Rep. Stephens Sponsors Legislation to Bolster Property Tax Relief Program for Seniors

State Representative Brad Stephens (R-Rosemont) announced that he is the Chief Co-Sponsor of legislation to make it easier for seniors to get a break on their property taxes that today passed the Illinois House.

“Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the country and while this is hard on everyone, it is especially hard on seniors living on a fixed income,” Rep. Stephens said. “Seniors shouldn’t be taxed out of their homes. The senior exemption is a great program that helps prevent that.”

The senior homestead exemption is a state program that gives a property tax reduction to persons over the age of 65. Currently that reduction is set at a maximum of $8,000 in Cook County and $5,000 in all other counties. Senior must reapply for the exemption on an annual basis.

House Bill 961 allows the Cook County Assessor’s Office to immediately begin a pilot program in Cook County to allow for automatic application of senior citizens’ homestead exemptions until 2023. The Cook County Assessor, Clerk, and Treasurer would work together to verify that the properties receiving the automatic exemption are up-to-date.

“This is a great pilot program that spares seniors the onerous, unnecessary process of applying again for an exemption we already know they qualify for,” Rep. Stephens continued. “This legislation corrects a drafting error that will allow seniors to begin taking advantage of it immediately.”

House Bill 961 passed the Illinois House on October 30th and is expected to be heard in the Senate when the General Assembly returns for the remainder of veto session next month.