The Illinois Legislature recently amended the Illinois Property Tax Code to allow counties with 3,000,000 or more inhabitants (i.e. Cook County) to increase the amount due for the 2009 first installment property taxes, payable in 2010. As a result, in January 2010, Cook County property owners will receive 2009 first installment tax bills based upon 55 percent (formerly 50 percent) of the total of each property tax bill for the preceding year. Section 21-30 of the Property Tax Code now states, in relevant part, as follows:

Sec. 21-30. Accelerated billing. Except as provided in this Section, Section 9-260, and Section 21-40, in counties with 3,000,000 or more inhabitants, by January 31 annually, estimated tax bills setting out the first installment of property taxes for the preceding year, payable in that year, shall be prepared and mailed. The first installment of taxes on the estimated tax bills shall be computed at (i) 50% of the total of each tax bill for the preceding year for taxes payable on or before December 31, 2009, and (ii) 55% of the total of each tax bill for the preceding year beginning with the first installment payable in 2010. If, prior to the preparation of the estimated tax bills, a certificate of error has been either approved by a court on or before November 30 of the preceding year or certified pursuant to Section 14-15 on or before November 30 of the preceding year, then the first installment of taxes on the estimated tax bills shall be computed at (i) 50% of the total taxes for the preceding year as corrected by the certificate of error for taxes payable on or before December 31, 2009, and (ii) 55% of the total taxes for the preceding year, as corrected by the certificate of error, beginning with the first installment payable in 2010.

The change was made to help taxing districts with cash flow by reducing their reliance on the second installment tax, which is now collected closer to the end of each year.