Berrios Legislation Passes the Illinois Senate

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessCook 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 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. SB41 provides for the collection and distribution of unpaid property taxes, penalties and interest:

  • Unpaid taxes will be paid to the original taxing districts.
  • Penalty fees will be paid to the chief county assessment officer for administrative costs.
  • Interest collected will be paid to the county.

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.

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