Cook County Assessor Releases Senior Exemption Applications

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

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CHICAGO – Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi announced that his office has mailed Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption renewal applications for tax year 2018.  Over 300,000 applications were mailed to seniors who received the exemptions last year.  The application deadline is February 6, 2019 and annual renewal is required.  

The Senior Exemption application is part of a booklet sent to eligible seniors. The booklet also contains the separate, income-based Senior Freeze Exemption application.

“It is very important to me as I begin my term as assessor that my office reaches as many seniors as possible to ensure that they continue to receive the exemptions to which they are entitled,” said Assessor Kaegi. “No senior in Cook County should be in a position where they are paying more their fair share.”

To qualify for the Senior Citizen Exemption for tax year 2018, a taxpayer must have:

  • been born prior to or in the year 1953

  • owned the property during 2018 or have a lease or contract for 2018 which makes them responsible for the real estate taxes

  • used the property as his or her principal place of residence in 2018


Please Note: Beginning last year, a new law increased savings for the Senior Exemption from $5,000 to $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.

The savings for a Senior Citizen Exemption is calculated by multiplying the exemption savings of 8,000 by the local tax rate. The Assessor does not set tax rates


To qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption for tax year 2018, a taxpayer must have:

  • been born prior to or in the year 1953

  • a total household income of $65,000 or less for [income] tax year 2017

  • owned the property or had a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2017 and January 1, 2018

  • used the property as his or her principal place of residence as of January 1, 2017 and January 1, 2018

  • been liable for payment of 2017 and 2018 property taxes

Please Note: Beginning last year, the law expanded eligibility for the Senior Freeze Exemption by increasing allowable total household income to $65,000, from the previous limit of $55,000. There is also a new minimum $2,000 EAV deduction for the Senior Freeze, which will help offset increases in assessed value and help ensure that more seniors benefit from the Senior Exemption.

“If you don't qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption because you exceed the income level, this does not mean you will not be eligible for the standard Senior Exemption,” Assessor Kaegi explained. “The Senior Exemption has no income restrictions and it is important for those seniors who are eligible to apply.”

Seniors receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption automatically receive the Homeowner Exemption. Seniors receiving the Senior Freeze Exemption automatically receive both the Homeowner and Senior Citizen Exemptions.

Eligible seniors who have never applied for the Senior and/or Senior Freeze Exemptions in the past may visit the Assessor's website at and download an application or contact the Assessor's Office at 312-443-7550 and request a form be mailed to them.

Applications for additional exemptions administered by the Assessor's Office will be available within the next several weeks.

"Our office will work throughout the year to reach Cook County seniors through our community outreach programs and help them seniors with the exemption application process,” Assessor Kaegi said.  We will also be working hard to bring more fairness, ethics and transparency to the property tax assessment system.”