Cook County Treasurer's Office - 9/8/2000
Follow these six guidelines to be certain that your escrow account performs as it should. Make sure that your mortgage company has your correct Permanent (real estate) Index Number (or PIN) and is making a payment on time and for the right amount. This verification is important in avoiding an unintentional tax delinquency. Note that the key to tracking escrow activity is having all of your property-tax bills sent to you. The more informed you are, the better equipped you will be to keep your tax liability as low as possible.
- Know your Permanent (real estate) Index Number (or PIN). Each parcel of real estate has a legal description, which is assigned a unique, 14-digit PIN. The PIN should appear on your deed or real estate closing documents. Another source for your PIN may be an attorney who handles your real-estate matters. You also need to know if you own multiple PINs (for adjacent lots or parking-garage slots), because each PIN has a separate tax bill. Have your PIN (or PINs) handy when making inquiries with the Treasurers Office and your mortgage company.
- Make sure that you receive the real estate tax bills for the PIN (or PINs) that you own. Receiving the tax bills for your property is important for:
If you do not receive your tax bills, visit one of the County Treasurers offices and complete a form to update the name and address for your PIN. You also may call the Treasurers Office at (312) 443-5100 to request a form by mail. For your protection, you must show identification when submitting this form in person. When submitting this form by mail, it must be notarized.
- knowing your tax liability;
- receiving notice of any delinquency;
- receiving exemption notices;
- and verifying that you receive credit for every available exemption.
- Keep your mortgage company account number with your tax records. Update your files if you re-finance or if your mortgage is sold.
- Before every property tax installment due date, call your mortgage company. Ask how much tax was paid. Ask when it was paid. Verify which PIN (or PINs) the mortgage company used to pay. This is critical especially after you refinance or after your mortgage is sold to a new lender. If the mortgage company accidentally pays on the wrong PIN, your own taxes will be delinquent.
- Make sure your mortgage company is paying any special tax bill you receive. If you receive an additional bill for arrearage or back taxes, call your mortgage company to determine how this tax is going to be paid. Be certain to point out that this special tax bill is separate from your general real-estate tax bill.
- If you receive a delinquency notice and believe it is in error, never ignore it. Call the Cook County Treasurers Office at (312) 443-5100, and contact your mortgage company immediately.