Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi recently reiterated his support for HB 833, a bill that requires the automatic renewal of the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption. The bill’s chief sponsor is Assistant Majority Leader Fred Crespo.
HB 833, which unanimously passed out of the House Revenue Committee on May 22, would amend the Property Tax Code so that a person who has been granted a Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption would not need to reapply for the exemption every year, as is the case now.
“I’m grateful to Representative Crespo for his continued advocacy on this issue,” said Assessor Kaegi. “Our office has worked in collaboration with him on the plan for its technological implementation and the safeguards necessary to prevent fraud while also making these annual exemptions more accessible for seniors. We have heard from many taxpayers during my countywide listening tour about the need for HB 833.”
To allow for the automatic renewal and prevent fraud, 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,” 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.”
“We look forward to the General Assembly passing this bill, which will help modernize operations in the Assessor’s Office and ease an unnecessary burden for seniors in Cook County,” Assessor Kaegi said.