Chicago Homeowners Could See $200 in Property Tax Relief

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Earlier this month, the City Council voted 38-to-12 in favor of Mayor Daley's proposed $6.1 billion budget, which included a property tax relief program for qualified Chicago homeowners. The funds would be funneled from the infamous 75-year, $1.15 billion deal to privatize the city's parking meters.

The City of Chicago's Property Tax Relief Program "is meant to provide relief between $25 and $200 to City homeowners hit hardest by increases to their 2008 property tax bill for their primary residence," wrote Mayor Daley on the program's website. "This program is needed largely because of the phase-out of the state law that put a 7 percent cap on the annual increase in the taxable value of home property, and because the drop of this year's exemption under that law went to $20,000 from $26,000."

Of course, the amount of relief will depend on a household's income level and the increase in property taxes in 2008.

The property tax relief program calculator shows that only households with incomes $200,000 and under and with property tax bill increases of $50 or more will be considered.

So, for example, a household that earned $25,000 or less in 2008 and experienced a property tax increase of $350 or more will be eligible to receive $200 in relief. A household that earned $150,000 to $200,00 and experienced the same property tax hike would only receive $100.

The city is setting aside $35 million for this program, which has a three-step application process. One out of every 50 applicants will be randomly selected by the city's Office of Compliance for an audit, which will require them to submit copies of their 2008 income tax returns. The application deadline is March 31, 2010.

The Cook County Assessor's Office lays out the formula used for calculating an estimated tax bill, and allows Chicago homeowners to see their property's assessed value and file appeals.
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