It’s been three months since McHenry County homeowners stormed Glenda Miller’s office to pay property taxes early.
The McHenry County treasurer finally has reached the bottom line: $37,000,028,677.81.
The tally exceeded Miller’s estimate of $20 million from the last two weeks of December, when McHenry County residents stood in line for hours in the cold to pay their tax bills early.
The mad dash to the treasurer’s office was in response to a provision in a federal tax overhaul bill called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – a law that will cap homeowners’ property tax deductions at $10,000 for 2018.
Although the treasurer had given property owners the option of paying their taxes early for years, very few McHenry County residents paid early in past years.
“It was a fluke,” Miller said. “Typically, you don’t see tax payments in December.”
Property taxes for 2017 are due in two installments this year – one in June and the other in September.
In 2014, there were 40 early payments totaling $363,000.
In 2015, that number jumped to 65, bringing $824,300 to the treasurer’s office.
In 2016, it was 54 payments of $650,979.
In 2017: 4,352 payments.
Miller welcomed McHenry County residents to prepay property taxes for up to two years to get the maximum, uncapped deduction, but an IRS advisory warned that filers could avoid the cap only by paying property taxes already assessed in 2017.
The treasurer put together a separate folder filled with checks written to pay for 2018 taxes so she could send them back.
Miller returned a total of $1 million to residents who tried to pay for 2018 taxes.
The amount of prepaid taxes submitted in 2017 revealed a hurdle that forced the treasurer to find a new bank to hold the funds.
“The advanced tax payment account we had for years was at a local bank,” she said. “That bank wasn’t able to collateralize to cover the money.”