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Are Property Tax Exemptions on the Way for Injured First Responders in Illinois?

By Gary Smith
Are Property Tax Exemptions on the Way for Injured First Responders in Illinois?

The Illinois House is considering a Senate bill that would provide a homestead exemption for first responders who suffer major injuries on duty.

What Senate Bill 15-72 Provides

This new bill, Senate Bill 15-72 would create a $5,000 homestead exemption for police officers and firefighters who suffer major injuries while on duty. In addition, it provides that if the first responder dies of those injuries, that exemption can be kept by the spouse as long as the spouse holds the legal or beneficial title to the property, permanently lives there, and does not remarry.

Under the Illinois bill, the qualifying police officer or firefighter will need to submit proof of the qualifying injury and reapply on an annual basis. The county assessor will determine the eligibility requirements are met.

Chicago City Council passed a similar ordinance in 2019 that was only applied to the Chicago portion of the property tax bill and allowed for that portion of the tax to be waived if the first responder, including police officers, paramedics, firefighters, active soldiers, and other first responders, passed away from his or her injuries, provided the spouse remained unmarried and remained in the same house.

Other Property Exemptions

Homeowners should ensure they’re receiving all of the property exemptions available to them, including the returning veterans’ exemption, for veterans returning from armed conflict, which provides a $5,000 reduction in the home’s assessed value, or the disabled veterans’ exemption, which provides up to $100,000 of the home’s value to be exempt if the home’s structure has been changed to accommodate a disability for a disabled veteran.

There are other property exemptions that non-veteran homeowners might qualify for, including the homeowner’s exemption, which is calculated by multiplying the Homeowner Exemption savings amount of $10,000 by the local tax rate, which is determined by the Cook County Clerk. To qualify for this, the homeowner must have lived at the property at the start of the previous year (for which they’re paying property taxes) and occupy the property as their principal place of residence.

Residents who are 65 years and older can qualify for the senior citizen exemption, which can lower the assessed rate value by $8,000. In addition, they’re eligible to apply for an assessment freeze, which would limit the amount of future assessment increases.

All exemptions on a property are taken from the second installment of the property tax bill.