The Homeowner Exemption provides tax relief by reducing the equalized assessed valuation of an eligible residence.

What is a Homeowner Exemption and how can I receive it?

You can receive the Homeowner Exemption if you own or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes of the residential property. It must also be used as your principal place of residence for the year in question.

This exemption will be prorated if you purchased a newly constructed home that was not ready for occupancy until sometime after January 1 of the tax year in question. For further assistance, call our Taxpayer Services Department at (312) 443-7550. If you have never received a Homeowner Exemption on your home, you will need to apply for one. Exemption forms may be obtained by calling or visiting one of the Assessor’s Office locations or your local township assessor.

The Senior Citizen Exemption provides tax relief by further reducing the equalized valuation of an eligible residence.

What is a Senior Citizen Exemption?

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 Citizen 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?

Yes. State legislators passed a new law that states that senior citizens have to reapply annually for the Senior Exemption.

What are the elgibility requirements for the Senior Citizen Exemption?

Eligibility Requirements
  1. You must be 65 years of age or older during the tax year for which you are applying;
  2. You must either own the property or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes; and
  3. 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 Citizen Exemption, based on the time of occupancy. To apply for a prorated Senior Citizen Exemption you must submit:
    • A Senior Citizen Exemption Application Form
    • A closing or settlement statement
    • Copy of a recent property tax bill
    • Copy of proof of age and residency

What is the application procedure and what other documents do I need to provide with the application?

Application Procedures
  1. If you are eligible for the exemption, please complete and sign the Senior Citizen Exemption Application Form. Information pertaining to Permanent Index Number and township can be found on your real estate tax bill.
  2. You must also provide the following information:
    Recent Real Estate Tax Bill For Your Home

    This includes your residential/property address and index number. If your bill is not mailed to your home, you must supply ONE MORE document that would prove your home address, such as your voter's registration card, voting record from the tax year(s) for which you are applying, or Driver's License or Illinois Identification (ID) card showing your address as the property address issued prior to the earliest year for which you are applying.

    Proof Of Your Age

    Submit ONLY ONE official document that clearly shows your birth date, such as your Driver's License, Illinois Identification (ID) Card, Alien Registration Card, Social Security Form 2458, Naturalization Papers, or Birth Certificate. NOTE: Women who submit documents with maiden name must provide Marriage Certificate(s) to show connection with current name.

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 Citizen 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.

The Senior Freeze Exemption allows qualified senior citizens to apply for a freeze of the equalized assessed value (EAV) of their properties for the year preceding the year in which they first apply and qualify for this exemption.

What is a Senior Freeze Exemption?

The Senior Freeze Exemption allows qualified senior citizens to apply for a freeze of the equalized assessed value (EAV) of their properties 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 2016 will have the EAV of the property frozen at the 2015 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 2016, you must meet all of these requirements:

  • Be born prior to or in the year 1951,
  • Have a total gross household income of no more than $55,000 for 2015,
  • Own the property, or have a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016,
  • Be liable for the payment of 2015 and 2016 property taxes, and
  • Use the property as a principal place of residence on January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016.

When do I apply for a Senior Freeze Exemption?

Those who are currently receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption will automatically receive an application form for the Senior Freeze Exemption.

You must file each year in order to continue to receive the Senior Freeze Exemption and the requirements must be met each year.

Are there other options available to seniors?

  • Senior Citizen Real Estate
  • Tax Deferral Program
  • Cook County Treasurer's Office 312/443-5100
  • Circuit Breaker Program
  • Illinois Department of Revenue 800/624-2459

What is the Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption?

The Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption enables you to receive an expanded Homeowner Exemption with no maximum exemption amount. 

Who qualifies for a Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption?

Requirements for the Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption for Tax Year 2016 state that you must have

  • Owned and occupied your residence from January 1, 2006 to January 1, 2016
  • A total household income of $100,000 or less and
  • An assessment increase for your property that was significant enough to exceed the maximum amounts set by the state legislature.

When do I apply for the Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption?

Applications were mailed early this year to those properties which qualified.

Please note: Of the over 1.5 million residential properties in Cook County, only less than two percent (2%) qualified for the Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption last year. This is due to the way the state legislature wrote the provision and the requirements they put in place in order to qualify.

Simply put, would-be savings from the Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption would have to exceed the savings from the Standard Homeowner Exemption. This does not happen for more than 98% of residences in Cook County.

The Cook County Assessor’s Office wants all homeowner/occupants to receive the maximum exemption savings to which they are entitled. If we calculate that the Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption would provide the most savings for a home, we automatically mail an application.

If you wonder if an application should have been mailed to you, please call the Cook County Assessor’s Office at 312-443-7550 and we will double-check your qualifications and which exemption(s) will get you the most savings.

Please note: Properties not eligible to receive this exemption are automatically eligible to receive the full benefits of the standard Homeowner Exemption.

The Home Improvement Exemption allows you to increase the value of your home with up to $75,000 worth of improvements without increasing your property taxes for at least four years.

What Is the Home Improvement Exemption?

The Home Improvement Exemption allows you to increase the value of your home with up to $75,000 worth of improvements without increasing your property taxes for at least four years.

Who qualifies for a Home Improvement Exemption?

The exemption is available to owners of single-family homes, condominiums, cooperatives, and apartment buildings up to six units.

How does a Home Improvement Exemption work?

You will automatically receive the exemption when our office field checks the building permit for the improvement. A notice will be sent to you after we complete the check.

What if there is damage to my home?

The Home Improvement Exemption can also be used for repair necessitated by structural damage as a result of severe weather conditions, such as flooding.

What is not covered by a Home Improvement Exemption?

The exemption is not granted for loss of personal property, normal weather damage, or routine maintenance. Routine maintenance includes repairs to or replacement of parts that would not increase the value of your property. The following are examples of normal upkeep:

  • Repair or replace roofing materials, sidewalks, driveways, or fencing
  • Insulate and/or add storm windows and doors
  • Add or replace gutters and downspouts
  • Place siding over existing frame structure
  • Add or improve trees, lawns, and landscaping
  • Paint, decorate, plaster, or change exterior ornamentations
  • Replace furnace, or replace old heating systems with solar heating
  • Replace kitchen cabinets, flooring, fixtures
  • Replace or add water softener, or add larger hot water heater
  • Add outdoor lighting, burglar or fire alarms
  • Replace electrical systems or plumbing fixtures
  • Install above-ground swimming pool or outdoor playground facilities
  • Add automatic garage door opener
  • Add aluminum soffit and facia

Who can I call to find out if I qualify for a Home Improvement Exemption?

To learn whether you may qualify for the Home Improvement Exemption, call the Cook County Assessor's Office at 312/443-7550.

Veterans returning from active duty in armed conflict are eligible to receive a $5,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value of their property only for each taxable year in which they return.

What is a Returning Veterans' Homeowner Exemption?

Veterans returning from active duty in armed conflict are eligible to receive a $5,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value of their property only for each taxable year in which they return.

What criteria makes someone eligible for the Returning Veterans' Homeowner Exemption?

To qualify the veteran must be:

  • an Illinois resident who has served as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, Illinois National Guard or U.S. Reserve Forces,
  • be returning from active duty in an armed conflict involving the armed forces of the U.S.,
  • owned or had a legal or equitable interest in the property and used it as a principal place of residence on January 1, 2016 and
  • be liable for the payment of property taxes. 

What additional documentation do I need to submit with my Returning Veterans' Homeowner Exemption Application?

Veterans must complete the exemption application with the CCAO and:

  • If a veteran is discharged from active duty service, he or she will need to provide the Department of Defense DD Form 214 certified by the County Recorder or Recorder of Deed’s or the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
  • If a veteran is still on active duty after returning home, they will need to provide military orders and a travel voucher showing the date of his or her return.  The documents must state that they are returning from armed conflict involving the armed forces of the U.S. within the tax year that they are requesting the exemption.

Please Note: This exemption may be received in addition to any of the other exemptions.

    

Veterans with a service-connected disability as certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are eligible for this annual exemption. It reduces by certain amounts the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) on a disabled veteran's primary residence, very likely lowering the tax bill.

It is very important to note that the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) is not the amount of your taxes. The EAV is only the partial property value on which your taxes are computed; any reduction in EAV is not the dollar amount by which your tax bill may be lowered.

As we've said elsewhere on this web site, recently, this annual exemption is now greatly expanded. Beginning with Tax Year 2015 (billed and paid in 2016), veterans whose level of disability is as little as 30% are eligible for a deduction from the EAV of their primary residence. The amounts of those EAV deductions range from $2,500 to $5,000. Also, for the first time, veterans 70% or more disabled are totally exempt from property taxes.

Exemption amounts in the newly expanded Disabled Veterans Homeowner Exemption are:

              Taxable Years

Percentage of Disability

Exemption Amount*

        2011-2014 (Tax Years)

70% and greater

$5,000

50-69%

$2, 500

      2015 and thereafter (Tax Years)

30%-49%

$2,500

50%-69%

$5,000

70% and greater

Total Exemption



What Is a Disabled Veterans' Homeowner Exemption?

    

Veterans with a service-connected disability as certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are eligible for this annual exemption. It reduces by certain amounts the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) on a disabled veteran's primary residence, very likely lowering the tax bill.

It is very important to note that the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) is not the amount of your taxes. The EAV is only the partial property value on which your taxes are computed; any reduction in EAV is not the dollar amount by which your tax bill may be lowered.

As we've said elsewhere on this web site, recently, this annual exemption is now greatly expanded. Beginning with Tax Year 2016 (billed and paid in 2016), veterans whose level of disability is as little as 30% are eligible for a deduction from the EAV of their primary residence. The amounts of those EAV deductions range from $2,500 to $5,000. Also, for the first time, veterans 70% or more disabled are totally exempt from property taxes.

Exemption amounts in the newly expanded Disabled Veterans Homeowner Exemption are:

              Taxable Years

Percentage of Disability

Exemption Amount*

        2011-2014 (Tax Years)

70% and greater

$5,000

50-69%

$2, 500

      2016 and thereafter (Tax Years)

30%-49%

$2,500

50%-69%

$5,000

70% and greater

Total Exemption


What criteria makes someone eligible for the Disabled Veterans' Homeowner Exemption?

To qualify, the veteran must be:

  • an Illinois resident who has served as a member of the United States Armed Forces on active duty or State active duty, a member of the Illinois National Guard or U.S. Reserve Forces and has been honorably discharged,
  • have at least a 30% service-connected disability certified by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs,
  • own and occupy the property as the primary residence as of January 1, 2016,
  • have a total EAV of less than $250,000 for the primary residence, excluding the EAV of property used for commercial purposes or rented for more than six (6) months and
  • apply for this Exemption each tax year

A non-remarried surviving spouse of a disabled veteran may continue to receive this exemption if the same primary residence continues as such for the surviving spouse. Or, the non-remarried surviving spouse may transfer the exemption amount (or less) to a new primary residence.

What additional documentation do I need to submit with my Disabled Veterans' Homeowner Exemption Application?

Veterans must complete the Exemption Application and return to the Cook County Assessor's Office (118 N. Clark St., Room 320, Chicago, IL 60602) and also, please, include:

  • A first-time applicant must please provide a Department of Defense DD Form 214, certified by either the Cook County Recorder of Deeds or Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. This document is not required for future annual applications.
  • All applicants, first-time and in later years, must please provide a Disability Certification Letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • To the non-remarried surviving spouse of a disabled veteran who is eligible for the Exemption and is using the Exemption for the first time or transferring it to a new address: you must please provide the disabled veteran's death certificate and proof of ownership.

Please Note: This exemption cannot be combined with the Disabled Persons Homeowner Exemption or Returning Veterans Homeowner Exemption.

This exemption provides disabled persons with an annual $2,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value (EAV) of the property.

What is a Disabled Persons' Homeowner Exemption?

This exemption provides disabled persons with an annual $2,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value (EAV) of the property.

What criteria makes someone eligible for the Disabled Persons' Homeowner Exemption?

To qualify the applicant must be:

  • disabled or become disabled during the Tax Year,
  • own or have a legal or equitable interest in the property, or a leasehold interest of a single-family residence,
  • occupy the property as the principal residence on January 1, 2016 and
  • be liable for the payment of property taxes.

If a person’s home previously received the Disabled Persons’ Homeowner Exemption and the taxpayer now resides in a facility licensed under the Nursing Home Care Act, his or her home is still eligible to receive this exemption provided:

  • the property is occupied by that person's spouse, or
  • the property remains unoccupied.

What additional documentation do I need to submit with my Disabled Persons' Homeowner Exemption Application?

Documentation Needed

Applicants must complete the exemption application with the Cook County Asssessor's Office and must provide one of the following documents:

  • Class 2 Disabled Person Illinois Identification Card from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office
  • Proof of Social Security Administration disability benefits. This proof includes an award letter, verification letter, or annual cost of living adjustment
  • Proof of Veterans’ Administration disability benefits.  This proof includes an award letter of total (100%) disability, pension statement, or statement showing compensation rated at 100%.
  • Proof of Railroad or Civil Service disability benefits is an award letter of total (100%) disability.

If a taxpayer can not provide proof with one of the items listed above they will need to submit the Illinois Department of Revenue’s Form PTAX 343-A Physician’s Statement of Proof of a Disability. The taxpayer may also be required to be re-examined by an IDOR designated physician.

Please Note: This exemption cannot be received with the Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homeowner Exemption.