What exactly qualifies someone for a senior homeowner exemption? Is it simply the age of 65 or does it have to do with income level? Can a senior homeowner exemption be combined with the Homeowner Exemption?

Terry Says:

I’m going to assume you live in Illinois because I may have discussed this on my weekly radio appearances in Chicago on WGN Radio.  (But those who live in other states should check for benefits for seniors on local property taxes. The best place to start is with your state treasurer’s office or perhaps the county assessor’s office.)

In Illinois, there are two programs that reduce property taxes for seniors, and they do not depend on income level.  Here are the rules:

Senior Citizen Homestead Exemption

Seniors can save, on average, up to $300 a year in property taxes, and up to $750 when combined with the Homeowner Exemption. The applicant must have owned and occupied the property as of January 1 and must have been 65 years of age or older during the tax year in question.

3. Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Exemption

Qualified senior citizens 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 reassessment increases that may occur every three years.

For Tax Year 2016, the applicant must have owned and occupied the home on January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016 and have been responsible for the 2015 and 2016 taxes.

Here is a link to the Cook County treasurer’s website from which this link was taken.