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Exemptions still available to qualified homeowners

Thursday, October 09, 2008
Pioneer Press
by KAREN BERKOWITZ

Are you kicking yourself now because you failed to swing into action back in June when that long-term-occupant tax-break form arrived in the mail?

It's not too late to file for the new exemption or any others. Applications are available at www.cookcountyassessor.com.

"If taxpayers did not receive the long-time-occupant exemption, the disabled exemption or any of the new exemptions and were eligible, they could file a certificate of error and receive an adjusted tax bill right now, time permitting," said Maura Kownacki, a spokeswoman in the Assessor's Office.

"If time does not permit for them to receive an adjusted bill, they can pay their current bill (by the Nov. 3 due date) and receive a refund based on the reduction," Kownacki said.

The long-term-occupant exemption is a two-tiered break available to homeowners who've lived in their homes for 10 or more years and whose household income is less than $75,000 or $100,000.

The measure is much like the so-called "7 percent homestead exemption" that is available to all homeowners -- except that there is no ceiling on the size of the exemption.

Both versions are intended to limit the annual increase in a home's taxable value -- not the tax bill itself -- through an expanded homeowner exemption.

Longtime homeowners with household incomes of $75,000 or less are limited to a 7 percent annual increase, while those with incomes between $75,001 and $100,000 are capped at 10 percent.

The legislature also enacted new exemptions for disabled people, returning veterans and disabled veterans.



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