Senior Freeze 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 2019 will have the EAV of the property frozen at the 2018 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 2019 (billed in 2020), you must meet all of these requirements:

  • Be 65 years of age of older in 2019,
  • Have a total gross household income of no more than $65,000 for 2018,
  • Own the property, or have a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019,
  • Be liable for the payment of 2018 and 2019 property taxes, and
  • Use the property as a principal place of residence on January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019.

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.

When do I apply for a 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.

The Cook County Assessor's Office sends renewal forms in the mail every January to past-year recipients of the Senior Freeze Exemption.

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 312/443-5100 has a Senior Citizen's Tax Deferral program. 

How do I apply for tax year 2019?

The second-installment property tax bills issued in summer 2020 reflect exemptions for Tax Year 2019. If you were eligible in Tax Year 2019 but this exemption is not on your bill, you can apply for a refund or corrected bill by filing for a certificate of error. Learn more here.