HB961

  • ellman 052219SPRINGFIELD –Cook County seniors would see access to property tax break sooner under legislation by State Senator Laura Ellman that passed the Senate unopposed on Thursday.

    “My goal was always to simplify this application process as much as possible,” said Ellman, (D-Naperville), the measure’s chief sponsor. “Rather than subjecting our seniors to an unnecessary reapplication process, we’re making things easier on them while also giving more people the chance to benefit from property tax breaks.”

    Currently, every county in Illinois other than Cook may allow seniors to receive the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption without having to reapply for it annually. Changes to the law will allow Cook County seniors the same privilege, and House Bill 961 allows this exemption to take effect for the taxable year 2019.

    Cook County agencies would also be required to keep track of any property transfers or death that would end the exemption on a particular piece of property in order to prevent abuse of it.

    This legislation now awaits the governor’s signature.

  • cunningham 111419SPRINGFIELD – A requirement forcing Cook County seniors to reapply annually for a tax break will soon be eliminated under a measure co-sponsored by State Senator Bill Cunningham.

    House Bill 961, passed by the Illinois Senate Wednesday, would eliminate the need for residents of Cook County residents aged 65 or older to reapply annually to receive the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption, a property tax exemption designed to assist senior citizens financially.

    Seniors would be required to reapply once more for the exemption in 2020, and would then be grandfathered into the program through 2024. Similar legislation, House Bill 833, was signed into law this summer, but required seniors to reapply in both 2020 and 2021.

    “Seniors shouldn’t be forced reapply for the Homestead Exemption an extra time. It’s just common sense,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “You only turn 65 once, and there’s no reason to put seniors through a confusing reapplication process for this exemption when they’ve already proved that they qualify for it.”

    Currently, every county in Illinois other than Cook may allow seniors to receive the exemption without reapplying.

    The measure also requires Cook County agencies to record events that would end the exemption, such as property transfers, to ensure that ineligible property owners do not accidentally take advantage of the tax break.

    House Bill 961 passed the Senate without opposition. It will now head to the governor’s desk.