The Senior Exemption (also called the Senior Citizen Exemption) provides tax relief by reducing the equalized assessed valuation of an eligible residence. This savings is in the form of a deduction on the second-installment real estate tax bill.
I qualified for a Senior Exemption. Do I have to apply for a Homeowner Exemption separately?
No. Senior Citizens receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption automatically qualify for the Homeowner Exemption and do not have to apply for it separately.
I received the Senior Exemption on my tax bill last year. Do I have to reapply for the Senior Exemption this year?
No. This is a recent change. Until 2019, state law required that senior citizens reapply annually for the Senior Exemption. The law changed on August 26, 2019 with the signing into law of HB 833. The bill, championed by Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi and Illinois House Assistant Majority Leader Fred Crespo, amends the Illinois Property Tax Code to allow for the automatic renewal of the Senior Citizen Exemption for persons who had received this exemption in the year prior. Seniors not currently receiving the exemption, and those who turned 65 in 2019, must apply for the senior exemption in 2020; their exemption will then automatically renew each following year. Senior exemptions currently in place will renew automatically. If you received a Senior Exemption on the second-installment tax bill you received in July 2019, you do not have to reapply for this exemption.
What are the eligibility requirements for the Senior Exemption?
- You must have been born prior to or in 1954 (be 65 years of age or older during the tax year for which you are applying);
- You must either own the property or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes; and
- The property must be your principal residence. If you have moved or plan to move in the future, you may be entitled to a prorated Senior Exemption, based on the time of occupancy. To apply for a prorated Senior Exemption you must submit a:
- Senior Exemption application form,
- closing or settlement statement,
- copy of proof of age and residency.
Please see the Senior Exemption application form for an expanded list of acceptable documents.
The Senior Exemption property tax savings each year is $8,000 in Equalized Assessed Value (EAV). It is important to note that the exemption amount is not the dollar amount by which a tax bill is lowered. EAV is the partial value of a property to which tax rates are applied; it is this figure on which a tax bill is calculated.
A Senior Exemption is calculated by multiplying the Senior Exemption savings amount ($8,000) by your local tax rate. Your local tax rate is determined by the Cook County Clerk and can be found on your second-installment tax bill or by contacting the Cook County Clerk’s Office at 312-603-6566.
What is the application procedure and what other documents do I need to provide with the application?
- If you are eligible for the exemption, please complete and sign the Senior Exemption Application Form. Information pertaining to Permanent Index Number and township can be found on your real estate tax bill.
- You must also provide official documents that verify your identity and clearly show your birth date, such as your Driver’s License, Illinois Identification (ID) Card, or other document listed on the application. Additional documents to verify property tax liability may be required with your application. Please note: If your name is different between any of the documents provided with your application, you must also submit documentation sufficient to explain the name change, such as a certified marriage certificate, certified divorce decree, etc.
What if I own a cooperative?
Owners of cooperative apartments must also submit a stock certificate, occupancy agreement, or trust agreement, along with their application.
I would like to apply by mail. Is there anything I should know?
If you apply by mail, do not send originals of the above documents. Please send copies because the documents cannot be returned to you.
I would like to apply in person. Is there anything I should know?
If you apply in person at the Assessor’s Office, your documents will be reviewed and returned to you while you wait.
What happens after I have filed for a Senior Exemption?
The Assessor’s Office will notify you when your application is approved.
Can I still receive the Senior Citizen Exemption if my property is listed in the name of my late spouse?
If you are 65 or over, you will qualify for this exemption in your name. Please notify the Taxpayer Services Department and we will send you the proper application forms. Otherwise, your property will receive the exemption for the remainder of the year of your spouse’s death. You will then have to apply when you turn 65. For more information, you may contact our Taxpayer Services Department at (312) 443-7550.