Delinquent Taxes

If the real estate (property) taxes on a parcel are not paid, they become delinquent. All payments made on delinquent taxes for a parcel must be paid in full at one time. No partial payments are accepted. Payments should be made payable to the Rock Island County Clerk. See the "Costs" section for acceptable payment methods.

The Process

Real Estate (Property) Taxes Due

Rock Island County Real Estate Taxes are initially billed by the Treasurer's Office and can be paid in four installments. Installment due dates are set by the Treasurer's Office.

As each installment due date passes, interest is added if the installment was not paid on time until the installment is paid.

If any of the installments remain unpaid after the last installment due date, they become part of the annual tax sale.

The Tax Sale

The annual tax sale-legally mandated and governed by state law-is part of the Illinois property tax system. In Illinois, the property tax is the single largest source of local taxes. Selling taxes helps the various taxing bodies (schools, villages, parks, townships, libraries, public health and safety agencies, etc.) meet their financial commitments. For property owners, the financial consequence of having property taxes sold generally exceeds the cost of paying the tax. If a property owner's taxes are sold, fees and costs rise substantially. The combination of the high cost of redemption and the potential of losing property is the enforcement mechanism that Illinois employs - and that other states employ with similar methods. If taxes are sold, the taxing agencies receive the full amount of taxes due from the successful tax buyer, plus county penalties and a number of county fees that have been established by state law for meeting the costs of conducting tax sales. The delinquent tax portion of the money is distributed to local taxing bodies and is available for their budgetary needs. When taxpayers eventually redeem taxes, their funds reimburse the tax buyers. If the taxpayer fails to redeem, the certificate of tax purchase may be used to seek a tax deed or can be sold to another party who may pursue a tax deed.

The County Treasurer conducts a sale of unpaid taxes every year for the property in delinquency. There are a number of required steps leading up to the tax sale:

  1. The Treasurer publishes the delinquency lists in various newspapers.
  2. The published notice provides information as to when the Treasurer will apply to the Circuit Court for judgment to begin a tax sale. The published notice also contains the date, time and place the Treasurer plans to hold the sale.
  3. The Treasurer makes application to the Circuit Court for judgment and order of sale.
  4. The Court rules on any objections, and then orders the sale to commence on the date previously published, or within five business days of that date.


At the time of publication, a $10 fee is added to the property taxes owing and any interest incurred up to that point. The following costs are added at the time of the tax sale:

  • $94 - Miscellaneous Fees
  • $160 - For canceling tax sale and issuing and sealing certificates of redemption as per 55 ILCS 5/4-4001
  • Additional interest from 18% down to 0% is added (depending on the tax buyer that wins the bid with the lowest rate of interest)
  • Any additional fees due to changes in County ordinances, state law or court rulings

Interest is also added periodically, which increases the cost to the taxpayer when redeeming their delinquent taxes.

Once the tax sale is complete, the County Clerk is responsible for receiving payments for delinquent taxes. All payments made on delinquent taxes for a parcel, must be paid in full at one time. No partial payments are accepted. Payments should be made payable to the Rock Island County Clerk by one of the following methods:

  • Cash
  • Cashier's Check
  • Certified Check
  • Money Order

Important Information for the Taxpayer

Once taxes have been sold, any new taxes on the property can be paid (picked up) by the taxbuyer, if the taxbuyer is petitioning for deed, even though no due dates have arrived.

Property Owners do not immediately lose ownership of the property due to a tax sale, the owner(s) have from two and one-half (2 1/2) to three years during which to redeem their property taxes. This time frame is set by the tax buyer.

The delinquent tax structure, rules and regulations can become very complicated, so if you would like more information regarding delinquent taxes, please contact the Delinquent Tax Division of the County Clerk's Office at 309-558-3562.