Qualifying disabled veterans are fully exempt from paying property taxes
By Maria Pappas
Veterans deserve our thanks, especially those whose abilities were diminished as a result of active military service.
Illinois law recognizes that. Qualifying veterans whose disabilities are certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are eligible for tax breaks. Veterans classified as fully disabled are exempt from paying any property taxes on their homes.
Ronald and Josephine Rabitoy qualified for the Homestead Exemption for Veterans with Disabilities, which has been available since 2007. Josephine Rabitoy was a guest on a weekly radio show I host and told listeners how she learned about the benefit.
Her husband served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, she said. The Rabitoys, who are both senior citizens, bought a home in north suburban Norridge a few years ago. Josephine said she learned about the exemption for disabled vets when she attended a community senior citizen fair.
“We do not have a computer in our home,” she said. “Neither one of us know how to work a computer.”
Rabitoy sent me a hand-written letter, which made its way to my desk at the County Building in downtown Chicago. I sent a Treasurer’s Office employee to their home with paperwork they needed to fill out to apply for the exemption.
“Not only am I tax exempt, I’m getting a refund for the last four years,” she said.
That refund added up to $17,608. I asked how she planned to spend the money. Like many refund recipients, she said she planned to invest the money in her home.
“I will be getting a new roof on my house and a new roof on my garage,” she said.
Rabitoy and her husband at one time considered moving out of state, but because of the refund and exemption have decided to stay in their home, she said.
“I’m going to fix up my house,” she said. “And I told my husband, every year we get the exemption we’re going to put it right back into the house, and now we’re going to stay in Illinois.”
Veterans with a certified disability of 30% to 49% can qualify for a $2,500 reduction in their home’s equalized assessed valuation. Veterans certified as 50% to 69% disabled can qualify for $5,000 EAV reduction, and veterans certified as 70% or more disabled qualify for a 100% tax exemption.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides more information about how it certifies eligibility for service-connected conditions that qualify individuals for the Homestead Exemption for Veterans with Disabilities.
Another benefit called the Returning Veterans Exemption provides a $5,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value of a veteran’s home for the tax year during which they return from military service.
Visit cookcountytreasurer.com to learn more about the Homestead Exemption for Veterans with Disabilities. It’s a small way of thanking veterans for their service. When you visit the website you may find other exemptions that can save you money by reducing your tax bill.
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