please note that individuals who are subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (“AMT”) will likely derive less of a benefit than those who are not subject to AMT from prepayment of local real estate taxes or the paying of their estimated state tax payments.  You can see if you were subject to AMT in 2016 by looking at line 45 of your 2016 Form 1040. If there is an amount on line 45, you were subject to AMT in 2016 and thus might also be subject to AMT in 2017.  However, if the proposed changes are in fact enacted, these deductions will be completely eliminated and no tax saving benefits will be derived by making the payments in 2018.  

If you wish to pay your local real estate taxes before December 31, 2017, county specific instructions on how to do so can be found below for residents of Cook, DuPage and Will Counties.  Please note that if your real estate taxes are currently being paid by your lender it is recommended that you confirm with your lender that they will not pay the tax bill a second time when it is issued if you have already prepaid the taxes.

For those who reside in Cook County, you must first request a First Installment prepayment bill, as your payment must be accompanied by a copy of your tax bill.  In order to obtain a copy of your tax bill you must send a written request that includes your mailing address and Property Index Number (PIN) by mail or email within the next week to the Cook County Treasurer.  Please note that even though you make this request you are not obligated to make your first installment payment in December.  From our perspective, there is no disadvantage to anyone making this request. 

First Installment prepayment requests must be submitted online at https://www.cookcountytreasurer.com/emailus.aspx?topicid=26 or in writing to:

Cook County Treasurer
Attention: Pre-payments
118 North Clark Street, Room 112
Chicago, IL 60602

Written requests must be mailed separately from any tax payment and must include your name, address, and Property Index Number (PIN). 

Please note that prepayments for the upcoming First Installment bill will only be accepted if the prior year's taxes have been paid in full.  Your First Installment is an estimated bill that equals 55% of the prior year's total tax.  You cannot prepay the Second Installment.  One prepayment check must be made payable for each PIN to Cook County Treasurer and include your name, address, PIN, phone number, the word “Prepayment” in the memo line, and email address on the face of the check.  Your prepayment check must be accompanied by the original tax bill payment coupon. 

Overpayments will be returned and individual checks submitted for multiple PINs will also be returned.  Prepayments must be postmarked by December 31, 2017 and sent to:

Cook County Treasurer
Attn: Pre-Payments
P.O. Box 805438
Chicago, IL 60680-4116

Prepayments may also be paid at any Chase Bank throughout Chicagoland, provided that you bring a copy of your First Installments prepayment bill with you upon the date of payment.  You may verify your payment status by selecting “Payment Status” on www.cookcountytreasurer.com.

If your prepayment is received by December 31st, the First Installment tax bill which will be mailed in late January will reflect the prepayment. However, if the prepayment is received after December 31st, the regularly mailed bill in January may not reflect the prepayment.  You may also prepay in person at the Cook County Treasurer’s Office.

More information relating to Cook County’s prepayment plan can be found here: https://www.cookcountytreasurer.com/prepayment.aspx.

For those who reside in DuPage County, unlike Cook County, there is no formal request that needs to be made.  Payment may be made for both installments in DuPage County. One prepayment check must be made payable for each Property Index Number (PIN) to DuPage County Treasurer and should include your name, address, PIN, phone number, the word “Prepayment” in the memo line.  You may also prepay in person at the DuPage County Treasurer’s Office.  Prepayments must be made by December 31, 2017 to the following address:

DuPage County Treasurer
421 N. County Farm Rd.
Wheaton, IL 60187

 More information relating to DuPage County’s prepayment plan can be found here: https://www.dupageco.org/Treasurer/1831/.

For those who reside in Will County, similar to DuPage County, there is no formal request that needs to be made.  Payment may be made for both installments in Will County.  One prepayment check must be made payable for each Property Index Number (PIN) to Will County Treasurer and should include your name, address, PIN, phone number, the word “Prepayment” in the memo line.  You may also prepay in person at the Will County Treasurer’s Office.  Prepayments must be made by December 31, 2017 to the following address:

Will County Collector
PO Box 5000
Joliet, IL 60434-5000

For more information relating to Will County’s prepayment plan, please call the Will County Treasurer’s office at (815) 740-4675.

For DuPage and Will County, we recommend that prepayments be made in any amount up to the prior year’s total tax bill.  Any property tax prepayments made will be reflected on the tax bill you receive in the mail and any overpayment that may have been made will be refunded to you.


If you have any questions or require any assistance with the information provided on this page, please feel free to email our office at taxes@donatellicoules.com.