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Senior Chicago Homeowners Should Check Tax Bill Before Paying

September 28, 2011

Cook County property tax bills will be arriving in residents’ mailboxes next week.

If you are a senior, don’t pay it; check it! You could be in for a tax break, but you have to apply for it.

A new state law enacted this year requires Illinois residents 65 and older to apply for senior exemptions each year.

senior looking at a bill from his mailboxCook County Assessor Joe Berrios said almost 300,000 applications containing both the senior citizen and senior freeze exemptions were sent out to senior residents. For those that didn’t respond, a reminder was also sent out. In addition, more than 100 outreach sessions were held to help senior with the renewal process.

Still, about 55,000 eligible Cook County senior homeowners have yet to reapply.

The senior citizen exemption could add up to an average tax break of $200 for a senior homeowner in Cook County. In addition, the senior freeze exemption offers senior homeowners with incomes below $55,000 another discount.

But you must apply for both.

With Cook County property tax bills expected to rise this installment, every exemption will help. Berrios is urging seniors to study their property tax bills and contact his office if the tax break doesn’t show up on the bill.

“What happens is a lot of the seniors, when they get these bills, they just pay them, and they end up losing the benefit of the exemption,” said Berrios.

“We encourage everyone who receives a bill next week to please, look at the bill, check the bill, because if you pay it, and find out later, it’s going to take you 90 days to get your money back.”

For more information, visit cookcountyassessor.com or call 312-443-7550.

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