Special COVID-19 1st Installment Payment Adjustments

Peoria County Treasurer Nicole Bjerke is adjusting the amount due for the first installment of real estate taxes in response to the hardships created from COVID-19. Her recommendation, that taxpayers may choose to split their first installment into two equal payments, was approved by the Peoria County Board on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

Fifty percent of the first installment is due on June 9, 2020. The second half of the first installment is due by August 10, 2020. As long as the deadlines are met, no late penalty will be assessed.

Second installment payments are still due in full by September 9, 2020 at this point in time.

“I understand that many of our residents have financial concerns and may have suffered a loss of income. I recognize some may need a little longer to pay this year, and I have also tried to balance that need with the needs of the taxing districts that my office distributes monies for,” says Treasurer Nicole Bjerke.

This one-time program, created specifically in response to COVID-19, is meant for those who are unemployed or underemployed. Those who can make the payment in full are asked to do so.

The Peoria County Treasurer’s Office collects and distributes property tax money for approximately 150 local taxing districts. This includes fire protection districts, townships, schools, local governments, libraries, and more.

“These organizations house many of our first responders, and we absolutely need to make sure they are able to continue to serve, make payroll, and maintain investments in the community,” Treasurer Bjerke explains. “These organizations count on a distribution of funds in June, and they have planned their budgets around this annual timeline. While their distribution may be smaller this year, it will still help to keep them financially stable.”

Those with mortgages that currently do not escrow their taxes through their mortgage payments, but may be struggling to pay at this time, should contact their bank/mortgage lender directly to inquire about what options are available to them for assistance.

I am unemployed, what kind of relief can I get for paying my real estate taxes?

The Peoria County Board passed a one-time ordinance allowing the first installment of the 2019 payable 2020 tax bill into 2 separate equal installments with the first 50% due by June 9th and the remaining 50% due by August 10th.  If these due dates are met, no penalty will be incurred.  The first payment must be at least 50% of the first installment per the ordinance.  While we recognize this may not be optimal for everyone, it was the best compromise allowable under state statute for both the taxpayers of Peoria County and the taxing districts that rely on property tax revenue.

Who can use this split payment option?

This payment option should be used by those who have been severely impacted by the coronavirus and are facing financial hardships because of unemployment, underemployment or closed businesses.  This option is available to residents and business owners. 

Those that are still working full time and not facing a financial hardship should pay the full first installment by the June 9th due date.  Those that usually pay both installments by the first installment due date are encouraged to continue that practice if possible.

How can I split my first installment coupon when there is only one coupon for the first installment?

Due to the timing of approving the split payment ordinance, there wasn’t enough time to prepare a programming change for the tax bill.  You will use the first installment coupon with your initial 50% payment.  Once your payment has been received, the Treasurer’s office will send out a 2nd bill reflecting the balance left to pay on the first installment coupon.  The new first installment coupon can be used to pay the 2nd 50% of the first installment by August 10th.

If your payment is not exactly divisible by 2, please round up to the nearest penny.  For example, the first installment is $439.81 so the first payment should be $219.91, and the remaining payment will be $219.90.  The first payment amount must be at least 50% to be accepted. Payments less than 50% will not be applied toward the tax amount until the full 50% is received plus any penalties that may be incurred if paid after the June 9th deadline.

What is the least amount I can pay by June 9th?

The least amount that must be paid by June 9th to avoid a penalty is 50% of the first installment amount.  If you have questions regarding the amount, please contact the Treasurer’s office at 309/672-6065 option #5.

Where or how can I pay my taxes with facilities such as the Courthouse or City Hall closed to the public?

You can always pay by mail.  The envelope must be postmarked by June 9th to get proper credit whether paying the full installment or the 50% installment.  The second 50% must be postmarked by the August 10th due date.  If you pay the first full installment by the August 10th due date, a penalty on the first 50% will be assessed.  Payments can be mailed to the following address:

Peoria County Collector
PO Box 1925
Peoria, IL 61656-1925

Or the Township collector address listed on the front of the tax bill

You can pay a full installment or both installments by credit card or electronic check through the County’s website.  This payment method is not available for the 50% payment option due to the inability to make programming changes in time.

You can pay at most Peoria County banks through their drive-through lanes.  Please plan accordingly as there will most likely be long lines, especially around the due date if the lobbies are not yet open. Please bring your tax bill with you to make the payment process easier and quicker for the banks and yourself.

The Courthouse has a drop box available for payments in the back of the building closest to the Hamilton Street side by the turnstile.  Please label your envelope as a “Real Estate Tax Payment” and/or “Attn: Treasurer’s Office,” as another office is also using that drop box.

Your township collectors listed on the front of your tax bill are also accepting payments.  Look for their ads in local newspapers listing their available hours and locations.  They will also accept mail at the address listed on the front of the tax bill.

City Hall which is also closed until further notice has a drop box for real estate tax payments.  Payments can be mailed to the address listed on the front of your tax bill.

If I am late, what will my penalty be?

If you make a payment after the June 9th deadline, a penalty of 1.5% will be assessed on the 50% that was due by June 9th.  The penalty increases by 1.5% per month (or any portion of the month).  If you make your first payment after the August 10th deadline, the penalty is retroactive back to the June 9th deadline and the full installment is due.  After the August 10th date, there is no splitting of the first installment anymore.

Why wasn’t the tax bill delayed for 30-60 days?

After reaching out to the taxing districts to determine what impact a delay with tax revenue would cause them, it became very clear that the majority would experience a major negative impact.  The taxing districts provide essential services to the citizens of Peoria County such as first responders (firefighters, police officers, and Sheriff deputies), school districts that are still teaching students, road repair, and other services.  The split payment offered the best compromise for both the taxpayers and the taxing districts.

When is the 2nd installment due?

The 2nd installment is due September 9th.

When is the last day to pay prior to the annual tax sale?

The last day to pay is November 6th by 5:00 p.m.  The tax sale is November 9th and no payments will be accepted on that day.

If I have other questions, who should I contact?

For questions regarding the split payment option, how or where to make payments, or other tax payment related questions, please contact the Treasurer’s office at 309/672-6065 option #5, or you can e-mail at treasurer@peoriacounty.org.