Are You Getting All the Illinois Property Tax Breaks You Deserve?

Making home improvements and repairing damage from a natural disaster are among your possible exemptions from Illinois property tax.

Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the nation. Ouch! And as you’re painfully aware, your Illinois home is subject to those taxes – year in and year out. Of course, you want to make sure that you’re not overpaying.

So how can you reduce your property tax burden? There are two main ways. The first is available to all homeowners. The second depends on whether you meet certain qualifications. If you do, you can seek tax relief using both methods.

Method #1 – Appeal the Taxable Value of Your Home

You may know that the Illinois authorities compute your property tax by multiplying your home’s taxable value by the tax rate.

Example: The assessor has placed a taxable value of $200,000 on the Samsons’ home. If the tax rate is 1%, they will owe $2,000 in property tax.

If you can reduce the taxable value of your home, you property tax bill will be lower.

Example: The Samsons appeal the $200,000 taxable value of their home. The appeals board reduces that value to $150,000. Now, the Samsons owe only $1,500 in property tax.

If you believe that the Illinois tax assessor has misjudged the value of your home – or if the taxable value is higher than that of similar homes – you might want to pursue an appeal. For more information, read Should You Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment in Illinois?, and Procedures for Challenging Your Property Tax Assessment in Illinois.

Method #2 –Get All the Tax Breaks You’re Entitled To

Illinois allows for reduced property taxes if you meet certain requirements. The chief programs in Illinois are summarized here.

  • Primary residence. You may qualify for a homeowner exemption. Depending on local tax rates and assessment increases, this can reduce your tax by $250 to $2,000.
  • Senior citizens. If you’re 65 or older, you can save up to $250 in property taxes, and up to $750 when the exemption is combined with the homeowner exemption. You can also apply for an assessment freeze that limits the amount of future assessment increases.
  • Home improvements. If you make home improvements that increase your home’s value, up to $75,000 of that increased value will be exempt from Illinois property tax.
  • Disabled veterans. If your home’s structure has been changed to accommodate your disability, up to $100,000 of the home’s value may be exempt. There are alternative tax exemptions as well.
  • Returning veterans. If you’re returning armed conflict, you’re eligible for a one-year, $5,000 exemption. This is in addition to any other homestead exemption for which you qualify.
  • Natural disasters. Have you rebuilt your home after a natural disaster damaged it? You may qualify for special property tax relief. (This was added in 2014, in response to tornadoes that hit the Illinois counties of Tazewell, Woodford, and Peoria.)

Contact your local tax assessor for complete details on these and other Illinois property tax exemptions, including any required forms you need to complete and the deadline for filing those forms. You can get contact information for the assessor’s office from online list of Illinois assessors.

Depending on the complexity of your situation, you may want to seek legal help. To find an experienced real estate lawyer in Illinois, check out Nolo’s Lawyer Directory.

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