Veterans: Be Sure to Claim Your Property Tax Exemptions
For many years, Jack Schaller of Chicago’s oldest continuously operating bar, paid zero property taxes in the face of ballooning increases – and this is completely legal and fair.
Why? Because he was a veteran and a senior and he took advantage of all exemptions available to him.
If you’re a veteran homeowner in Cook County and you’re not claiming any veteran-related exemptions, you are likely paying much more than your fair share. After all, you’ve served your country so you should at least claim the exemptions you deserve.
Returning Veterans Exemption
Veterans returning from active duty in armed conflicts are eligible to receive a $5,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value (EAV) of their property only for each taxable year in which they return. To qualify, a taxpayer must meet these criteria:
- Have served in the U.S. Armed or Reserve Forces or the Illinois National Guard
- Have actively served in an armed conflict involving U.S. Armed Forces
Disabled Veterans Homeowners Exemption
Veterans with a service-related disability as certified by the VA are eligible for this annual exemption. There are three levels:
- A disability of at least 70% is eligible for a 100% property tax exemption in equalized assessed value (EAV)
- A disability of 50%-69% is eligible for a $5,000 reduction in EAV
- A disability of 30-49% is eligible for a $2,500 reduction in EAV
- Be honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed or Reserve Forces or the Illinois National Guard
- Live in a property with an EAV of no more than $250,000 (excluding any part used for business or rented for 6 months or longer)
Veteran homeowners living in Cook County might also quality for the following exemptions:
- Homeowner Exemption
- Home Improvement Exemption
- Senior Citizen Exemption
- Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Exemption (aka Senior Freeze)
- Long-Time Occupant Exemption
- Disabled Persons Exemption
Beyond Exemptions: Appeal Your Property Taxes
Appealing is the only way to ensure your assessed value is fair, thereby limiting property tax increases for any family members that may inherit your home that do not qualify for the same exemptions, and making your property more attractive to potential buyers when you sell.