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What is the Long-Time Homeowner Exemption?

A miniature house sitting on a stack of moneyWhat is the Long-Time Homeowner Exemption and why am I not receiving it? That is a question lots of Cook County residents are asking. The Long-Time Homeowner Exemption enables property owners to receive an expanded Homeowner Exemption with no maximum exemption amount. The eligibility requirements seem straightforward enough.

You must have:

  • Owned and occupied your residence from January 1, 2010 to January 1, 2020.

  • A total household income of $100,000 or less for income tax year 2019.

  • A property assessment increase that was significant enough to exceed the maximum amounts set by the state legislature.

The first two requirements make it fairly easy for lots of households to qualify for this exemption. But, the third requirement is where most people become ineligible. A property assessment increase has to be significant enough to exceed the maximum amounts set by the state legislature. Savings from the Long-Time Homeowner Exemption would have to exceed the savings from the Standard Homeowner Exemption in order to qualify. To put this into perspective, of the 1.5 million residential properties in Cook County, approximately 11,000 properties qualified for this exemption last year. That is less than 2% of homeowners!

The Cook County Assessor’s Office automatically determines which properties qualify based on assessment increases. These properties should receive an application form in the mail in early March.

If you received an application for the Long-Time Homeowner Exemption from the Assessor’s Office, you should fill it out and return it to the Assessor’s Office as soon as possible. The discount will be applied to the second installment property tax bill that will be sent to you this summer.