Evanston residents 65 years of age or older should have received renewal forms for senior citizen property tax exemptions already, and must file them by Feb. 27, 2015. Local seniors should feel free to call the Property Tax Assessment Review office at 847-448-8168 for help completing the forms.

The recently mailed senior applications are for the 2014 property taxes, which are paid in calendar year 2015. The savings from the exemptions will appear on the second installment tax bills that will likely be mailed in late June of 2015 and will be due August 1, 2015.

There are two senior tax exemptions:

  • The Senior Exemption, available to all seniors regardless of income, reduces property taxes by about $400-$500. It is available to any owner-occupied residential property if the owner was born in 1949 or earlier.
  • The Senior Freeze may provide some seniors with additional savings if the combined 2013 income of all members of the household was less than $55,000, and if the senior has been an owner-occupant of the property since January 1, 2013.

Information for Seniors Who Did Not Receive Mailings
Homeowners who were born in 1949 turned age 65 in 2014, and thus are likely to be eligible for one of the senior exemptions for the first time. Taxpayers who recently turned 65 will probably not receive applications when the senior renewal forms are mailed. Such individuals are encouraged to call the Property Tax Assessment Review Office at 847-448-8168 to obtain the forms and information necessary to receive the senior exemptions. The forms are also available online at CookCountyAssessor.com.

Information for Homeowner Exemption
Homeowners who purchased a home in 2013, and possibly 2014, may be eligible to receive the Homeowner Exemption, which would reduce property taxes by about $600-$700, if the home is their primary residence. New homeowners will only need to apply for the Homeowner Exemption once. It will be automatically applied each year thereafter.

Law on Erroneous Exemptions Relating to Seniors
Owners of properties that erroneously receive tax exemptions can be made to repay the tax savings from any exemption for which they are not eligible. To avoid erroneous senior citizen exemptions, it is important to understand the eligibility rules for such exemptions. Although generally straightforward, the rules can be confusing when a senior moves.

If a senior was in residence on January 1, 2014, the property should be eligible for the 2014 senior exemptions (paid in 2015), even if the senior citizen no longer lives on the property. However, in most cases, the property will not be eligible for senior tax exemptions in subsequent years.

Residents with questions about eligibility for the senior exemptions should call Mitzi Gibbs, Tax Assessment Reviewer, at 847-448-8168.