Illinois Legislators Pass Bill for Auto-Renewal of Senior Exemption

Illinois Legislators Pass Bill for Auto-Renewal of Senior ExemptionA bill awaiting the governor’s signature will make it easier for property owners age 65 or older to get the senior tax exemption credit, which reduces the equalized assessed value of a home by $8,000.

The exemption saves eligible property owners an average of $300 in taxes, but last year the Cook County Treasurer’s Office reported that “as many as 31,000” eligible seniors in Cook County” had failed to reapply. The new bill would make the process automatic.

Under existing law, seniors have to reapply for the exemption every year.

The new law will take effect immediately after it is signed and will include eligible property owners in any Illinois county with a population of 3 million or more.

Cook County Assessor Pushed for Automatic Renewal Law

The provision was one of the pledges pursued by Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi who took office in January, and Kaegi is pledging swift implementation of the law.

Kaegi characterized the measure as lifting “a significant burden” from the more than 740,000 seniors in Cook County who had to reapply for the exemption every year.

“It’s another step forward in the modernization of operations in our office while also making these annual exemptions more accessible for seniors,” said Kaegi.

Do You Qualify for a Senior Exemption on Your Property Tax Bill?

  • You must be 65 years or older during the tax year in question. (Property taxes are paid a year in arrears.)
  • The property must be your principal place of residence—owned and occupied as of January 1st during the tax year in question.
  • There are no income requirements.

Property Tax Savings Available

According to the Cook County Treasurer’s Office, on average, seniors save between $250 to $300 on their property taxes with the senior citizen homestead exemption. Seniors are also eligible for the standard homeowner’s exemption, which, on average, reduces a property tax bill by an additional $400.

Seniors can also save money by appealing their property tax assessment, which is the only way to ensure you are not paying more than your fair share after all eligible exemptions have been received.  Appealing with the assessor’s office ensures that your assessment is thoroughly evaluated against a set of comparably situated properties. A second appeal before the Board of Review can result in additional savings.

We can help. At Kensington, we have decades of experience in analyzing the data underlying your property tax bill and a proprietary algorithm to identify the right comparable properties for making the strongest case for reducing your assessment. If you don’t have a strong case for appeal, we’ll tell you so. But if you do, we may be able to help you save thousands of dollars a year, protecting the value of your most important investment.

Find Out How Much You Could Save With a Free Property Tax Analysis

If you think you may be paying too much in property taxes, give us a call or click on the link below. We will do a free analysis of your tax bill. If there is a case to be made for a significant reduction and you hire us to assist in your appeal, you pay nothing unless you win.


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