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Seniors now able to apply for multi-year homeowners property tax break this year

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Chicago Sun-Times
by Neal Earley

Senior citizens who own their own homes in Cook County can now immediately apply for a multi-year tax exemption — allowing them to more quickly avoid the task of having to apply for the tax break every year.

On Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law that will speed up the process for seniors to receive the break on their property taxes.

The law allows people ages 65 and older who own their own residences in Cook County to apply for the homestead tax exemption without needing to reapply every year. While Pritzker signed a similar bill into law in August clearing the way for the multi-year exemption, that law would have taken effect next year. Tuesday’s bill signing moves up the date to this year’s tax filings.

It expires in four years, meaning seniors will again need to apply every year after 2023, unless the General Assembly passes an extension.

“This legislation hits at the heart of one of the most essential tenets of my administration, streamlining the bureaucratic hurdles that prevent too many of our residents, especially our seniors, from accessing the benefits that they deserve,” Pritzker said at a bill-signing ceremony at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.

The Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption allows seniors to apply for a property tax break up to $8,000 per year in Cook County, according to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

Previously, seniors in Cook County would need to apply for the tax break every year, but now they can apply for their multi-year homestead tax exemption for their 2019 property taxes. They will then receive the break for four years without having to reapply. So eligible seniors will need to apply for the exemption again after 2023.

Up to 26,500 seniors could apply for the tax exemption worth $45 million, according to Cook County Treasurer’s Office

The new law only applies to seniors who own property in Cook County and occupy it as a residence. Senior homeowners in other Illinois counties already do not need to reapply every year to take advantage of the tax break.

“This legislation will reduce bureaucratic hurdles and red tape that seniors face, ensuring they receive much-needed relief without having to reapply every year,” said state Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates), the bill’s lead sponsor.

The bill passed both chambers of the Generally Assembly unanimously and takes effect immediately.

 



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