Illinois Senior Citizens Homestead Property Tax Exemption

This exemption is given to Homeowners 65 years or older regardless of income. There are several differences between the qualifications for this exemption and the General Homestead Exemption. Two differences are notable. The Senior Homestead Exemption makes no reference to the need for the property to be the "principal" residence and the provision made for leasehold interests in the General Homestead Exemption, albeit in rather limited circumstances, is specifically eliminated.

Qualifying for the Senior Homestead Exemption

To qualify for the exemption the person needs occupy and have a legal or equitable ownership interest in the property as shown by a written instrument. Leaseholds are specifically excluded. The homeowner also needs to be 65 years or older. However, they do not have to be 65 years old at the time of application. Provided that they will turn 65 during the taxable year they should go ahead and make application at the appropriate times for their county. The exemption is pro-ratable if the occupancy date is later than Jan 1st of the taxable year.

There is a provision made for residents of co-op apartments provided that the resident has an ownership interest in the property, other than a leasehold, and is responsible by contract for paying the property taxes.

The Senior Homestead Exemption and Other Property Tax Exemptions

The Senior Homestead Exemption does not prevent the use of any other exemptions. It is often taken in addition to the General Homestead Exemption or the Long Term Occupant Property Tax Exemption in Cook County. It may also be taken with the Expanded Homestead Exemption until such time as that exemption is completely phased out in Cook County. Homeowners who qualify for the Senior Exemption should check to see if they qualify for the Senior Freeze, which over time, can result in substantial property tax savings.

Additional Considerations

Request for Duplicate Notice of Delinquency

Outside of Cook County the person granted the exemption can request that another person receive a duplicate of any notice of delinquency in the payment of real estate property taxes. There is a 5 dollar administrative fee payable at the time of the request. The person requesting the duplicate notice can rescind the request at any time.

Application Process and Dates

In counties other than Cook the County Board can decide whether residents need to re-apply for this exemption each year. If they elect to require re- application they must send the application by mail. Check with your local assessor's office for the correct procedure in your area.

If you receive this exemption the assessor will also notify you that you may also qualify for the Senior Citizens Real Estate Tax Deferral Act

Continuation of Exemption If the Owner is Placed in a Nursing Home

The exemption continues if the owner is placed in a nursing home as long as the person owns the home and the home remains vacant or is occupied by a qualifying spouse.

The Actual Cash Value of The Senior Property Tax Exemption

The maximum reduction in the assessed value in all counties is 4000 dollars. Remember that if your home qualifies for only part of the year, you are still eligible for a pro-rated portion of the exemption.

Example Calculations of the Senior Homestead Property Tax Exemption

Below you will find a couple of examples of how to calculate an estimate of the actual cash savings the Senior Citizen's Homestead Property Tax Exemption provides.

Example One: Basic Calculation of the Senior Homestead Exemption

Scenario:

You are eligible for the full 4000 Dollar exemption and the tax rate where your home is located is 6.5 percent

The Math:

4000 X 6.5%=260

260 Dollars is the actual cash savings in property taxes that the exemption provides to you.

Example Two: Basic Calculation of the Senior Homestead Exemption combined with the General Homestead Exemption

Scenario:

You are eligible for both the full 4000 Dollar Senior Exemption and the full 6000 dollar General Homestead Exemption. The tax rate where your home is located is 6.5 percent

The Math:

There are two steps in this calculation:

First: Add the total amounts of the exemptions together

4000 (Senior Exemption) + 6000 (General Homestead Exemption) =10,000

Second: Multiply this amount, (10,000) times the tax rate, (6.5% in this example)

10,000 X 6.5%=650.00

650 Dollars is the actual cash savings in property taxes that the combined exemptions provide to you.

Example Three: Pro-rated Example of the Senior Homestead Exemption

Scenario:

You have purchased a newly constructed home, that did not qualify for the exemption previously, on October 1st of the taxable year.

The Math:

There are three steps to calculating a pro-rated exemption.

First: we calculate the daily rate of the exemption by dividing the amount of the exemption by the number of days in the year.

4000/365 Days= approximately 10.95 per day

Second: we find the number of days remaining in the year from the date of eligibility which in this case is 92 days. We then multiply the daily amount of the exemption times the number of days

10.95 x 92=1007.40

This gives us the pro-rated amount of the exemption to which you are entitled to. (1007.40)

Third: we multiply the pro-rated amount of the exemption you are entitled to from the last calculation, (1007.40), times the tax rate in the area your home is located, for our purposes we will use 6.5%

1007.40 X 6.5%=65.48

This final figure (65.48) is the actual cash savings the exemption has provided you in this case.

 

The full text of the section of the Illinois Property Tax Code that addresses this exemption can be found here:
Illinois Senior Citizens Homestead Property Tax Exemption