What Is the Home Improvement Exemption?

The Home Improvement Exemption allows a homeowner to add improvements to their home that add to its value (for example, by increasing the building’s square footage, or repairing after structural flood damage) without being taxed on up to $75,000 of the added value for up to four years. 

Who qualifies for a Home Improvement Exemption?

The home must meet the following conditions:
•    Be occupied by the owner as their primary place of residence
•    Be a class 2 residence

How does a Home Improvement Exemption work?

No application is required. When the Cook County Assessor’s Office receives building permits, our staff conduct a field check of the improvement. After this is complete, if this property is deemed eligible for the exemption, we send a notice to the property owner and apply the exemption.

What if there is damage to my home?

The Home Improvement Exemption can also be used for repair necessitated by structural damage as a result of severe weather conditions, such as flooding.

What is not covered by a Home Improvement Exemption?

The exemption is not granted for loss of personal property, normal weather damage, or routine maintenance. Routine maintenance includes repairs to or replacement of parts that would not increase the value of your property. The following are examples of normal upkeep:

  • Repair or replace roofing materials, sidewalks, driveways, or fencing
  • Insulate and/or add storm windows and doors
  • Add or replace gutters and downspouts
  • Place siding over existing frame structure
  • Add or improve trees, lawns, and landscaping
  • Paint, decorate, plaster, or change exterior ornamentations
  • Replace furnace, or replace old heating systems with solar heating
  • Replace kitchen cabinets, flooring, fixtures
  • Replace or add water softener, or add larger hot water heater
  • Add outdoor lighting, burglar or fire alarms
  • Replace electrical systems or plumbing fixtures
  • Install above-ground swimming pool or outdoor playground facilities
  • Add automatic garage door opener
  • Add aluminum soffit and facia

Who can I call to find out if I qualify for a Home Improvement Exemption?

To learn whether you may qualify for the Home Improvement Exemption, call the Cook County Assessor's Office at 312/443-7550.

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