Tracy and Hammond initiative defends spousal land transfers from higher property taxes

To correct an oversight in Illinois’ property law, State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) and State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) sponsored legislation that allows spouse-to-spouse transfers of wooded acreage without undergoing a property assessment—or incurring higher property taxes.

 “When wooden acreage is transferred from spouse to spouse, the couple should not be penalized with a higher property assessment,” said Tracy. “The county should recognize that transferring property to one’s spouse is not equivalent to selling or transferring to an outside individual. I’m glad our constituent brought this issue of oversight in the law to our attention.”

Senate Bill 2274 creates an exception within the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) for spouse-to-spouse transfers of wooden acreage. It exempts spouses from the fee associated with a transfer of wooded acreage, and allows the couple to retain the land’s preferential property assessment—a reduced property tax burden—under the Wooded Acreage Assessment Transition Law.

“We’re seeking a commonsense spousal exception to protect hard-working property owners and create uniformity across property tax statutes in Illinois,” said Hammond. “The transfer of wooded acreage should be treated the same as the other spousal transfers of property—like farmland or estates.”

The initiative stemmed out of Macomb, where a constituent transferred wooden acreage to his wife’s name but was later assessed a fee by IDOR and received notice that the land no longer qualified for a preferential assessment.

Senate Bill 2274 received unanimous support in the House of Representatives on May 24 and now moves to the Governor’s desk for his signature. 

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