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Relief for Seniors Struggling to Pay Property Taxes

Many senior citizens are having a difficult time paying their property taxes. Well, now they can take advantage of the Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral program administered by the Cook County Treasurer’s Office.

This program works like a loan. It allows qualified seniors to defer a maximum of $5,000 worth of property taxes per tax year on their primary residence. A simple interest rate of 6 percent per year is charged by the State of Illinois. The loan from the state is paid when the property is sold, or upon the death of the participant.

To Qualify, Participants Must Be:

  • Homeowners who are at least 65 years of age by June 1 of the year in which the applications are made.

  • Those whose household income is $55,000 or less.

  • Surviving spouses of previously approved applicants who are at least 55 years of age within six months of the taxpayer's death.

  • Those who have owned and occupied the qualifying property for at least the last three years.

  • Those who have fire or casualty insurance coverage for the qualifying property in an amount not less than the amount of the taxes being deferred.

  • Those who do not owe outstanding property tax or special assessments.

  • Those who have written approval from the spouse, if filing jointly, or Trustee, if the property is held in a qualifying Trust, to participate in the program.

To Apply:

  • Download the application from cookcountytreasurer.com

  • Submit the completed application and copies of the required documents to the Treasurer’s Office

  • The deadline is March 1, 2021. Applications after that date cannot be accepted

  • Homeowners must reapply every year

  • The First Installment for Tax Year 2020 is due March 2, 2021, but late charges are waived through May 3, 2021

What if there is a mortgage?

  • Although written approval from your mortgage lender is not required in order to qualify for the program, you should advise your mortgage lender of your intention to participate in the program and confirm that your participation will not violate any terms of your mortgage agreement. The same is recommended if you have entered into a "reverse-mortgage" agreement.

What if my property is in a Trust?

  • For first time applicants, starting with the 2012 tax bills and thereafter, the only form of Trust that the property can be held in is an Illinois Land Trust with the applicant or the applicant and spouse identified as the sole beneficiary(s) of the Trust.

  • All applicants must submit both the Trust Agreement and the Deed in Trust. The Trustee (the bank or Trust Company) and homeowner must both sign Form IL-1017. Senior citizens interested in participating with a property held in Trust should begin the application process as early as possible.

What if I change my mind?

  • The program is flexible. A homeowner may withdraw, keep the loan, pay off the loan and/or re-enter the following year.

Qualifying seniors interested in applying for this program must file their application by March 1, 2021. There are no time extensions.