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Quinn signs Berrios bill targeting homestead exemption cheats
SPRINGFIELD-Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios will have new authority to go after property tax exemption cheats under legislation Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Tuesday.
The legislation, pushed by Berrios, would give township assessors throughout Cook County new power to collect as much as $60 million in improperly claimed homeowner, senior or disabled exemptions.
State law now allows homeowners to collect such exemptions only on residences in which they live.
Under the changes contained in Senate Bill 41, those who improperly claimed one or two homestead exemptions will have until Dec. 31, 2013 to pay what they owe to the county without penalties.
But after that or in cases of three or more improper homestead exemptions, the county will have authority to impose property tax liens and assess fees and penalties on homeowners for unpaid taxes.