The Senior Freeze Exemption (Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption) allows a qualified senior citizen to apply for a freeze of the equalized assessed value (EAV) of their property for the year preceding the year in which they first apply and qualify for this exemption. For example, a senior citizen who qualifies and applies for this exemption in taxable year 2019 will have the EAV of the property frozen at the 2018 EAV.
Those who qualify and receive this exemption should be aware that this does not automatically freeze the amount of their tax bill. Only the EAV remains at the fixed amount. The amount of dollars that the taxing districts asks for (levy) may change and thus alter a tax bill.
Who qualifies for a Senior Freeze Exemption?
To qualify for the taxable year 2019 (billed in 2020), you must meet all of these requirements:
- Be 65 years of age of older in 2019,
- Have a total gross household income of $65,000 or less for income tax year 2018,
- Own the property, or have a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019,
- Be liable for the payment of 2018 and 2019 property taxes, and
- Use the property as a principal place of residence on January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019.
There is also a minimum $2,000 EAV deduction for the Senior Freeze, which helps offset increases in assessed value and helps ensure that more seniors benefit from the Senior Freeze Exemption.
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.The Assessor does not set tax rates.
When do I apply for a Senior Freeze Exemption?
Senior Freeze Exemption Applications are available to download, print, and mail on our website, and are available in Assessor Office locations.
You must file each year in order to continue to receive the Senior Freeze Exemption and the requirements must be met each year. If you received the Senior Freeze Exemption last year, you will receive a renewal form in the mail.
Are there other property tax savings programs available to seniors?
The Cook County Treasurer administers a The Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral Program.