Property Tax Relief Bill for Seniors and Veterans Gains Wide Bipartisan Support in IL House of Representatives

Legislation co-sponsored by State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) that provides property tax relief to seniors, veterans and disabled persons cleared the Illinois House of Representatives with wide, bipartisan support on Thursday.

“I’m proud to stand with a bipartisan group of co-sponsors for this bill,” said Olsen. “People are aging in place more frequently, and this bill helps seniors stay in their homes. I hear regularly from seniors who are being taxed out of their homes and this bill provides tangible relief for this growing segment of our population.”

Specifically, HB 156 would amend the Property Tax Code to provide property tax relief in the following ways:
  • Creates an assessment freeze homestead exemption for persons receiving federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and have a maximum income limitation of $55,000. 
  • Provides that the maximum amount of the senior citizens’ homestead exemption shall be $6,000 (currently, $5,000). 
  • Provides that the maximum amount of the general homestead exemption (GHE) is $8,000 in all counties (currently $7,000 in Cook County and $6,000 in all other counties). 
  • Provides that the standard homestead exemption for veterans with disabilities also applies to veterans who are 75 years of age or older and these senior veterans become eligible for an exemption of $2,500;
    • Provides for a revised tier system regarding exemption amounts; currently, the base level includes a $2,500 exemption for veterans with a level of disability between 30%-50%; this bill would lower this threshold to include veterans with a 20%-50% level of disability. 
    • Makes changes concerning the definition of "surviving spouse." 
  • Amends a section concerning erroneous homestead exemptions in Cook County to make conforming changes to reference to the standard homestead for veterans with disabilities and veterans 75 years of age or older. 
  • Creates a statewide long-time occupant homestead exemption for qualifying homeowners that have lived in the same home for eight or more years; benefits are based according to length of occupancy range from 25%-60% of the GHE. Currently, there is a similar program in Cook County only. 
The bill would also increase the senior citizen estate tax deferral to $6,000 (currently $5,000).

“There is much more work to do on the issue of tax relief and tax reform, and I look forward to continuing our bipartisan work on future reforms that will allow the most vulnerable among us to enjoy and stay in their homes.”

The vote to approve HB 156 was 108-1.

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