Friday, May 11, 2012

Cook County Officials Call On Illinois Lawmakers For Strong Laws To Pursue Real Estate Tax Cheats Making Improper Homestead Exemption Claims

In Chicago, Illinois, the Chicago Tribune reports:

  • Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Assessor Joe Berrios on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to give them more power to go after property owners who improperly claim tax breaks, saying they could recover more than $150 million in three years with the new authority.

  • Under legislation pending in Springfield, counties could go after back taxes from people who have wrongly received homestead exemptions. The tax break should only be applied to a property owner's primary residence, but people often also claim it for rental properties, vacation homes and secondary residences.

  • Other property owners get inappropriate property tax reductions for being a senior citizen, disabled person or disabled veteran.
  • Based on the number of exemption cheats he said he has found to date, Berrios estimated $154 million would be returned to the county, school districts and the like during the first three years the plan was in effect.

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