Deadline extended again for Senior and Senior Freeze Exemption applications

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Applications postmarked by Friday, March 30, will be on time

information provided by the Cook County Assessor’s Office

CHICAGO, Ill. (March 17, 2018) – Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios announced that his office has again extended the deadline for the Senior Citizen Exemption and Senior Freeze Exemption renewal applications and new applications for Tax Year 2017. The new extended application deadline is March 30, 2018. Any application postmarked by Friday, March 30, will be on time. (The original deadline was February 7, later extended to March 2.)

More than 270,000 applications were mailed in early January to seniors who received the exemptions last year. The Senior Exemption application is part of a booklet that also contains the separate, income-based Senior Freeze Exemption application.

The Assessor again stresses the importance of returning the applications in a timely manner.

”I extended the deadline so all seniors have extra time to return their applications to ensure they receive the expanded exemption savings this year,” Berrios said. “It is also important to remember that under Illinois law, seniors are required to reapply annually for both the Senior and Senior Freeze Exemptions.”

To qualify for the Senior Citizen Exemption for Tax Year 2017, the property owner must have:

  • been born prior to or in the year 1952,
  • owned the property, or have a lease or contract which makes them responsible for the real estate taxes, and
  • used the property as a principal place of residence

Note: The new law will increase savings this year for the Senior Exemption from $5,000 to $8,000 in Equalized Assessed Value (EAV). It is important to note that the exemption amount is not the dollar amount by which a tax bill is reduced. 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. The savings for a Senior Citizen Exemption are calculated by multiplying the exemption savings of 8,000 by the local tax rate.

To qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption for Tax Year 2017, taxpayers must have:

  • been born prior to or in the year 1952,
  • a total household income of $65,000 or less for [income] Tax Year 2016,
  • owned the property or had a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017,
  • used the property as a principal place of residence as of January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2017, and
  • been responsible for the payment of 2016 and 2017 property taxes.

Note: The new law expands eligibility by increasing allowable total household income to $65,000 from the previous limit of $55,000. There is also a new minimum $2,000 EAV deduction for the Senior Freeze, which will help offset increases in assessed value and help ensure that more seniors benefit from the Senior Exemption. 

“If you don’t qualify for the Senior Freeze Exemption because you exceed the income level, this does not mean you will not be eligible for the Senior Exemption,” Berrios explained. “The Senior Exemption has no income restrictions and I’m concerned that seniors might discard the entire booklet and not receive the Senior Exemption savings to which they are entitled.”

Seniors receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption automatically receive the Homeowner Exemption. Seniors receiving the Senior Freeze Exemption automatically receive both the Homeowner and Senior Citizen Exemptions.

Eligible seniors who have never applied for the Senior and/or Senior Freeze Exemptions in the past may visit www.cookcountyassessor.com and download an application, or contact the Assessor’s Office at 312-443-7550 and request a form be mailed to them. Applications for the Homeowner Exemption and additional exemptions administered by the Assessor’s Office will also be made available online.