October 27, 2009

Mayor Daley Announces Details of City's Property Tax Relief Program

$25-$200 Refunds Will Be Available to Middle and Low- Income Homeowners Hit Hardest By Drop in "7 Percent Cap" Exemption
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Richard M. Daley today outlined details of the $35 million property tax relief program he announced last week as part of his proposed 2010 City Budget.

“When, I announced our 2010 budget last week, I knew that some people would say that we hadn't cut enough spending or services. I also knew that some people would say we should raise city taxes,” Daley said in a news conference held at River Park Field House, 5100 N Francisco Av.

“During these tough times, we must do all we can to protect Chicago's working and middle class families. And higher city property taxes are the last thing we should be asking homeowners to pay next year. They need property tax relief and they need it now,” he said.

Daley said the program is needed primarily because of the phase out of the state law that puts a 7 percent cap on the annual increase in the taxable value of property and the drop of this year's exemption under that law to $20,000 from $26,000.

For the owner of a home valued at $200,000, that translates into higher property taxes of as much as $335 – the largest single cause of higher property tax bills for many of the 160,000 Chicago homeowners impacted by the cap, the Mayor said.

The increase in Chicago's property taxes, which was enacted two years ago, will result in a smaller increase of $60 on that $200,000 home, he said.

The program will be funded from the City’s Parking Meter Human Infrastructure Fund and will provide refunds between $25 and $200 to the City’s middle- and low-income homeowners hit hardest by the drop in the “7 percent cap” exemption.

Daley said that through the program, the City estimates it will be able to give a refund to as many as half of Chicago’s 400,000 homeowners. The average refund will be about $150.

“These people are the heart and soul of our city. If they don't prosper, Chicago doesn't prosper. And, right now, too many of them are struggling to make ends meet,” the mayor said.

“Moving forward, it is absolutely necessary that the General Assembly extend the 7% cap and make it permanent,” Daley said.

Here is how the property tax relief program will work:

  • Homeowners must apply for it because the program is tied to the homeowner’s income and the City does not have that information unless the homeowner provides it.
  • There are income limits on who can apply. If total household income is more than $200,000, the homeowner isn’t eligible for this program.
  • The amount of tax relief is based on a combination of income level and how high the tax increase was. For example, the lower the income and the higher the tax increase, the bigger the refund.
  • Eligible homeowners should get an application, either online or at any City service center or library branch.
  • To complete the application, a homeowner will need to produce a copy of their current tax bill, a photo ID and a signed affidavit verifying household income.
  • The completed application should be mailed to Chicago Tax Assistance Center,121 N. LaSalle St., Room 100, Chicago, IL 60602, or dropped off at that location or the City’s Revenue Sites: 2550 W. Addison St., 4770 S. Kedzie Av. and 2006 E. 95th St., 8:00a.m. - 6:30p.m. (M-F).
  • The program will be presented to the City Council for approval November 18.
  • If approved, the program will open around the end of November and run for two months.
  • It should take about 6-8 weeks for a homeowner to receive a refund check.
  • Homeowners can call the City’s 311 line for further information.

“Especially now, my vision for Chicago is driven by the reality of tough economic times and that Chicago's working and middle class families are struggling,” Daley said.

“That's why we must fight for them and act now to help them get through these bad times,” he said.