Illinois Legislators Approve Automatic Renewal of Exemptions Due to COVID-19

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Seniors, disabled veterans, and people with disabilities will no longer have to apply annually to receive the benefit of property tax exemptions for which they are eligible, under a statewide law passed recently to expand relief for hard-hit homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, who pushed for the law, announced the bill’s passage in a press release on June 11.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put tremendous pressure on Cook County homeowners,” said Kaegi. “We’re pleased to work with the legislature, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, and the County Board to help at-risk homeowners when they need it most.”

The Latest Auto-Renewals for Cook County’s At-Risk Homeowners

The law, which will go into effect for the 2021 tax year, automatically renews exemptions for homeowners who have previously qualified under one of three categories: persons with disabilities, veterans with disabilities, and seniors, including those eligible for the income-based senior freeze. Cook County seniors eligible for the standard senior homestead exemption were already entitled to auto-renewal under a law that took effect this year.

“By allowing these exemptions to automatically renew, we’re creating instant financial relief for homeowners directly affected by COVID-19,” Sen. Iris Y. Martinez, D-Chicago, said. “The selected exemptions are vital for Cook County homeowners most susceptible to the economic devastation associated with this health crisis.”

Automatic renewals will only apply to homeowners who received exemptions in 2020. Homeowners will still need to apply for the upcoming 2021 tax year if they:

  1. Did not apply or were not eligible for the exemption in the 2020 tax year
  2. Have a new or worsening disability and therefore may receive a larger exemption

The law also includes a provision to allow smaller counties to delay penalties for late tax payments and to defer tax sales – steps that the Cook County Board had already passed.

Are You Eligible?

Last year, the legislature approved a bill creating automatic renewal of the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption in Cook County. The new law adds the Senior Freeze Exemption to the list of senior exemptions that no longer require annual renewal. The Senior Freeze, which insulates eligible seniors from increases in their assessed property value, requires proof of income and applies to seniors with household incomes of less than $65,000.

Homeowners eligible for a disability exemption receive an annual reduction of $2,000 in the equalized assessed value of their primary residence. To qualify initially, applicants must provide Form PTAX-343 and proof of disability. For veterans with disabilities, homeowners must own or lease a single-family residence and be liable for payment of property taxes to be eligible.

For more information on eligibility, read through the full list of homestead exemptions for Illinois homeowners.

Ensure That Your Property Taxes Are Fair

Exemptions are an important tool for lowering your tax bill, but without a proper review of your assessed property value, you could still be overpaying.

At Kensington, we research and assist with appeals of your assessed value using a proprietary algorithm and up-to-date data from the appraiser’s office to help ensure that our clients are not paying more than they should be.

The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected the livelihood and employment of many Cook County residents, it has also impacted property values. Our analysis of your tax bill will also include a review to ensure that you are receiving the benefit of every exemption to which you are entitled.

If you are concerned about overpaying on your taxes, reach out to our team for a free, no-obligation analysis of your tax bill. With decades of experience in providing property tax relief, we not only have a strong track record for successful appeals, we are passionate about helping Cook County residents protect the value of their investment. For most of us, a home is the most important investment we will ever make.

Contact us through the link below to learn more.

Get Your Free Property Tax Reduction Estimate

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