A Message from Your Township Assessor
In the true spirit of local government, the staff in the Hanover Township Assessor's Office should be your first level of support for questions regarding the Cook County property tax process.
We are open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30AM to 4:30PM at our main office in Bartlett. On Tuesdays, we are open from 8:30AM to 6PM. On Thursdays we are also at the Hanover Township Community Relations Office at One American Way in Elgin from 8:30AM to 4:30PM.
From billing to exemptions, our knowledgeable staff is prepared to provide answers to any questions or concerns you may have. We look forward to serving you.
Thomas S. Smogolski, SRA, CIAO
Hanover Township Assessor
Please click here for information on SB41 - Amendment 3 Bill Summary from the Cook County Assessor's Office.
Posted: November 15, 2013
NEW LAW ON ERRONEOUS TAX EXEMPTIONS IN EFFECT;
PROPERTY OWNERS HAVE UNTIL DECEMBER 31 TO
REPAY UNWARRANTED TAX SAVINGS WITHOUT PENALTY
Contact Person: Thomas S. Smogolski
Hanover Township Assessor
A new state law requires Cook County homeowners to repay savings on property tax bills that they should not have received. Property owners who erroneously received homeowner, senior citizen, or other tax exemptions have until December 31 to repay the tax savings from such exemptions without interest and penalty. Those who wait until January 1, 2014 will have to include interest and a penalty when repaying unwarranted tax savings.
“The Homeowner Exemption, the Senior Citizen Exemption and the Senior Freeze Exemption are the most popular of the money-saving tax exemptions available to homeowners,” said Assessor Thomas S. Smogolski. “My office has always been happy to help owner-occupants apply for these valuable exemptions, and will continue to do so.”
Illinois law makes it clear that tax exemptions are available only on a homeowner’s principal residence. However, a significant number of rental properties, investment properties, and second homes have been receiving exemptions that they are not entitled to. For example, a study by the Hanover Township Assessor’s office of two villages in northwest suburban Cook County indicated that 15% of rental properties were improperly receiving homeowner exemptions.
“Under our property tax system, whenever one property receives an exemption it is not entitled to, all other property owners have to pay a little more to make up for the erroneous exemption,” Assessor Thomas S. Smogolski said. “This is unfair.”
In the past, little could be done about property owners who received exemptions they were not entitled to. The new state law, however, provides a procedure that will require those who have received erroneous exemptions to repay them, while discouraging others from obtaining erroneous exemptions in the first place.
Who is affected by the new law? People who own more than one residential property, and people who own properties where senior citizens have recently lived, should pay attention to the new law. Individuals who only own one property—the home where they live—likely will not be affected by the new law.
A. People who own more than one residential property. Individuals who own two or more residential properties can receive a homeowner exemption only on their principal residence. In most circumstances, property owners will have to repay the savings obtained from erroneous tax exemptions on other properties that they own.
Although some people have gamed the system to get property tax breaks they are not entitled to, other people may be receiving multiple exemptions without realizing it. This is because the Homeowner Exemption, once initially applied for, is typically renewed automatically until the property is sold. If someone bought and moved into a home or condominium, and then moved out without selling it, the property likely is still receiving the Homeowner Exemption. Since the property is no longer owner-occupied, however, it is no longer eligible for the exemption.
B. People who own homes that were once occupied by Senior Citizens. A threshold requirement of both the Senior Citizen Exemption and the Senior Freeze Exemption is that one of the property’s owner-occupants must be sixty-five years of age or older. If a senior citizen no longer lives on the property, the property typically is no longer eligible for either senior exemption.
There are circumstances where a property may be eligible for a senior exemption when a senior does not live on the property. Seniors who moved from their house to live in a nursing home, the surviving spouses of senior citizens, and people who recently purchased property from seniors, may be eligible for one or both senior exemptions for a period of time. Assessor Thomas S. Smogolski urges those with questions about the eligibility rules for senior exemptions to call his office.
Determining if Taxpayers are in Compliance with the Law. Under the law, most property owners can be made to repay the savings from erroneous tax exemptions going back three years. But property owners with a significant number of erroneous exemptions can be liable for erroneous exemptions for as many as six prior years.
Taxpayers curious about whether they are in compliance with the law will have to do some research on the exemptions they received in prior years. To get the necessary information, they can either review second installment tax bills of all properties they own from prior years, look at the ‘Exemption’ sections of the web sites of either the Cook County Assessor or the Cook County Treasurer, call the Cook County Assessor’s office, or call the Hanover Township Assessor’s office. These information sources will allow property owners to determine how many exemptions they have been receiving, and whether they are in compliance with the law.
Conclusion. Assessor Thomas S. Smogolski urges anyone with questions about the new law to call his office. “My office can help taxpayers determine whether they have any erroneous exemptions. We can also offer advice and assistance on how to repay the exemptions, and how to insure that property owners do not receive erroneous tax exemptions in the future.”
Posted: July 18, 2013
Governor Signs Exemption Fraud
Legislation Developed by Assessor Berrios
Measure Estimated to Generate More than $65 Million for Taxing Bodies in the First Year
CHICAGO – Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios announced that his exemption fraud legislation, which a nationally recognized expert estimated may recover $65 million for taxing bodies in the first year, was signed by Governor Quinn yesterday.
Berrios thanked the members of his staff who worked tirelessly for two and a half years on this issue. The Assessor also acknowledged the support of members of the Illinois General Assembly for their bipartisan support, especially Senator Muñoz, Representative Zalewski and the 21 other House and Senate cosponsors, along with Governor Quinn for acting quickly and signing the important measure.
The final result reflected a cooperative effort of the Cook County Assessor, the Illinois State and Chicago Bar Associations, the Suburban Township Assessors Association, the Illinois Realtors Association, the Title Insurance Industry, and Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle. Because of this collaborative effort, the bill passed the Senate 51-0 and the House 116-0.
“This law was desperately needed, as each year honest taxpayers lose more than $65 million because people cheat or erroneously claim exemptions,” Berrios explained. “We continue to discover taxpayers who are claiming multiple exemptions and we did not have a law in place to both deter them or to help recover the money they’ve unfairly received.”
By law, a person is allowed to collect an exemption only on the home that is his or her primary residence. This new law will give the Cook County Assessor the means to recoup funds from those who have improperly received homeowner, senior, disabled persons’ or disabled veterans’ exemptions.
Berrios proposed the measure shortly after taking office when his administration noticed the high volume of e-mails and anonymous phone calls complaining about people improperly receiving exemptions. In 95 percent of those cases, the claims were proven to be true.
“We receive over 1,000 anonymous allegations a year,” Berrios said. “But we’ve never had a law with any teeth to go after the cheaters.”
The new exemption fraud law will provide for the collection and distribution of unpaid property taxes, penalties and interest:
· Erroneous exemption monies recovered will be paid to the original taxing districts.
· Penalty fees will be credited to the budget of the Cook county Assessor for administrative costs.
· Interest collected will be paid to the county.
The law also provides an amnesty for individuals who wrongly claimed an exemption. This amnesty period extends until December 31st, 2013 and will allow a person who wrongly claimed one or two erroneous exemptions prior to the 2013 tax year, to repay the amount received from the exemption(s) without penalty or interest or threat of civil and or criminal prosecution. A taxpayer who claimed 3 or more exemptions in error is not eligible for amnesty.
Notice of the amnesty was provided in the recently mailed second-installment tax bills and will be published in the newspaper.
The law is similar to ones in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Texas, and Arizona. It allows the chief county assessment officer to administer property tax liens on the homes of those taxpayers who have received undue property tax exemptions.
“I am extremely proud of the work and extensive research that went into the development of this new exemption fraud law. It is sure to have a dramatic and positive impact not only on taxing bodies, but on taxpayers throughout the county,” Berrios said.
Interested in having a representative from the Hanover Township Assessor's office come to your association or organization? We can give a presentation on real estate tax related topics, exemptions, and answer questions about filing assessment appeals. Call us at 630-837-0301 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a visit.
Want to know when assessment notices are mailed, when tax bills will be mailed out or when & where the next Township seminar will be? Send us your email address to email@example.com to join our email list in receiving notifications from our office.