The Cook County Assessor’s Office Administers several money saving programs for homeowners that in some cases the homeowners are not aware of. These programs can save you as hundreds of dollars in property taxes but you need to be aware of them and apply for them. The savings are in the forms of exemptions.
The most common of these is the Homeowners Exemption. Owner occupied properties such as single family homes, condos, townhouses,
co-ops, and apartment buildings (up to six units where one unit is the primary residence) qualify for this exemption. The savings range from $200.00 to $2,000.00 per year depending on the local tax rates and assessment increases. First time applicants must have lived in the unit as of January 1st of the year in question. The Cook County Assessor’s office now automatically renews the exemption provided the property has not transferred ownership.
Depending on local tax rates, older adults who own and occupy their properties can save $160.00 to $250.00 in addition to the Homeowner Exemption. To qualify for this additional exemption you must have owned and occupied the property as of January 1st of the year in question and be 65 or older in the year in question. An exemption that is granted will be reflected on the Second Installment tax bill.
Qualified older adults can apply for a freeze of the assessed value of their property. Over time, in many areas, this program results in taxes changing minimally and often decreasing as surrounding properties continue to rise in assessed value. This is the most valuable Homeowner Exemption program. The value increases over the years as it eliminates the impact of regular re-assessment increases that may occur every three years.
To qualify the applicant must have owned and occupied the home on January 1, of the year in question, have a household income of $55,000.00 or less, and have been responsible for taxes for the previous years. Any exemption that is granted will be reflected on the Second Installment tax bill.
The Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral program is a tax-relief program that works like a loan. It allows qualified seniors to defer all or part of their taxes and special assessments 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.
Participants must be:
- Homeowners who are at least 65 years of age by June 1 of the year in which the application is made.
- Those whose household income is $55,000 or less.
- Surviving spouses of previously approved applicants who are at least 55 years of age within six months of the taxpayer's death.
- Those who have owned and occupied the qualifying property for at least the last three years.
- Those who have fire or casualty insurance coverage for the qualifying property in an amount not less than the amount of the taxes being deferred.
- Those who do not owe outstanding property tax or special assessments.
- Those who have written approval from the spouse, if filing jointly or trustee if the property is held in a qualifying trust, to participate in the program.