Illinois Property Tax Breaks and Exemptions

Illinois Property Tax Breaks and Exemptions

Richard Fonfrias, J.D.
Chicago’s Financial Rescue & Bankruptcy Lawyer
Fonfrias Law Group, LLC


How to make sure you’re not getting overcharged

Most homeowners in Illinois know that their state has the second highest property taxes in the country. Yet many homeowners don’t know the many ways they can lower their property tax bills and make sure they don’t overpay.

You can reduce your property tax burden with two primary methods.

Method #1: You can appeal the taxable value of your home.

Illinois authorities calculate your property tax by multiplying the tax rate by your home’s taxable value, which is the fair market value of your home, considering its size, location and condition.

For example, let’s say the state tax assessor has placed a taxable value of $300,000 on the Smith’s home. If the tax rate is 1%, they will owe $3,000 in property tax.

If you can cut the taxable value of your home, you can reduce your property tax bill. Suppose the Smiths appeal the $300,000 taxable value of their home, saying that it’s worth only $200,000. Now their property tax is only $2,000.

Check the appraised value of your home in your county clerk’s office. Make sure it describes your home’s size and doesn’t overstate its condition.

If you think the tax assessor has overstated your home’s value, or if the taxable value is higher than that of similar homes, you might consider an appeal.

Method #2: Take all tax breaks you’re entitled to.

  • Homeowner Exemption: You may qualify for a homeowner exemption if the home is your primary residence. Depending on your own income level, as well as local tax rates and assessment increases, this can cut your assessed value by up to $10,000.
  • Senior Citizens: You can have your assessed value lowered by up to $5,000 (or $8,000 in Cook County) if you are 65 or older.) In addition, you can apply for an assessment freeze that limits the amount of future assessment increases.
  • Disabled Persons: This reduces the assessed value of your home by $2,000 per year for persons with a disability who are liable for property taxes on a home that’s your primary residence.
  • Home Improvements: If home improvements that you make increase your home’s value, up to $75,000 of that increased value will be exempt from Illinois property tax.
  • Disabled Veterans: If you have changed your home’s structure to accommodate your disability, you may claim an exemption of up to $100,000. You can claim other tax exemptions as well depending on your level of disability.
  • Returning Veterans: Veterans returning from an armed conflict are eligible for a $5,000 cut in your home’s assessed value. This is in addition to other exemptions for which you qualify.
  • Natural Disasters: You may qualify for property tax relief if you’ve rebuilt your home after a natural disaster.

For complete details on these and other property tax exemptions, contact your local tax assessor’s office, available from this online list of Illinois assessors.