A Senior Exemption provides property tax savings by reducing the equalized assessed value of an eligible property. Most homeowners are eligible for this exemption if they meet the requirements for the Homeowner Exemption and were 65 years of age or older during calendar year 2020. Once this exemption is applied, the Assessor’s Office auto-renews it for you each year.
Automatic Renewal: Yes, this exemption automatically renews each year.
Due Date for New Applicants: March 31, 2021
How can a homeowner see which exemptions were applied to their home last year?
Check the Cook County Portal website, then review the Exemption History and Status section.
📌 Reminder: Exemptions appear on your second installment tax bill issued in the summer. To learn more about how the property tax system works, click here.
- Must be born in 1955 or prior.
- Either own the property or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes.
- Occupy the property as your principal place of residence on January 1, 2020. 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 the following:
- Senior Exemption application form
- Closing or settlement statement
- Copy of proof of age and residency
Documentation Required to Apply
- Proof of age and identity and occupancy in 2020.
- 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 2020.
- 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
• 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 2020 occupancy
• Mailed bank statement
• Mailed landline, cable, or internet bill
• Mailed pay stub or Social Security Award letter
• Voting record from 2020 (from Cook County Clerk’s office or Chicago Board of Elections)
• Occupancy Affidavit
2. 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
- Stock certificate
- Occupancy agreement
Frequently Asked Questions
I received the Senior Exemption on my tax bill last year. Do I have to reapply for the Senior Exemption this year?
No. Senior exemptions renew automatically, meaning you only have to apply once. If you received a Senior Exemption on the second-installment tax bill you received in July 2020, 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.
How are Senior Exemption savings 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 each year 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.
Are there other property tax savings available to seniors?
The Cook County Assessor's Office also administers the Senior Freeze Exemption.
The Cook County Treasurer's Office offers a Senior Citizen's Tax Deferral program, please contact their office at (312) 443-5100.
What if I own a cooperative?
Owners of cooperative apartments must also submit a stock certificate, occupancy agreement, or trust agreement, along with their applications.
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 and can apply on line. 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.
My parent passed away in 2020, is the property still eligible for the Senior Exemption?
Yes, as long as your parent was alive and resided in the home January 1, 2020 and used the home as their principal place of residence, the property would be eligible. Follow the instructions listed below.
- Sign your parent’s name on the application and in parenthesis write deceased and Underneath it write your name and in parenthesis write son/daughter.
- Provide a copy of the death certificate.
- Submit a copy of their driver’s license or state ID along with a copy of your driver’s license or state ID.
- Provide letters of office, successor trustee paperwork or power of attorney paperwork, if applicable.
How do I apply for prior tax years?
If you were eligible for the exemption in a prior Tax Year but the exemption was not on your bill, you can apply for a refund or corrected bill by filing for a certificate of error. Learn more here.
• A complete application requires supporting documents (listed above) and your home's PIN. How do I find my PIN?
• Avoid these common application errors in your application.
In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many of the exemptions will automatically renew for tax year 2020. In the next few weeks, tens of thousands of households will receive a letter that confirms the auto-renewal of the exemptions placed on their home. Please check the Cook County Portal to see if you received the Senior Exemption for the 2019 tax year before applying. For households who need to apply or reapply, please do so online.
The application due date is March 31, 2021.
How to Apply for Tax Year 2020
In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many of the exemptions will automatically renew for tax year 2020. In the next few weeks, tens of thousands of households will receive a letter that confirms the auto-renewal of the exemptions placed on their home. Please check the Cook County Portal to see if you received the Senior Exemption for the 2019 tax year before applying. For households who need to apply or reapply, please do so online. The application due date is March 31, 2021.
Is it too late to apply for exemptions?
If your home was eligible for a homestead exemption in a prior tax year (2016, 2017, or 2018) and you already paid the full tax amount billed for that year, the Assessor’s Office can help you obtain a refund through the Certificate of Error process.
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