Property Tax Exemptions for Homeowners

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Real Estate

Property taxes are a reality of home ownership whether you are in Cook County, DuPage, Kane, or most of Illinois.

Some homeowners in Cook County may be eligible for real estate tax exemptions for a portion of their home value.

With property taxes always rising, is extremely important that you take advantage of every exemption that you qualify for.

This information has been collected for your convenience and is also available at the Cook County Assessor’s Office Website.

List of Cook County – Chicago Property Tax Exemptions


Cook County Property Tax Exemption

Homeowner Exemption

The Homeowner Exemption provides tax relief by reducing the equalized assessed valuation of an eligible residence.

You can receive the Homeowner Exemption if you own or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes of the residential property. It must also be used as your principal place of residence for the year in question.

If you have never received a Homeowner Exemption on your home, you will need to apply for one. (PDF application)

Related Post: High Property Taxes Sending Illinois Homeowners Towards a Cliff

Senior Citizen Exemption

The Senior Citizen Exemption provides tax relief by reducing the equalized assessed valuation of an eligible residence. This savings is in the form of a deduction on the second-installment real estate tax bill.

Senior Citizens receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption automatically qualify for the Homeowner Exemption and do not have to apply for it separately. Senior citizens have to reapply annually for the Senior Exemption.

 You must be 65 years of age or older during the tax year for which you are applying;
You must either own the property or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes; and
The property must be your principal residence. If you have moved or plan to move in the future, you may be entitled to a prorated Senior Citizen Exemption, based on the time of occupancy.
To apply for a prorated Senior Citizen Exemption you must submit:

A Senior Citizen Exemption Application Form
A closing or settlement statement
Copy of a recent property tax bill
Copy of proof of age and residency
If you are eligible for the exemption, please complete and sign the Senior Citizen Exemption Application Form (PDF).

More details available at Cook County Tax Assessor’s website.

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 2016 will have the EAV of the property frozen at the 2015 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.

You must file each year in order to continue to receive the Senior Freeze Exemption and the requirements must be met each year.

To qualify for the taxable year 2016, you must meet all of these requirements:

Be born prior to or in the year 1951,
Have a total gross household income of no more than $55,000 for 2015,
Own the property, or have a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016,
Be liable for the payment of 2015 and 2016 property taxes, and
Use the property as a principal place of residence on January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016.
Those who are currently receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption will automatically receive an application form for the Senior Freeze Exemption.

Senior Citizen Tax Deferral

The Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral program is a tax-relief program that works like a loan. It allows qualified seniors to defer a maximum of $5,000 per tax year (this includes 1st and 2nd installments) on their primary home. The loan from the State of Illinois is paid when the property is sold, or upon the death of the participant. You may find additional information at:

Active Military

Military personnel on active duty are eligible to defer the payment of real estate taxes under the provisions of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act, as amended.

This deferral extends to taxes becoming due in the period between your active duty and 180 days from the release from active duty.

Federal law permits interest on taxes deferred in the amount of 6% per annum instead of the interest and penalties imposed by state law. State law allows the local tax collector to waive the interest.

Cook County waives interest for a period of 180 days.

Disabled Veterans Homeowner Exemption

Veterans with a service-connected disability as certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are eligible for this annual exemption.

It reduces by certain amounts the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) on a disabled veteran’s primary residence, very likely lowering the tax bill.

To qualify, the veteran must be:

an Illinois resident who has served as a member of the United States Armed Forces on active duty or State active duty, a member of the Illinois National Guard or U.S. Reserve Forces and has been honorably discharged,
have at least a 30% service-connected disability certified by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs,
own and occupy the property as the primary residence as of January 1, 2016,
have a total EAV of less than $250,000 for the primary residence, excluding the EAV of property used for commercial purposes or rented for more than six (6) months and
apply for this Exemption each tax year
A non-remarried surviving spouse of a disabled veteran may continue to receive this exemption if the same primary residence continues as such for the surviving spouse. Or, the non-remarried surviving spouse may transfer the exemption amount (or less) to a new primary residence.