Senior Exemption in Cook County NOW PERMANENT
If you’re a senior and you own a home, a new state law makes it a little easier for you to collect an often-overlooked property tax break that easily can run to hundreds of dollars a year.
Under a measure signed yesterday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, the Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption will be automatically renewed each year after once granted. That means people no longer will have to reapply every year, something that can be forgotten amid other daily concerns.
The Cook County Assessor's office estimates some 740,000 owners are eligible, but only 285,000 applied this year. People either aren't aware of the exemption or assume they’re covered already.
“With the signing of this new law, I am pleased to see our state government speaking with one voice,” said Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi in a statement. “Through intergovernmental cooperation and technological modernization within our office, seniors in Cook County will no longer be burdened with the need to reaffirm their age each year.”
The measure was sponsored by Illinois House Assistant Majority Leader Fred Crespo, a Hoffman Estate Democrat. Officials in the past have said they wanted folks to reapply every year because many houses annually pass from the hands of seniors to ineligible other others, because of sale or death.
The break is open to owners aged 65 and above and generally cuts a property’s equalized assessed value by several thousand dollars.
Seniors not currently receiving the exemption, and those who turned 65 in 2019, must apply for the senior exemption in 2020; their exemption will then automatically renew each year, Kaegi said. Seniors exemptions currently in place will renew automatically.