Residents of Cook County who wrongly claimed property tax exemptions have until the end of the year to pay the money back and avoid penalties.
After Dec. 31, the Cook County Assessor's Office will investigate erroneous exemptions that have gone unreported and will require taxpayers to pay additional fees and interest on their savings or face civil or criminal prosecution.
In Illinois, a person is allowed to collect an exemption only on the home that is his or her primary residence. A new law gives the assessor the means to recoup funds from those who wrongly receive exemptions for being a homeowner, senior, disabled person or disabled veteran. The law requires an amnesty period to allow taxpayers who wrongly claim one or two exemptions to repay the savings by the end of the year. Those who wrongly claim three exemptions are not eligible for amnesty.
Since July 1, the Assessor's Office has billed more than $1 million erroneous exemption savings received by taxpayers.
For more information, go to www.cookcountyassessor.com.