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Illinois-Cook County

You may be eligible to receive money back

Homeowners and renters may be missing out on millions of dollars in tax relief. AARP Foundation Property Tax-Aide is a free program that helps eligible homeowners and renters apply for property tax relief.

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Illinois-Cook County Program Overview

Assistance is currently available to help you prepare an application for property tax credits or refunds in your state. Keep reading to get started.

Cook County offers five property tax exemptions: homeowner, senior, senior freeze, persons with disabilities, and veterans with disabilities. All five programs require proof of identity, occupancy, and tax liability in 2021 (Senior Freeze also requires 2020 identification.) Once the homeowner and senior exemption is applied, it auto-renews each year — meaning you only have to apply once!

Homeowner Exemption

The Homeowner Exemption reduces the Equalized Assessed Value (the value you pay taxes on) by $10,000. The Homeowner Exemption is calculated by multiplying the savings amount ($10,000) by local tax rate.

Eligibility

You may be eligible if:
  • You either own or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes of the residential property
  • You occupy the property as your principal place of residence on January 1, 2021.

Application Deadline

Cook County second installment property tax bills for tax year 2021 will be mailed in late August. The anticipated due date is October 1.

Once this exemption is applied, the Assessor’s Office auto-renews it for you each year.

Required Documentation

Homeowners

  • The Cook County Assessor Exemption Application for Tax Year 2021
  • Proof of Property Tax Liability
    • Being listed on the deed recorded at the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds verifies property tax liability
    • The Assessor’s Office staff can verify recorded deeds so no documents need to be submitted
  • Proof of age and residency and occupancy in 2021
    • Proof can be Illinois driver's license/ID card, Matricula Consular ID, City of Chicago ID card
    • Name and property address must verify the application
    • Date of issue must verify that you occupied the property in or before 2021 and the name and property address must match the application
    • You may also be able to prove occupancy and identity by providing alternate forms of ID and documents such as a bank statement, utility bill, and social security award letter.

Senior Exemption

The Senior Exemption exempts $8,000 of assessed value from the owner’s tax bill. The Senior Exemption is in addition to the Homeowner Exemption. Those that qualify for the Senior Exemption automatically qualify for the Homeowner Exemption ($10,000).

Eligibility

You may be eligible if:
  • Must be born in 1956 or prior
  • You either own the property or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes.
  • You occupy the property as your principal place of residence on January 1, 2021. If you have moved or plan to move in the future, you may be entitled to a prorated Senior Exemption, based on the time of occupancy.
  • If you are a surviving spouse and 65 or over, you will qualify for this exemption in your name and can apply online.
  • Otherwise, your property will receive the exemption for the remainder of the year of your spouse’s death. You will then have to apply when you turn 65.
  • A parent who passed away in 2021 is eligible if the parent was alive and resided in the home January 1, 2021 as the principal place of residence.

Application Deadline

Cook County second installment property tax bills for tax year 2021 will be mailed in late August. The anticipated due date is October 1.

Once this exemption is applied, the Assessor’s Office auto-renews it for you each year.

Required Documentation

Senior Exemption

  • The Cook County Assessor Exemption Application for Tax Year 2021
  • Proof of Property Tax Liability
    • Being listed on the deed recorded at the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds verifies property tax liability
    • The Assessor’s Office staff can verify recorded deeds so no documents need to be submitted
  • Proof of age and residency and occupancy in 2021
    • Proof can be Illinois driver's license/ID card, Matricula Consular ID, City of Chicago ID card
    • Name and property address must verify the application
    • Date of issue must verify that you occupied the property in or before 2021 and the name and property address must match the application
    • You may also be able to prove occupancy and identity by providing alternate forms of ID and documents such as a bank statement, utility bill, and social security award letter.

Senior Freeze Exemption

The Senior Freeze Exemption "freezes" your property's equalized assessed value the year that you qualify for the exemption. The equalized assessed value does not increase as long as you qualify for the exemption.
Your tax bill may still increase if any tax rates are increased or if you add improvements that increase the value of the property. This exemption usually requires annual renewal but will be auto-renewed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligibility

You may be eligible if:
  • You were born in or before 1956
  • You own the property or have a legal, equitable, or leasehold interest in the property January 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021
  • The property was your principal place of residence on January 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021
  • The Total Household Income at this property was $65,000 or less in income tax year 2020

Application Deadline

Cook County second installment property tax bills for tax year 2021 will be mailed in late August. The anticipated due date is October 1.

This exemption usually requires annual renewal but will be auto-renewed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Required Documentation

Senior Freeze Exemption

  • The Cook County Assessor Exemption Application for Tax Year 2021
  • Proof of Property Tax Liability
    • Being listed on the deed recorded at the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds verifies property tax liability
    • The Assessor’s Office staff can verify recorded deeds so no documents need to be submitted
  • Proof of age and residency and occupancy in 2021
    • Proof can be Illinois driver's license/ID card, Matricula Consular ID, City of Chicago ID card
    • Name and property address must verify the application
    • Date of issue must verify that you occupied the property in or before 2021 and the name and property address must match the application
    • You may also be able to prove occupancy and identity by providing alternate forms of ID and documents such as a bank statement, utility bill, and social security award letter.

Persons with Disabilities Exemption

A Person with Disabilities Exemption is for a person with disabilities and provides an annual $2,000 reduction in the equalized assessed value of the property.

Eligibility

You may be eligible if:
  • You are disabled or became disabled during the 2021 tax year
  • Either own or have a legal or equitable interest in the property on January 1, 2021
  • You are liable for the payment of the property taxes on the property
  • You occupied the property as the principal residence as of January 1, 2021.
If a person's home previously received this exemption (previously known as the Disabled Persons Homeowner Exemption) and the taxpayer now resides in a facility licensed under the Nursing Home Care Act, their home is still eligible to receive this exemption if the property is occupied by that person's spouse or the property remains unoccupied.

Application Deadline

Cook County second installment property tax bills for tax year 2021 will be mailed in late August. The anticipated due date is October 1.

This exemption usually requires annual renewal but will be auto-renewed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Required Documentation

Persons with Disabilities Exemption

  • The Cook County Assessor Exemption Application for Tax Year 2021
  • Proof of Property Tax Liability
    • Being listed on the deed recorded at the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds verifies property tax liability
    • The Assessor’s Office staff can verify recorded deeds so no documents need to be submitted
  • Proof of age and residency and occupancy in 2021
    • Proof can be Illinois driver's license/ID card, Matricula Consular ID, City of Chicago ID card
    • Name and property address must verify the application
    • Date of issue must verify that you occupied the property in or before 2021 and the name and property address must match the application
    • You may also be able to prove occupancy and identity by providing alternate forms of ID and documents such as a bank statement, utility bill, and social security award letter.
  • One of the following documents must also be provided with your application:
    • Class 2 Disabled Person Illinois Identification card from the Illinois Secretary of State's office
    • Proof of Social Security Administration disability benefits which includes an award letter of total (100%) disability, pension statement, or statement showing compensation rated at 100%
    • Proof of Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits which includes an award letter or certification letter, indicating you are receiving pension for non-service connected disability
    • Proof of pension for non-military service connected disability
    • Proof of Railroad or Civil Service disability benefits is an award letter of total (100%) disability

Veterans with Disabilities Exemption

The Homestead Exemption for Veterans with Disabilities is for veterans with a service-connected disability as certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Exemption reduces certain amounts of the equalized assessed value on the primary of the veteran with a disability, very likely lowering the tax bill.
The amounts of those equalized assessed value deductions depend on the level of disability for property with equalized assessed value of less than $250,000.

Eligibility

You may be eligible if:
  • You are a veteran resident who has at least a 30% service-connected disability
  • You occupied the property as a place of residence in 2021
  • Your qualified residence has an equalized assessed value of less than $250,000, less any portion of that property that is used for commercial purposes
  • Served as a member of the U.S. 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
The unremarried surviving spouse of a deceased disabled veteran may continue to receive the exemption while the residence is the primary residence or transferred to another primary residence after the sale of the property that had been granted the exemption.

Application Deadline

Cook County second installment property tax bills for tax year 2021 will be mailed in late August. The anticipated due date is October 1.

This exemption usually requires annual renewal but will be auto-renewed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Required Documentation

Veterans with Disabilities Exemption

  • The Cook County Assessor Exemption Application for Tax Year 2021
  • Proof of Property Tax Liability
    • Being listed on the deed recorded at the Office of the Cook County Recorder of Deeds verifies property tax liability
    • The Assessor’s Office staff can verify recorded deeds so no documents need to be submitted
  • Proof of age and residency and occupancy in 2021
    • Proof can be Illinois driver's license/ID card, Matricula Consular ID, City of Chicago ID card
    • Name and property address must verify the application
    • Date of issue must verify that you occupied the property in or before 2021 and the name and property address must match the application
    • You may also be able to prove occupancy and identity by providing alternate forms of ID and documents such as a bank statement, utility bill, and social security award letter.
  • Applicants must also submit a certification letter from the VA and a Form DD214.
    • Disability certification or verification letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs must state the applicant has a service-connected disability for the tax year being applied for. The document must specify the percentage of the service-connected disability and specify the effective date
    • Form DD214 or separation of service from the War Department (military service prior to 1950) or Certification of Military Service Form
    • A non-remarried surviving spouse of a disabled veteran applying for the first or transferring the exemption must also provide their marriage certificate, the disabled veteran's death certificate, and proof of property ownership

Would you like to see programs in a different state?

Get help near you

These partner organizations can help you apply for property tax relief. Find one near you, and click Contact Us to request that they reach out to you with more information.

Pathlights

Address:
7808 West College Drive
Palos Heights, IL 60463
We are grateful for all our Property Tax-Aide partners in Illinois-Cook County:
  • Pathlights

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