Assessor Patricia K. Damisch
Northfield Township Assessor
Patricia K. Damisch CIAO
Notice of Discovery Regarding Exemptions
The Cook County Assessor sent out 20,300 letters to property owners in northern Cook County in May 2015 that caused quite a stir! It states in part:
“It has come to the attention of the Cook County Assessor’s Office they you may have received one or more homestead exemptions to which you are not entitled. As a result the Assessor’s Office is opening an investigation …”
Panicking homeowners have flooded the phone lines at the County Assessor’s Office and my office as well. What is going on?
As you may know, each person or married couple can receive exemptions such as the homeowner, senior, or senior freeze on their primary residence only. Exemptions are reflected on the second installment bill, which will be received in July. The Cook County Assessor has become much more proactive in catching those that break this rule. Recently the County hired Lexis-Nexis to help identify possible violators. I am unaware of the criteria the company used, but even the head of the Exemption Department at the Cook County Assessor’s Office admitted to me that a large percentage of the people who got this letter will be exonerated.
What the letter should have said was that you are a part of a large audit. If an irregularity is found you will be contacted. Bottom line – if you are sure you only have exemptions on one property in the United States, you have nothing to worry about. When the audit is completed everyone that got the original letter will get a second letter telling them the results.
Spring 2015 Update
It is not necessary to reapply for the homeowner's exemption once your property receives it. However, all other exemptions must be applied for annually. If you forgot to file for your senior exemption or senior freeze exemption for the 2014 tax bill you must send into the Cook County Assessor a certificate of error form in addition to your exemption application. The forms are available at the Township office or at the Cook County Assessor's website www.cookcountyassessor.com.
Property Tax Information Website
Cook County has a one stop property tax information website enabling residents to access more information than ever in one location. This property tax portal accessed at www.cookcountypropertyinfo.com combines information from various county offices into one unified site, allowing residents access to a streamlined process to handle all their property tax issues. Taxpayers will no longer need to visit up to six county offices to piece together the record on their properties-that information is now all found on the Property Tax Portal.
Residents are able to access information on assessment appeals to the Board of Review; ownership and liens from the Recorder of Deeds; payments and refunds from the Treasurer; valuation, exemptions and appeals from the Assessor; prior bill statuses, delinquencies and Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIF) information from the Clerk and a plethora of other helpful information.
The site also includes a link that explains how property taxes work with an easy to understand flow chart. Another feature is that taxpayers may conduct a search by Taxing District name to view debt disclosures and /or download any financial statement uploaded by a particular agency.