Your Property Index Number (PIN) can be found near the top of your assessment notice or tax bill. A PIN is a unique identifing number that The Assessor's Office uses to track all parcels of real property in Cook County.
Exemption Fraud Legislation Developed
by Assessor Berrios Passes the Illinois Senate
Measure is Estimated to Recover More than $60 Million in the First Year
CHICAGO – Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios announced Friday that the Illinois Senate has passed a measure he has crafted which will target property owners who fraudulently claim property tax exemptions.
By law, a person is allowed to collect an exemption only on the home that is his or her primary residence. SB41 will give assessors throughout Illinois the means to recoup funds from those who have improperly received homeowner, senior, disabled persons’ or disabled veterans’ exemptions.
Berrios thanked state senators for their bipartisan support of the measure and reiterated the dire need for the legislation. He encouraged members of the Illinois House to act quickly and also approve the measure.
“Each year, Cook County taxing bodies lose more than $60 million because people cheat or erroneously claim exemptions. We continue to discover taxpayers who are claiming multiple exemptions and we currently have no law in place to deter them or help recover the money they’ve unfairly received,” Assessor Berrios explained.
Berrios proposed the legislation shortly after taking office when his administration noticed the high volume of e-mails and anonymous phone calls complaining about people improperly receiving homeowner or senior exemptions. In 95 percent of those cases, the claims were proven to be true.
“We receive over 1,000 anonymous allegations a year,” Berrios said. “But we’ve never had a law with any teeth to go after the cheaters.”
In one case, a man living in the northern suburbs of Cook County had been receiving multiple homeowner exemptions on property he owns. He has saved nearly $90,000 over the course of eight years through cheating the system, Berrios said.
“Without this law, we can’t go after him for any of that money,” Berrios explained.
SB41 provides for the collection and distribution of unpaid property taxes, penalties and interest:
The Assessor’s legislation was previously passed by the Illinois House but the Illinois Senate voted it down twice. After including input from county elected officials, the Illinois Association of Realtors, the Chicago Bar Association, and Senate Republicans and Democrats, the legislation passed the Senate with a 51-0 vote.
SB41 also provides an amnesty for individuals who wrongly claimed a homestead exemption. This amnesty extends until December 31st, 2013 and would allow a person who wrongly claimed one or two erroneous homestead exemptions prior to the 2013 tax year, to repay the amount received from said exemption(s) without penalty or interest or threat of civil and or criminal prosecution.
Notice of the amnesty will be provided with the 2012 second installment tax bills and will be published in a newspaper of general circulation. A taxpayer who claimed 3 or more homestead exemptions in error shall not be eligible for the amnesty period.
The bill is similar to laws in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Texas, and Arizona. It allows the chief county assessment officer to administer property tax liens on the homes of those taxpayers who have received undue property tax exemptions.
The Assessor vowed to continue to work with state legislators to impress upon them the need to pass this very important piece of legislation.
“It is my sincere hope that the members of the Illinois House will realize the merit of this legislation. If it is passed, the provision is sure to have a dramatic and positive impact on not only the taxing bodies, but taxpayers throughout the county,” Berrios said.
Your Property Index Number (PIN) can be found near the top of your assessment notice or tax bill. A PIN is a unique identifing number that the Assessor's Office uses to track all parcels of real property in Cook County.
An appeal is a formal request for the review of your property’s assessment. To file an appeal: find your property using this site's Property Search, then click Appeal, and submit your online appeal request. Further instructions will follow.
You will receive a 'Notice of Proposed Assessed Valuation' in the mail when the Assessor's Office reassesses your home every three years. Once you have received your 'Notice of Proposed Assessed Valuation', you have approximately 30 calendar days to file an appeal with our office. The last date to file an appeal is printed near the bottom of your notice. You may also appeal your assessed valuation in any year between reassessments.
An exemption is a reduction in your assessed valuation. To apply for an exemption: find your property using this site's Property Search, then click exemption, and submit your online exemption application.