joyce floor 052220SPRINGFIELD - In order to offer much needed relief to Illinois property taxpayers, the Illinois State Senate passed a measure that defers tax sales and gives counties the ability to extend homestead exemptions and waive late fees.

“Communities I represent pay up to three times the national average on property taxes, which can be a huge financial burden,” State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) said. “We have to offer as much relief as we possibly can, especially knowing the hardships many are facing right now.”

Senate Bill 685 gives chief county assessment officers the authority to approve homestead exemptions without applications in 2020 for people who have disabilities, are veterans with disabilities, and senior citizens who qualifies for assessment freezes.

Exemption extensions permitted if:

  • The county board has previously declared a local disaster related to COVID-19; 
  • The owner of the property as of Jan. 1, 2020 is the same owner as of Jan. 1, 2019;
  • The applicant for the 2019 taxable year has not yet asked for the exemption to be removed for the 2019 or 2020 taxable year;  
  • The exemption for the 2019 taxable year has not been determined to be an erroneous exemption.

County assessment officers are still permitted to conduct audits of taxpayers claiming an exemption in order to verify the applicant is eligible to receive the senior citizens assessment freeze homestead exemption.

In addition, the measure defers tax sales and gives the county the authority to waive property tax interest penalties. However, these provisions do not apply in Cook County.

The legislation, Senate Bill 685, passed the Senate 56-0 and now goes to the governor for his approval.

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