State Law Targets Property Owners
Receiving an Erroneous Tax Break
County Seeks Compliance with One Year Amnesty Period
New state law (effective June 1, 2014) gives the Chief County Assessment Office authority to recapture taxable value in instances where property owners have received homestead benefits erroneously. The new law aims to create a more fairly distributed property tax burden which benefits taxpayers. Lake County is providing an amnesty period for the remaining months of 2014 in order to gain maximum compliance.
Taxpayers are eligible to receive homestead exemptions on only one property in any given year. This applies to properties outside of Lake County and even in other states. You may check your property exemption status, or report any erroneous exemptions by contacting your local township assessor’s office, or the Chief County Assessment Office. Taxpayers will be notified with a letter if their homestead exemptions are being removed. The removal decision can be appealed to the Chief County Assessment Officer, and if needed to the Lake County Board of Review.
Chief County Assessment Officer Marty Paulson said, “As taxpayers receive their assessment notices over the next several weeks, they should look closely at the homestead exemptions they are receiving. Property owners can contact their township assessor or our office with any questions, and we will work them to correct any errors.”
The Chief County Assessment Office has a web page dedicated entirely to homestead exemption recapture/fraud information at assessor.lakecountyil.gov. An anonymous homestead exemption tip line has been set up for taxpayer reporting on homestead exemption issues. The phone number is 847-377-4799. The e-mail box for reporting erroneous exemptions/fraud is Exemptions@lakecountyil.gov. When contacting our office, please make sure to tell us the property index number and/ or property address and why the exemption should be removed.
Please note that homestead exemptions are generally effective as of January 1 of any given year. So, if a taxpayer resides in their property and is eligible for homestead exemptions on January 1, those homestead exemptions are in place for the entire year regardless of whether the property is sold.