Senior Freeze Exemption

The current 2021 tax year exemption applications are now available!

Senior homeowners are eligible for this exemption if they are over 65 years of age and have a total household annual income of $65,000 or less in the 2020 calendar year. A Senior Freeze Exemption provides property tax savings by freezing the equalized assessed value (EAV) of an eligible property. This does not automatically freeze the amount of their tax bill, only the EAV remains at the fixed amount. Tax rates 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, this exemption will automatically renew for the 2021 tax year due to COVID-19. 

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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File a Senior Freeze Exemption for Tax Year 2021

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Homeowners can now apply for exemptions for the current 2021 tax year on a new single application!  It is strongly recommended to apply online so that your application can be easily tracked and our representatives can provide a status update. 

APPLY ONLINE

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. Have a total gross household income of no more than $65,000 for 2020.
  3. Either own the property, or have a legal, equitable, or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2020, and January 1, 2021.
  4. Be liable for the payment of 2020 and 2021 property taxes. 
  5. Occupy the property as a principal place of residence on January 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021. 

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.  
  • 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 on or before January 1, 2020.
  • 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, include a copy of one document from List B and one from List C, and an Occupancy Affidavit. 

  • 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 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)

     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

      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, however, renewal applications will not be required this year 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 the 2020 tax year will have these exemptions automatically renewed in the 2021 tax year.

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 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. 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.

I am no longer eligible for the Senior Freeze 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

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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 Freeze 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 Online

2020 Tax Year   2019 Tax year   2018 Tax Year   

Download Form

2020 Tax Year    2019 Tax Year   2018 Tax Year  

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