A bill that would increase Homeowner Exemption and Senior Citizen and Senior Freeze Exemption tax relief measures is nearing the finish line to get Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature.
The measure, SB473, started in the Illinois Senate with co-sponsor Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields). It passed 54-0 on May 4 and was sent to the Illinois House.
The bill’s co-sponsors in the Illinois House of Representatives include Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood), Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights) and Rep. Al Riley (D-Hazel Crest). The measure passed in the House on May 25 by a vote of 87-24.
The bills returned to the Senate for concurrence on House changes.
The measures were initiated by Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios to help homeowners save more money on their property taxes. The assessor’s office is confident the bill will be approved before the May 31 legislative deadline, according to Tom Shaer, deputy assessor for communications.
The Cook County Assessor’s Office administers numerous exemptions that are deducted from a home’s equalized assessed value (EAV), resulting in deductions from the dollar amount of a tax bill.
The Homeowner Exemption, an exemption available to eligible taxpayers/residents on their primary home, would increase from $7,000 to $10,000 in EAV.
The Senior Exemption, an exemption for taxpayers/residents 65 years or older, would increase from $5,000 to $8,000 in EAV.
It is important to note that the exemption amount is not the dollar amount by which a tax bill is lowered. The EAV is the partial value of a property to which tax rates are applied. It is this figure on which a tax bill is calculated.
In addition, the Senior Freeze Exemption for low income seniors would expand eligibility by increasing the limit of the total household income to $65,000, from the previous limit of $55,000. There would also be a new minimum $2,000 exemption deduction for the Senior Freeze, which would help offset increases in assessed value each year.
“Seniors often live on fixed incomes and face financial troubles when their property taxes rise,” Berrios said. “To relieve this financial strain, I have proposed to increase the income limit for the Senior Freeze Exemption to more accurately reflect the cost of living and to also provide a minimum savings for the exemption.”
All exemptions and corresponding savings appear on each year’s Second Installment Tax Bills. For additional information regarding exemptions, please contact the Cook County Assessor’s Office at 312-443-7550 or visit the assessor’s web site at www.cookcountyassessor.com.