Tax exemption could help Illinois tornado victims

WASHINGTON – A tax exemption that the Illinois Legislature passed following deadly tornadoes in Harrisburg in 2012 is expected to benefit the victims of last fall's tornadoes in the city of Washington.

Tazewell County Chief Assessment Officer Gary Twist said he anticipates Tazewell County will use the exemption in the coming years. Deadly tornadoes struck the state in November, badly damaging the county.

"Hopefully all the citizens will be in a better position than they were 10 years ago, and we've got some legislators to thank for it," Twist tells the Journal Star in Peoria (http://bit.ly/1pGMe1w ). "If they rebuild within the confinement of the regulations for this, they'll be treated like they're in the older home."

Homeowners must meet certain criteria to claim the exemption. They include rebuilding up to 110 percent of original square footage within two years. The exemption will cover the difference between the destroyed and rebuilt home for the lifetime of ownership.

Dianna and Donald Sours were among the first in the county to apply for the Natural Disaster Homestead Exemption after receiving a letter from the Tazewell County Assessor's Office.

"It was a nice surprise, because we didn't realize that until we got the letter," Dianna Sours said.

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Information from: Journal Star, http://pjstar.com