Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  
 

Accountability
Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine

 

   
 
   
   
 
   
     
  Office phone numbers:  
   
 
 

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

   
 

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

   
  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.
   
     
     
     



Some seniors to receive lower Cook County tax bills

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Chicago Tribune
by John P. Huston

Nearly 7,000 seniors will get adjusted property tax bills this week because the Cook County assessor's office failed to give them an exemption they were due, mistakenly billing them hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars more than they owed.

The assessor's office said its computer system did not flag the mistake before the wrong bills were mailed. Township assessors say it is also because of a confusing and complex tax system — one made even more baffling because of declines in property values in recent years.

Exemptions and programs such as the "senior freeze" were designed to protect qualifying homeowners from rapidly rising tax bills as property values increased — which hasn't been happening during the real estate slump of recent years.

The program will not benefit recent applicants whose homes have declined in assessed value since applying for the freeze, said Niles Township Assessor Scott Bagnall. That's because there is no increased value to protect them from, he said.

But local governments still need to collect the same amount of taxes — or more. So the tax rate is adjusted, which can result in higher taxes for property owners, despite the declining market value of their homes, Bagnall explained.

Many seniors still could qualify for a significantly lower tax bill through the "longtime occupant" exemption, aimed at those who have lived in their home for more than 10 years and have a household income of less than $100,000 per year.

The assessor's office runs a calculation to make sure seniors are receiving the largest possible reduction on their bill, even if they didn't apply for the longtime occupant exemption, said spokeswoman Kelley Quinn.

This year, after the tax bills hit homeowners' mailboxes, the assessor's office discovered that 6,749 seniors who qualified were not given the longtime occupancy exemption and that their tax bills would be decreased by it, Quinn said.

"There was a small systems issue that didn't put it on the tax bill," Quinn said.

She could not quantify the difference between the original bills and the correct bills. But she has seen several revised tax bills that will result in payments that are $200 to $600 less than the bills that were originally sent out.

Nick Pavletic, Evanston Township deputy assessor, said it could be a difference of thousands of dollars for some property owners, depending on their circumstances. He calculated that one local woman was overtaxed by $1,933.46.

The 84-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified, said she was shocked by the bill she received in late June.

"I immediately kind of freaked out," she said.

Pavletic said there are many seniors who probably didn't realize a mistake had been made with their bill.

One of those is Bonnie Wilson, the Evanston Township assessor. She received a letter dated Thursday from the county assessor's office saying the longtime occupant exemption would save her the most money. It instructed her to ignore her original bill.

She is now urging seniors to "wait a few weeks before they pay their tax bill because they're not due until Aug. 1."

Those who have already paid will be reimbursed for the difference, Quinn said.

Ali ElSaffar, Oak Park Township assessor and president of the Cook County Township Assessors' Association, applauded the county for being proactive in addressing the issue.

"Every year there's something," ElSaffar said. "We have made our tax system so complicated that it's so easy to make mistakes. One thing we do every year is correct mistakes because it happens."



Recent Headlines

Judge: Labor unions don't owe non-union state workers refunds, despite unconstitutional fees
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Cook County record

Recovery Behind Bars: Cook County Jail’s Opioid Treatment Program
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Medill Reports

The language of justice: Court interpreters fight for client rights and their rights in Cook County
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Medill Reports

Cook County General Hospital's $90-Million Redevelopment Saves a Chicago Icon
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Engineering News Rec ord

Preckwinkle sends out harassment survey to staff after harassment controversy in her office
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Illinois Land Title Association Granted Summary Judgment in Case against Cook County Recorder of Deeds
Sunday, March 17, 2019
Illinois State Bar Association

Grand Jury Indicts Debt Collector of Bribing Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown
Friday, March 15, 2019
WBBM Chicago

Indictment: Cook County's hired debt collector charged with bribing county officials to secure county contract
Friday, March 15, 2019
Cook County record

Karen Chavers Honored as 2019 Unsung Heroine
Thursday, March 14, 2019
Special to suffredin.org

Pappas to announce deadline for Cook County property owners to pay late taxes
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Courts Cause Confusion For Woman Trying To Resolve Her Case
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
CBS Chicago

Census changes raise fears of Illinois undercounting
Monday, March 11, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County Sheriff Warns of Apple Phone Scam
Monday, March 11, 2019
WTTW News

Caller poses as Apple to get victims personal info in scam targeting Cook County residents
Monday, March 11, 2019
WGN Chicago

Should Young Adults Be Sent To Juvenile Courts?
Sunday, March 10, 2019
NPR Radio

Cook County Jail hires 2nd consecutive mental health professional as warden
Wednesday, March 06, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Lawsuit: Sheriff jailed dozens because of faulty electronic monitoring devices
Monday, March 04, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Woman dies while in custody at Cook County Jail
Sunday, March 03, 2019
Fox 32

City considers landmarking old Cook County Hospital
Friday, March 01, 2019
Gazette Chicago

Judge: State constitution doesn't force Cook County to spend $250M more on roads, transport projects
Thursday, February 28, 2019
Cook County Rrecord

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.
^ TOP