The start of a new year is a reminder for seniors to take advantage of property tax savings by renewing & applying for their Senior and Senior Freeze Exemptions. However, this year a change in the property tax law has eliminated the renewal requirement for the Senior Exemption but kept it for the Senior Freeze. Homeowners who have received the Senior Exemption in the past should have received a postcard in the mail informing them of the new law. Those who have received the Senior Freeze in the past should have received their renewal application in the mail by now.
The initial deadline to renew the Senior Freeze is February 13th. Please contact the Township Assessor’s Office at (708) 447-7700 if you have not yet received your renewal application.
Exemptions for seniors are available to all homeowners born in, or prior to 1954. The Senior Exemption provides tax savings if the homeowner used the property as a principal residence any time during 2019. The Senior Freeze provides additional savings if the combined income of all members of the household is less than $65,000 and if the senior has been an owner/occupant of the property since January 1, 2018. These eligibility requirements are for the 2019 property taxes, which are paid in 2020, and the savings from all exemptions will appear on 2nd installment tax bills. Applications for exemptions can be found on the Township’s website or on the Cook County Assessor’s website at www.cookcountyassessor.com.
Tax relief is available for struggling senior citizens through the Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral Program. This program is administered by the State of Illinois and provides loans to seniors whose annual household income is $55,000 or less. The loans do not have to be repaid until the property is sold or the homeowner dies. An interest rate of 6% per year is charged by the state and the maximum loan is $5,000 per year. To qualify, homeowners must be at least 65 years old by June 1st of the year in which the application is made.
This year, the deadline for this application is March 1st and the application can be found online at www.cookcountytreasurer.com.
Also remember, 2020 is a reassessment year! Watch for notices from the Cook County Assessor’s Office in February.