CHICAGO – August 1, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a bill into law to reform property assessments for millions of Illinois homeowners and provide property tax relief for Cook County residents.
Senate Bill 3638 extends the “7 percent solution” property tax cap in Cook County and creates Taxpayer Action Boards (TABs) to provide oversight of the way property is assessed in seven counties. (APPLY HERE) It also expands a returning Veterans’ exemption and makes it easier for Veterans with disabilities to qualify for property tax relief.
“Cook County homeowners need property tax relief during these tough economic times,” said Governor Quinn. “This new law provides that relief and creates Taxpayer Action Boards to ensure that regular people evaluate our property tax systems and make the process more transparent. This new law will also help Illinois’ Veterans stay in their homes.”
The new law extends the Cook County Alternative General Homestead exemption, also known as the “7 percent solution,” by three years, reducing the exemption from $20,000 in the first additional year, to $16,000 in the second and $12,000 in the final year.
Under the new law, Governor Quinn will name seven people to TABs in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties. Each board will oversee the implementation of a new law (Public Act 96-122) that requires county assessors to provide property owners with a clear, easy-to-understand explanation of how tax assessments are determined. Each TAB will also conduct a study that evaluates how its county assesses residential property and examine the accuracy of computer-assisted mass appraisal.
Veterans will be better able to purchase and keep their homes under the new law. It expands a current one-year $5,000 exemption to two years for Veterans who return from armed conflict, starting with 2010 property tax bills. It also makes it easier for disabled Veterans to qualify for tax relief by reducing the disability percentage threshold from 75 percent to 70 percent. If a Veteran is partially disabled, they can now qualify for a partial exemption, based on the level of disability.
The new law also ensures property tax exemptions are only being used by people who qualify for them, by requiring annual reporting for both the Senior Property Tax exemption and Disabled Veterans’ exemption.
Senate Bill 3638 was sponsored by Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago). The new law goes into effect immediately.
Governor Quinn also highlighted Senate Bill 3446, which he signed earlier this week to extend the deadline for homeowners to pay the first installment of their 2010 property taxes by one month to April 1, 2011. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kevin Joyce (D-Chicago).