Senior Exemption

Most senior homeowners are eligible for this exemption if they are 65 years of age or older (born in 1956 or prior) and own and occupy their property as their principal place of residence. Once this exemption is applied, the Assessor’s Office automatically renews it for you each year. A Senior Exemption provides property tax savings by reducing the equalized assessed value of an eligible property.

Automatic Renewal: Yes, this exemption automatically renews each year. 

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 later this year. To learn more about how the property tax system works, click here.

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Missing Property Tax Exemptions? Homeowners can apply for Certificates of Error(s)

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If your home was eligible for the Senior Exemption in tax years 2020, 2019, or 2018 and the exemption was not applied to your property tax bill, the Assessor’s Office can help you obtain a refund through what is called a Certificate of Error. 

Certificate of Error applications for tax years 2020, 2019, or 2018 can be filed now by clicking the links below. As a reminder, it is recommended to apply online so that the application can be easily tracked and our representatives can provide status updates.

Apply 

Download Form

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Current Tax Year

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The application filing period for the 2021 tax year is now closed. 

Download PDF & Occupancy Affidavit

As a reminder exemptions are reflected on the second installment property tax bill. 

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Eligibility

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  1. Must be born in 1956 or prior. 
  2. Either own the property or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes.
  3. Occupy the property as your principal place of residence in 2021. 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
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Documentation Required to Apply

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  1. Proof of age and identity and occupancy in 2021. 
  • A copy of one photo ID from List A must be provided along with an Occupancy Affidavit (the affidavit is provided within the online application). The name and property address must match the application and the date of issue must verify that you occupied this property in the calendar year 2021.
    List A: Photo IDs that verify identity and occupancy
    • Illinois Drivers License / ID Card
    • Matrícula Consular ID
    • City of Chicago ID Card
  • If the address on your photo ID does not match the property address, a copy of one document from List B and one from List C, and an Occupancy Affidavit must be provided. 
     
  • 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 2021 occupancy
    • Mailed bank statement
    • Mailed landline, cable, or internet bill
    • Mailed pay stub or Social Security Award letter
    • Voting record from 2021 (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 Cook County Clerk's Office, 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 Agreement
    • Stock Certificate
    • Occupancy agreement
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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 2021, 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? 

The Senior Exemption reduces the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) of a property by $8,000.  EAV is the partial value of a property used to calculate tax bills. It is important to note that the exemption amount is not the dollar amount by which a tax bill is lowered. Your property tax savings from the 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.

Please see the example below. 

$100,000 2021 Estimated Fair Market Value
X.10 Assessment Level (10% for residential properties)
$10,000 2021 Assessed Value
2.916 2021 State Equalizer
$29,160 2021 Equalized Assessed Value (EAV)
-$8,000 2021 Senior Exemption 
$21,160 2021 Adjusted Equalized Assessed Value
X.08 2021 Tax Rate (example; your tax rate could vary)
$1,692.80 Estimated Tax Bill in dollar amount


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 online. 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 2021, is the property still eligible for the Senior Exemption?
Yes, as long as your parent was alive and resided in the home on January 1, 2021, and used the home as their principal place of residence, the property would be eligible. Follow the instructions listed 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. Provide a copy of the death certificate.
  3. Submit a copy of their driver’s license or state ID along with a copy of your driver’s license or state ID.
  4. Provide letters of office, successor trustee paperwork, or power of attorney paperwork, if applicable.

I am no longer eligible for the Senior Exemption, how do I opt out? 
Please complete the Exemption Removal Waiver

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.

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Download Guides

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Certificate of Error Guide    Exemption Guide