Senior Exemption

What is the Senior Exemption?

The Senior Exemption provides property tax savings 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 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.

I qualified for a Senior Exemption. Do I have to apply for a Homeowner Exemption separately?

No. Seniors receiving the Senior Exemption automatically qualify for the Homeowner Exemption and do not have to apply for it separately.

What are the eligibility 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 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.
     

    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 each year by the Cook County Clerk and can be found on your second-installment tax bill.

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

Application Procedures

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 supply documents that verify your identity, age, and property occupancy. For tax year 2019 (billed in 2020), lists of accepted documents are below.

Proof of Identity, Age, and 2019 Occupancy of Property

  • You can supply an Illinois Drivers License / ID Card, Matrícula Consular ID, or City of Chicago ID Card. The name and property address must verify the application. The date of issue must verify that you occupied this property in or before 2019.
  • Or, you can supply one document from List B and one from List C:
    List B: Photo IDs that verify identity and date of birth
    • Illinois Drivers License / ID Card
    • Matrícula Consular ID
    • City of Chicago ID Card
    • Passport
    • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550/N-570)
    • Permanent Resident Card (I-551)
    • Refugee Travel Document (I-571)
    • Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
    List C: Documents that verify 2019 occupancy
    • Mailed bank statement
    • Mailed landline, cable, or internet bill
    • Mailed pay stub or Social Security Award letter
    • Voting record from 2019 (from Cook County Clerk’s office or Chicago Board of Elections)
    Occupancy Affidavit 

Proof of Property Tax Liability

  • If you are listed on the deed recorded at the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, this verifies your property tax liability. The Assessor’s Office staff can verify recorded deeds for you, so you do not need to provide a document.
     
  • If you are NOT listed on the recorded deed, please provide one of the following documents to verify you are liable for payment of property taxes for this property:
    • Deed (if not recorded) or contract for a deed 
    • Lease
    • Trust
    • Stock certificate
    • Occupancy agreement

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.

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 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. 

How do I apply for tax year 2019?

Remember that if this exemption was applied to your home for tax year 2018, it is set to automatically renew for tax year 2019 (billed in 2020). If you need to apply for this exemption, you can review the eligibility and supporting documents required above, and then:

Apply Online

Other ways to apply:

It can take 60-90 days for Cook County Assessor’s Office staff to review and process your application and documents. You will then receive a letter (or an email, if you apply online) about whether your exemption application has been approved or denied. 

If your exemption application is approved, the exemption will be applied by the Treasurer to the second installment property tax bill you receive in the summer.