Property Tax Exemptions in Illinois

What is an Exemption?

Exemptions on property taxes lead to a reduction in property value assessment (EAV or Equalized Assessment Valution) and lower your property taxes. These are NOT a dollar for dollar reduction in property taxes. Some exemptions need to be filled for annually – as shown below.

Homestead Exemption

Do you live in the property your own? Assuming so, you qualify for a homestead exemption.

A homestead exemption offers the following in Illinois :

  • Reduction on the EAV of your home typically between $6000-$10,000 depending upon County.
  • Does NOT have to be renewed annually.

You can receive the Homeowner Exemption if you:

  • own or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes of the residential property, and
  • used the property as your principal place of residence for the tax year in question.

This exemption will be prorated if you purchased a newly constructed home that was not ready for occupancy until sometime after January 1 of the tax year in question.

If you have never received a Homeowner Exemption on your home, you will need to apply for one. Exemption forms may be obtained by calling or visiting one of the Assessor’s Office locations or your local township assessor.

Senior Exemption

Senior exemption is used on homeowner occupants aged 65+ to further reduce the EAV of their home.

If you just turned 65, you will need to complete an application with your County or Township Assessor. After that, most Countries allow this Exemption to renew automatically.

In Cook County, Illinois, you must have the following to qualify:

  • You must be 65 years of age or older during the tax year for which you are applying;
  • You must either own the property or have a lease or contract which makes you responsible for the real estate taxes; and
  • The property must be your principal residence. If you have moved or plan to move in the future, you may be entitled to a prorated Senior Citizen Exemption, based on the time of occupancy. To apply for a prorated Senior Citizen Exemption you must submit a:Senior Exemption application form,
  • closing or settlement statement,
  • copy of proof of age and residency

Longtime Homeowner Exemption

This exemption enables a property owner to receive an expanded Homeowner Exemption with no maximum exemption amount. To qualify there has to be a significant assessment increase to exceed the maximum amount set by the state legislature. Fewer than 2% of homeowners qualify for this exemption and applications will be mailed to those properties that qualify.

Requirements for the Longtime Occupant Homeowner Exemption for Tax Year 2018 state that you must have:

  • Owned and occupied your residence from January 1, 2008 to January 1, 2018
  • A total household income of $100,000 or less for income tax year 2016 and
  • An assessment increase for your property that was significant enough to exceed the maximum amounts set by the Illinois state legislature.

Senior Freeze

This exemption freezes the ASSESSED VALUE of the property and not the property tax bill! So, your property tax bill can go up, but, it will be dependent on the local taxing authority raising or lowering the tax rate.


Qualifications can change year to year depending on the County, but, here are some general qualifications:

  • Be 65 years of age of older in 2019,
  • Have a total gross household income of no more than $65,000 for 2018,
  • Own the property, or have a legal, equitable or leasehold interest in the property on January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019,
  • Be liable for the payment of 2018 and 2019 property taxes, and
  • Use the property as a principal place of residence on January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019.

Returning Veterans Exemption

Veterans returning from service, in ARMED COMBAT, qualify for a reduction in the EAV off their property.

To qualify the veteran must be:

  • an Illinois resident who has served as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, Illinois National Guard or U.S. Reserve Forces,
  • be returning from active duty in an armed conflict involving the armed forces of the U.S.,
  • owned or had a legal or equitable interest in the property and used it as a principal place of residence on January 1, 2018 and
  • be liable for the payment of property taxes.

Note, application with the County needs to be completed. Other application procedure includes:

  • If a veteran is discharged from active duty service, he or she will need to provide the Department of Defense DD Form 214 certified by the County Recorder or Recorder of Deeds or the Illinois Department of Veterans? Affairs.
  • If a veteran is still on active duty after returning home, they will need to provide military orders and a travel voucher showing the date of his or her return. The documents must state that they are returning from armed conflict involving the armed forces of the U.S. within the tax year that they are requesting the exemption.

Disabled Veteran Exemption

Veterans with a service-connected disability as certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are eligible for this annual exemption. It reduces by certain amounts the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) on a disabled veteran’s primary residence, very likely lowering the tax bill.

Exception levels can vary depending on the level and severity of the disability and whether combat caused this disability. Contact your Township Assessor for more information.

Home Improvement Exemption

The Home Improvement Exemption allows you to increase the value of your home with up to $75,000 worth of improvements without increasing your property taxes for at least four years.

This exemption can happen automatically, so long as permit is applied for, but it will depend upon the Village. If you plan on improvements of $75K+, it would be wise to contact your Township Assessor for further clarification.

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