Assessor Fritz Kaegi Pledges Swift Implementation for Automatic Renewals of Senior Citizen Homestead Exemptions

Monday, June 3, 2019

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Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi today announced swift implementation of HB 833, a bill that requires the automatic renewal of the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption.

Unanimously passing through both the Illinois House and Senate last week, HB 833 will amend the Property Tax Code so that a person who has been granted a Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption will not need to reapply for the exemption every year, as is the case now.

“The successful passage of this bill lifts a significant burden from the more than 740,000 seniors in Cook County, who previously had to verify for this exemption every year,” said Assessor Kaegi. “It’s another step forward in the modernization of operations in our office while also making these annual exemptions more accessible for seniors.”

In the House, the bill’s chief sponsor was Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Fred Crespo while Sen. Laura Ellman and Sen. Bill Cunningham were its chief co-sponsors in the Senate.

“We heard from many taxpayers during my countywide listening tour about the need for HB 833,” said Assessor Kaegi. “I’m grateful to Representative Crespo for his yearlong advocacy on this issue and for Senators Ellman and Cunningham who moved this through the Senate. I was proud to work in collaboration with these legislators on the bill’s technological implementation and the safeguards necessary to prevent fraud.”

To allow for the automatic renewal of the Senior Homestead Exemption and prevent fraud in its application, the Illinois Dept. of Public Health would be required to send the Cook County Assessor’s Office (CCAO) death record information quarterly while the CCAO would access the Social Security Administration’s Master Death List and exchange information with the Recorder of Deeds Office on deed transactions of properties with a Senior Homestead Exemption.

The CCAO would be required to conduct an audit on every Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption at least once every three years.

“Local seniors shouldn’t have to go through burdensome bureaucracy to receive necessary relief on their property taxes,” Rep. Crespo said. “This is a commonsense reform that will make government more efficient and accessible while we work to provide greater relief to seniors and middle-class families across our state.”

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