Pursuant to 35 ILCS 200/15-180, homestead property that has been improved may qualify for a homestead improvement exemption. For homes in Lake County that have been improved, this exemption “defers, for four years, any increase in the assessment of the property due to an addition or other improvement to the home for which the Township Assessor would add value.” Lake County Assessment Office Website, “Homestead Improvement Exemption” (Retrieved April 18, 2018). In order to qualify for this exemption, the property must be owned and used exclusively for a residential purpose. It must be demonstrable that a proposed increase in assessed value is attributable solely to a new improvement on the existing structure. 35 ILCS 200/15-180. The maximum deduction has been capped at $25,000 of the home’s equalized assessed value for Lake County.
The Illinois State Legislature also allowed for the inclusion in exemption eligibility homestead properties that have been rebuilt following a catastrophic event. In order to qualify, the home must not only be homestead property, and owned and used exclusively for a residential purpose, but also must demonstrate that “an increase in assessed value is attributable solely to….the rebuilding of a residential structure following a catastrophic event.” Id. It is also required that the structure must have been rebuilt within two (2) years of a catastrophic event. In terms of the value of the exemption, it shall be applied to the increase in value of the rebuilt structure rather than the value of the structure before said catastrophic event.
In counties with 3 million or fewer inhabitants, it is the burden of the local Township Assessor’s Office to either automatically grant or notify taxpayers who may be eligible for the homestead improvement exemption for properties rebuild following a catastrophic event. Id. In counties with 3 million or more inhabitants, any properties that have been rebuilt following a catastrophic event must file an application and valuation complaint with the local Township Assessor’s Office. Additional documentation may be required from the applicant. Id.