Senior Freeze Exemption

A Senior Freeze Exemption provides property tax savings by freezing the equalized assessed value (EAV) of an eligible property. Most homeowners are eligible for this exemption if they meet the requirements for the Senior Exemption and have a total household annual income of $65,000 or less in calendar year 2019. 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. This exemption usually requires annual renewal but will be auto-renewed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Automatic Renewal: Yes, for tax year 2020 only, this exemption will automatically renew.

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. 

đź“Ś 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.

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Eligibility

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  1. Must be born in 1955 or prior. 
  2. Have a total gross household income of no more than $65,000 for 2019.
  3. Either own the property, or have a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020.
  4. Be liable for the payment of 2019 and 2020 property taxes. 
  5. Occupy the property as a principal place of residence on January 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020.

Please Note: The Senior Freeze Exemption freezes the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) of a home. A property's total tax bill depends on the EAV and the tax rate. Because the tax rate is calculated each year and can change each year, so can the property tax bill. 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.

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Documentation Required to Apply 

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  1. Proof of age and identity and occupancy in 2020. 
  • You can supply an Illinois Drivers License / ID Card, MatrĂ­cula 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 and an Occupancy Affidavit (included in the application):
    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 2020 (from Cook County Clerk’s office or Chicago Board of Elections)

     2. Proof of Property Tax Liability

  • If you are listed on the deed recorded at the Office of the Cook County Clerk, 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

      3. Total Household Income Verification

  • The application will guide you through what counts as income for every member of the household.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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When do I apply for a Senior Freeze Exemption?
Annual applications are ordinarily required for Senior Freeze Exemption recipients and the Assessor’s Office sends renewal forms in the mail early February. Renewal applications will not be required this year, however, as the Illinois state legislature added one-year auto-renewals to support homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic. Any eligible homeowner who received the Senior Freeze, Persons with Disabilities, or Veterans with Disabilities Exemptions in tax year 2019 (issued in 2020) will have these exemptions automatically renewed in tax year 2020. 

Are there other property tax savings available to seniors?
The Cook County Assessor's Office also administers the Senior Exemption.
The Cook County Treasurer's Office offers a Senior Citizen's Tax Deferral program, please contact their office at (312) 443-5100. 

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. Follow the instructions below. 

  1. 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,
  2. Complete an Affidavit of Person Claiming Senior Citizens Freeze Exemption Due to a Deceased Taxpayer form.
  3. Provide a copy of the death certificate.
  4. Submit a copy of their driver’s license or state ID along with a copy of your driver’s license or state ID.
  5. 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

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Learn about Certificates of Error

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The application filing period is now closed. You may apply for a Certificate of Error for the 2020 tax year after the second installment tax bills are mailed in the summer. 

Certificate of Error applications for tax years 2019, 2018, and 2017 can be filed now.