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Over 65 or a Disabled Military Veteran? Your Property Tax Bill Could Be $0

By Gary Smith
11/22/2021
Over 65 or a Disabled Military Veteran? Your Property Tax Bill Could Be $0

In Illinois, disabled veterans can get property tax breaks, sometimes paying no property taxes, based on their disability status, not their income status.

How Disabled Veterans Receive Exemptions

In the past few months, the property tax exemptions available to property owners in Cook County have come under fire as allowing too many people to be eligible for property tax breaks, which increases the burden on those who do not qualify for tax breaks.

In particular, the disabled veteran exemption has been called out as unfair because depending on the Veterans With Disability certification by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a property owner might not pay any property taxes.

The Veterans with Disability exemption allows residents to reduce their property taxes up to $250,000 of the equalized assessed value if they:

  • Served as a member of the armed forces on active duty or as a member of the Illinois National Guard or reserve forces, and they were honorably discharged
  • Have at least a 30% service-connected disability certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Occupy the residence as a primary residence

The percentage of disability with the exemption amount (or EAV reduction) is:

  • 30-49% is $2,500
  • 50-69% is $5,000
  • 70% and greater is $250,000

This means if a property owner is certified at 70%, they may not be paying any property taxes.

In other states, personal income is part of the equation that determines exemptions.

Other Exemptions

There are many other exemptions besides the Veterans With Disability exemption. These include the homeowner exemption for those who live on the property as a primary residence. Also, a senior tax exemption for those 65 and older Residential property owners also have access to a home improvement exemption, which allows homeowners to add improvements to their home that add to its value without getting taxed on up to $75,000 of the added value for up to four years.

For property owners who do not qualify for any exemptions, the best way to make sure they’re paying the correct amount of property taxes is to appeal the assessment on which the property taxes are based. Appeals can be made every year, but property owners need to consult the Cook County Assessor’s calendar, as each town is provided a window of time in which to appeal.