Second Chance to Apply for the Senior Freeze Exemption
Earlier this year, Cook County property owners who had previously received senior citizen tax exemptions were mailed renewal applications. Unfortunately, about 60,000 seniors have not yet renewed this year’s Senior Freeze exemption. To make sure that everyone entitled to the Freeze receives it, the 60,000 seniors were mailed a second renewal application on August 17, 2023.
I urge seniors who receive the second Freeze renewal application to complete it as soon as possible. My office is available to help seniors and other taxpayers complete and file their exemption applications. All applications need to be returned no later than September 1, 2023 to ensure that it will appear on the 2022 Second Installment Property Tax Bill. If you have completed an application in April or May in my office, we have filed your application and you do not need to do anything further.
Changes during the Pandemic. The Senior Freeze is one of two property tax exemptions available for properties owned and occupied by people sixty-five years of age or older. Of the two tax breaks, only the income-based Senior Freeze exemption requires an annual renewal.
Until the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, it had always been necessary for seniors to renew the Senior Freeze by verifying that their income met the requirements of the Freeze exemption. During the pandemic, however, the annual renewal requirement was temporarily waived.
Since the worst of the pandemic has now passed, taxpayers seeking the Freeze again have to apply for it. The large number of non-renewals this year indicates that many seniors did not realize that the annual renewal requirement had been reinstated.
Eligibility Requirements. To qualify for the Senior Freeze exemption for tax year 2022 (appearing on tax bills to be paid in the fall of calendar year 2023), taxpayers must meet the following requirements:
- The owner of the property must have been born in 1957 or earlier;
- The property must have been the owner’s principal residence as of January 1, 2021 and January 1, 2022;
- The combined 2021 income for all members of the owner’s household must have been $65,000 or less.
Savings from the Senior Freeze and all other property tax exemptions will appear on the second installment of 2022 tax bills, which will likely be mailed at some time in November of 2023.