CHICAGO (CBS) -- City officials have extended the deadline for Chicago homeowners to apply for a property tax rebate designed take the edge off a record tax hike approved by the mayor and the City Council last year.
Qualifying homeowners originally had until Wednesday to apply in person for the rebate, but with less than 10 percent of eligible homeowners signed up so far, the city has pushed back the deadline to Dec. 30.
Budget Director Alex Holt said homeowners with a household income of less than $75,000 can qualify for a rebate of $25 to $200, depending on how much their tax bill went up this year. Seniors can get an additional $150 supplement, depending on a number of factors. With a so-called "enhanced grant" also available to some homeowners with significant hardship, combined rebates could total up to $1,000.
"In the first six weeks of the program, over 11,000 people have applied. We've got over a million dollars' of rebates that are scheduled to be provided, and in fact the first checks will be sent out this week," she said.
City officials have said about 155,000 households are eligible for the rebates, with a total cost of about $21 million.
Homeowners must apply for the rebates in person at City Hall or one of 26 neighborhood locations, because they must present their 2015 income tax return and 2015 second installment property tax bill as proof of eligibility.
"We want to be able to give them back their tax documents," Holt said.
The rebate program was enacted to partially offset the impact of a $588 million property tax increase Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council approved last year. The mayor and aldermen wanted to soften the blow of the tax hike for low-income homeowners.
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