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In 2015, Senate Bill 107 expanded the Illinois Disabled Veterans Property Tax Exemption. Beginning in taxable year 2015, which is payable in 2016, veterans with a service-connected disability rating of at least 30% can apply to have their dwelling's assessed value reduced. The amount of the reduction/exemption depends on the level of disability.
In this article, we’ll discuss property taxes for Illinois veterans with disabilities, what benefits are available to these individuals and their families and the limitations of those benefits.
Specially Adapted Housing Exemption
In 2015 Illinois enacted new legislation that continues to help disabled veterans in Illinois and their families to save money on their property taxes. The Specially Adapted Housing Exemption for Veteran’s with Disabilities program was expanded, giving veterans with disabilities greater tax breaks on specially adapted housing. Previously, the reduction in the assessed value for a specially adapted house was $70,000, but that amount was raised to a maximum of $100,000 for Illinois. Veterans and their families living in a mobile home who qualify for the program will continue to be fully exempt from taxes associated with mobile homes.
Disabled Veteran’s Property Tax Exemption
Changes to Illinois Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/10-23) provides tax breaks to veterans and their families who make accessibility improvements to their home or mobile home. These improvements may include but are not limited too: widening doorways, installing ramps, handrails, and grab bars, installing stairlifts, etc. Under the new tax exemptions, any accessibility changes will not increase the taxable value of the house for seven years.
Standard Homestead Exemption for Veterans With Disabilities
Exemption benefits under the Standard Homestead Exemption program have increased and the regulations to qualify have decreased. Previously, 50% disability as determined by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, was the minimum to qualify for significant benefits under the program; this percentage decreased to 30% as of 2015. This is an annual exemption with the percentage of disability certified by the VA and based on the veteran’s level of service-related disability, and can only be used on his or her primary residence. The benefits for the Standard Homestead Exemption program fall into one of four categories:
- Veterans with a disability rating of 30 to 40 percent receive an exemption that reduces the assessed value of their primary dwelling by $2,500.00.
- A disability rating of 50 to 60 percent reduces the value by $5,000.00.
- A disability rating of 70 percent makes the veteran's dwelling completely exempt from taxation.
- For spouses of veterans killed in the line of duty, the program offers a 100% reduction in the equalized assessed value of the primary residence.
Limitations and the Application Process
The law limits veterans with disabilities from claiming more than one of the three exemptions discussed above in a given tax year. Depending on your situation, one program may be better than the others. Veterans and their surviving spouses are required to certify each year for their given program. Those interested in the tax exemption benefits from the specialty adapted-housing program should contact their local Veteran Service Officer. For more information on applying for tax relief benefits through the homestead exemptions program contact your chief county assessment officer. A qualified attorney can help prepare the necessary documentation and guide you through the process.
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