People in Cook County may be eligible for property tax exemptions that could substantially reduce their tax bills. Individual’s exemptions are based on the characteristics of the property owners, including homeowners, senior citizens, certain veterans, disabled people, long-term occupants or people who have completed home improvements. (Property exemptions for commercial properties, industrial properties and/or apartment building properties- Incentive Classes 6, 7, 8 and 9- will be covered in a separate blog posting). Property owners should review their second installment tax bills and if exemptions are not listed, it may be time to file a Cook County property tax appeal.
People who own their homes or have a lease or contract that makes them responsible for the real estate taxes on their principal residence in Cook County may qualify for the Homeowner Exemption. The Homeowner Exemption, which was recently increased, can reduce the equalized assessed value of a home by $10,000.
Senior Citizens and Senior Freeze Exemptions
Homeowners who turn 65 during the year can claim the Senior Citizen Exemption, reducing their EAV by $8,000. Seniors who qualify for this exemption also qualify for the Homeowner Exemption resulting in combined exemptions of $18,000. Seniors with household incomes of $65,000 or less may qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption, which locks-in the home’s assessed value.
Returning and Disabled Veterans Exemptions
Veterans returning from active duty in armed conflict during the tax year may claim the Returning Veterans Exemption, reducing their EAV by $5,000. Additionally, disabled veterans who have been honorably discharged, have a 30 percent service-connected disability and live in a home with an EAV of no more than $250,000 can claim the Disabled Veteran Exemption. Veterans with disability ratings of 70 percent or more receive a 100 percent reduction.
Disabled Person Exemption
The Disabled Person Exemption reduces the EAV by $2,000. This exemption is reserved for people who are unable to engage in a substantial gainful activity and who have a disabling condition that is expected to last at least 12 months.
Long-time Occupant Exemption
People who have lived in their homes for at least 10 years as of Jan. 1 of the tax year are eligible for the long-time occupant exemption if they earn less than $100,000. They must also be facing an assessment that is increased beyond the limits provided in the tax code.
Home Improvement Exemption
Improvements of up to $75,000 are not included in taxable values for four or more years.