FYI, You CAN Cheat on Your Property Taxes

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Assessor Joe Berrios on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to give them more power to go after property owners who improperly claim tax breaks, saying they could recover more than $150 million in three years with the new authority.

Under legislation pending in Springfield, counties could go after back taxes from people who have wrongly received homestead exemptions. The tax break should only be applied to a property owner’s primary residence, but people often also claim it for rental properties, vacation homes and secondary residences. Other property owners get inappropriate property tax reductions for being a senior citizen, disabled person or disabled veteran.

People who claimed multiple improper homestead exemptions also would be fined a percentage of their unpaid taxes, and the county could place liens on the properties to try to compel property owners to pay up.

via Chicago Tribune.


So let me get this straight… right now, I could file for a homestead and senior freeze exemptions on properties I own but don’t live at and despite the fact that I’m not a senior?

How stupid are the politicians in Springfield?  They grant all these exemptions but provide no way to enforce them.  This would be funny if not so sad.

Of course, there is someone who can do something about it; two in fact.  Both women… both lawyers… both elected to put bad people — like people who lie on government documents — in jail and fine them.

So rather than pushing for new laws, why doesn’t the county just ask Anita Alvarez to file charges against these people?  And if she’s too busy, Lisa Madigan could take some of the cases.

Of course both Alvarez and Madigan are too busy doing nothing.
So instead Preckwinkle and Berrios are asking for another new law so they can hire more government workers to police this new law.

$50 million a year in new revenue… $50 million a year in new expenses for staff and pensions.  The taxpayer will end up with nothing.