Gary H. Smith
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Make Sure You’re Getting Your Cook County Property Tax Breaks

By Gary Smith
Make Sure You’re Getting Your Cook County Property Tax Breaks

Cook County homeowners often miss some of the property tax breaks for which their properties qualify and end up paying more money than they need on their property taxes.

Property Tax Exemptions Can Help

In addition to appealing the appraised value of a commercial or residential property, there are a variety of exemptions that property owners might qualify for, that would also lower the tax bill.

In fact, the Illinois Property tax code outlines a variety of exemptions. Those include:

  • Primary residence: This exemption can reduce the assessed value by up to $10,000 for a primary residence. This depends on local tax rates and income level.
  • Senior citizens: Homeowners who are 65 and older can lower the assessed rate value by $8,000 in Cook County. They can also apply for an assessment freeze that limits the amount of future assessment increases.
  • Disabled persons: This annual $2,000 reduction in assessed value is available to persons with a disability who are liable for property taxes on a primary residence.
  • Home improvements: Homeowners who make improvements that increase the home’s value, up to $75,000 of that increased value will be exempt from Illinois property tax.

There are a few exemptions available to veterans, including:

  • Disabled veterans: If a home’s structure has been changed to accommodate a disability for a disabled veteran, up to $100,000 of the home’s value may be exempt. There are several alternative tax exemptions depending on the level of disability.
  • Returning veterans: Veterans returning from armed conflict are eligible for a $5,000 reduction in the home’s assessed value, in addition to any other homestead exemption for which the homeowner qualifies.

There are also exemptions for homes that have been rebuilt after a natural disaster.

For commercial properties, there are special assessments that are offered as an incentive for development. For instance, there is a Class 6b incentive that applies when the property is used for mainly “industrial purposes” and there is either new construction, substantial rehabbing or substantial re-occupancy of a formerly abandoned property.

Industrial real estate in Cook County is usually assessed at 25 percent of market value. The 6b classification would lower that assessment to 10 percent of market value in the first 10 years, 15 percent in year 11 and 20 percent in year 12.

To take advantage of this incentive, the application must be filed with the Cook County Assessor’s office before any work has taken place.