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Deputy Assessor for Communications Communications Specialist
Tom Shaer Maura Kownacki
312-603-7322 312-603-3065
tshaer@cookcountyassessor.com mkownacki@cookcountyassessor.com
02/02/2018

Office of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios surpasses $30 million milestone in money recovered for return to communities

Law conceived by Berrios results in nearly $50 million in overall billing for erroneous exemptions claimed by taxpayers

Chicago – Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios today announced that his office has surpassed the $30 million mark in erroneous exemption collections. Recovery of such would-be lost revenue had never occurred before Assessor Berrios took office; a total of nearly $50M has been billed.

In 2011, Berrios conceived a law allowing the Assessor’s Office to bill and collect for erroneous exemptions. Berrios later designed and proposed legislation and helped pass it through the Illinois General Assembly. It became law in 2013. All investigations and collections are completed at no cost to taxpayers.

“Passing the $30 million mark is a huge milestone for our hardworking staff. On my watch, the Assessor’s Office will continue our strong pursuit of the balance of the almost $50 million we’ve billed and will not let up in our review of all exemptions. The great success of this law has shown just how much it was needed,” Berrios said.

The Assessor added, “I felt reform was necessary and I’m glad we and the General Assembly got this reform done. Previously, there was nothing in place to help recover the money unfairly received from erroneous exemptions or to deter this from happening in the future.”

The erroneous exemption law provides for the collection of unpaid property taxes, penalties and interest due to exemptions for which taxpayers are ineligible. That money is to be returned to local taxing bodies. Importantly, savings to Cook County continue because erroneous exemptions are also eliminated from future tax years.

The Assessor’s self-funded Erroneous Exemption Unit investigates any claims of erroneous exemptions and identifies the taxpayers and properties receiving fraudulent exemptions.

As a result of Berrios’ efforts, $30.18 million has thus far been collected for return to local taxing bodies in accordance with the law. Overall, $49.5M has been billed, including liens for $7.3M currently in place on properties which had erroneous exemptions.

After an investigation is complete, a bill is mailed to the taxpayer, who may request a hearing regarding his or her case.  If a bill is not paid after 30 days, a second notice is sent before a lien is placed on the property.

“Each year, Cook County taxing bodies could lose millions of dollars because people cheat or erroneously claim exemptions,” Berrios said. “At a time when schools and local municipalities are challenged with budget issues, it will be helpful for this money to go back to serving the community. We are immensely proud that our reforms have led to recovering these funds.”

Local taxing bodies located in each of the county’s 38 townships receiving money collected due to the erroneous exemption billings. The total amount distributed varies, depending on which areas of the county erroneous exemptions were received in and the amount of them.

By law, a person is allowed to collect an exemption only on the home that is his or her primary residence.  The law gives the Cook County Assessor the means to recoup funds from those who have improperly received homeowner, senior, disabled persons or disabled veterans exemptions.  The law also allows an assessor to administer property tax liens on the properties of those taxpayers who have received undue property tax exemptions.

Assessor Berrios proposed the erroneous exemptions measure shortly after he was elected, as his administration sought reforms and improved performance of the Assessor’s Office. He conducted a thorough review of all systems he inherited – or the lack of systems. Both the House and Senate passed the legislation unanimously.

“I am extremely proud of the work and extensive research that went into the development of this new erroneous exemption law.  It is having a dramatic and positive impact not only on the struggling, budget-strapped local taxing bodies but on taxpayers throughout the county,” Berrios said.


 

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02/07/2018 Assessor Berrios Extends Deadline for Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption Applications
02/02/2018 Office of Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios surpasses $30 million milestone in money recovered for return to communities
01/09/2018 Cook County Assessor’s Office Mails Annual Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption Renewal Applications
12/13/2017 Cook County Assessor’s Office Completes Assessment Cycle Early
11/28/2017 Cook County Assessor’s Office intern program continues to see future results
10/18/2017 Legislation Crafted by Assessor Berrios Brings Greater Benefits to Seniors and Many Other Homeowners
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09/12/2017 Cook County Implements More Exemption Savings As Legislation Crafted By Assessor Berrios Becomes Law
09/01/2017 Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios and State Representative Patricia Bellock to Co-Host Property Tax Town Hall Meeting
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08/24/2017 Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios and Orland Township Assessor Rich Kelly to Co-Host Property Tax Appeal Seminar for Orland Township Taxpayers
08/15/2017 Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios and Thornton Township Assessor Cassandra Holbert to Co-Host Property Tax Appeal Seminars for Thornton Township Taxpayers
08/15/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Thornton Township Taxpayers
08/11/2017 Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios and Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. to Co-Host Property Tax Seminars for Homeowners
08/03/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Orland Township Taxpayers
07/24/2017 NATIONAL STUDY FINDS ILLINOIS PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM EASES BURDEN ON LOWER- INCOME TAXPAYERS
07/17/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Proviso Township Taxpayers
07/14/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Calumet Township Taxpayers
06/27/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Worth Township Taxpayers
06/13/2017 Assessor Berrios further expands the Community Assessment and Appeal Outreach Program
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06/08/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Stickney Township Taxpayers
06/07/2017 Statement from Assessor Joseph Berrios regarding various claims about Cook County Property Assessment
06/01/2017 Illinois General Assembly passes legislation initiated by Assessor Berrios to increase tax savings for homeowners and seniors
05/26/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Lyons Township Taxpayers
05/25/2017 Illinois House Committee passes legislation initiated by Assessor Berrios to increase exemption savings for Cook County homeowners
05/17/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Lemont Township Taxpayers
05/08/2017 Illinois Senate passes legislation initiated by Assessor Berrios to increase exemption savings for Cook County homeowners
05/03/2017 Thomas Jaconetty, Deputy from Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios' Office, Gives American History Presentation to PLAID Academy Students
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03/21/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Cicero Township Taxpayers
03/02/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Oak Park Township Taxpayers
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02/03/2017 Reassessment Notices Mailed to River Forest Township Taxpayers
01/10/2017 Important news for senior citizen homeowners: application and deadline information for senior exemptions
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12/12/2016 Assessor’s Office certifies 2016 assessment; again completes assessment cycle early
09/28/2016 Cook County Assessor's Office Intern Program is a Win-Win for both Students and the Assessor's Office
09/26/2016 Assessor’s Office review of airport noise and property values results in assessment reductions for numerous communities
09/13/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Hanover Township Taxpayers
09/07/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Niles Township Taxpayers
08/25/2016 Assessor's Office recovers $18.6 million in erroneous exemptions
08/22/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Schaumburg Township Taxpayers
08/02/2016 Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios and Northfield Township Assessor Patty Damisch to Co-Host Assessment Appeal Seminar
08/01/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Northfield Township Taxpayers
07/12/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Wheeling Township Taxpayers
06/23/2016 Important Facts Regarding Property Assessment for Tax Bills in Cook County
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06/08/2016 Berrios Implemented Procedure That Protects Taxpayers
05/27/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Maine Township Taxpayers
05/17/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Norwood Park Township Taxpayers
05/05/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Elk Grove Township Taxpayers
04/29/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to New Trier Township Taxpayers
04/14/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Palatine Township Taxpayers
03/17/2016 Assessor Berrios Extends Deadline for Evanston Township Appeals
03/17/2016 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Barrington Township Taxpayers
03/08/2016 Assessor Berrios Extends Exemption Application Deadlines for Veterans
03/08/2016 Assessor Berrios Extends Deadline for Disabled Persons Exemption
02/24/2016 Berrios mails Evanston Reassessment Notices
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01/28/2016 Berrios Mails Exemption Applications to Veterans<
01/08/2016 Assessor Berrios Mails Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption Applications
12/16/2015 Assessor Berrios Raising Awareness of Increased Property Tax Relief for Disabled Veterans
11/20/2015 2015 Berrios Mails North Reassessment Notices
10/05/2015 2015 Berrios Mails South Reassessment Notices
08/17/2015 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Jefferson Township Taxpayers
08/13/2015 Possible airport impact on property values
07/31/2015 Bed and Breakfast Notice
07/17/2015 2015 Berrios Mails West Reassessment Notices
07/06/2015 Assessor Berrios Alerts Homeowners to Check Second Installment Tax Bills for Exemptions
06/16/2015 Berrios Mails Hyde Park Township Reassessment Notices
05/12/2015 Berrios Mails Lake Township Reassessment Notices
04/22/2015 NOTICE CONCERNING 'BED AND BREAKFAST' PROPERTIES
04/20/2015 Cook County Assessor Prevails in Ethics Board Lawsuit
04/14/2015 Court Dismisses Challenge to Cook County's Erroneous Exemption Law
04/08/2015 Reassessment Notices Mailed to Lakeview Township Taxpayers
02/20/2015 Assessor Berrios Seeks $14 Million for Erroneous Exemptions Taken by Taxpayers
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