The Illinois Homestead Exemption Program

Through different types of exemptions, this program either reduces or defers an increase in the equalized value of your property. The net effect of these exemptions is to lower the assessed valuation to which the tax rate is then applied. As explained below, qualifications and application procedures vary for each program. However, you must own the property and it must be used as your principal residence to qualify for any of these exemptions.

Homestead Limited Exemption

This exemption lowers the equalized assessed value of your property by $6,000. To receive this exemption, you must:

  •  Have lived on the property on or before January 1st of the tax year; otherwise, the value may be prorated for the portion of the year that it was owner occupied.
  • Have the exemption initiated by the Township Assessor’s Office.

 Homestead Improvement Exemption

This exemption defers for four years any increase in the assessment of your property due to an addition or other improvement to your home for which the township assessor would add value.

  • A maximum of $25,000 of assessed ($75,000 market) value may be deferred under this program.
  • The Township Assessor’s Office initiates and monitors properties for this exemption.
  • The property has to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Senior Homestead Exemption

This exemption lowers the equalized assessed value of your property by $5,000, and may be claimed in addition to the Homestead Limited Exemption. To receive this exemption, you must:

  • Have lived on the property on or before January 1 of the tax year.
  • Have reached age 65 during the tax year.
  • Apply for the exemption at the Township Assessor’s Office. You will need to bring a copy of the deed to the property and proof of age with you when you apply.
  • If property is in a trust, a copy of the trust as well as the trust agreement is needed. The trust agreement must state the beneficiary’s name.

 Senior Citizens Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption

This exemption freezes the assessment on your property, but does not freeze the tax rate. This exemption may be claimed in addition to those described above. You need to understand that the actual taxes which you pay, may continue to increase based upon the amounts levied by the taxing bodies where you reside (school, park, village or city, township, etc.).

The filing deadline for this exemption is September 15 of each year. Forms will be mailed to all individuals who have a senior homestead exemption in mid-summer. To receive this exemption, you must:

  • Have fulfilled a property residency requirement as explained on the application form.
  • Be age 65 or older.
  • Have a maximum household income of $55,000 or less. This household income includes that of all persons using the property as their principal dwelling place on January 1 of the tax year.
  • Please note that this exemption must be renewed annually. The Chief County Assessment Office mails applications to all taxpayers receiving the Senior Homestead Exemption.
  • First-time applicants can obtain forms from the Chief County Assessment Office or your local township assessors office.

Disabled Persons’ Homestead Exemption

This exemption lowers the equalized assessed value of your property by $2,000 starting in tax year 2007, and may be claimed in addition to the General Homestead Exemption and the Senior Citizens’ Homestead Exemptions, if applicable. This exemption cannot be claimed in addition to the Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homestead Exemption or the Disabled Veterans’ Exemption.

  • Have lived on the property on or before January 1 of the tax year.
  • Be disabled under the Federal Social Security Act and supply either:
    • A copy of your Illinois Disabled Person Identification Card stating that you are under a Class 2 disability (for each year you qualify); or
    • Proof of Social Security Administration Social Security Benefits. This proof includes an award letter, verification letter, or annual cost of living adjustment.

Whichever you supply, it must indicate that the benefits are for disability; or

  • Proof of Veterans Administration disability benefits which would be an award letter showing total 100% disability; or
  • Proof of Railroad or Civil Service disability benefits which would be an award letter showing a total 100% disability.
  • Please note that this exemption requires annual renewal. The Chief County Assessment Office will mail forms each year to all disabled persons who received the exemption in the prior year.

First-time applicants can obtain forms from the Chief County Assessment Office or your local Township Assessor.

Disabled Veterans’ Standard Homestead Exemption

This exemption provides a reduction in equalized assessed value (outlined below) of a primary residence occupied by a veteran with a disability, or the veteran’s surviving spouse. This exemption can be claimed in addition to the General Homestead Exemption and the Senior Homestead Exemption. However, it cannot be claimed in addition to the Disabled Veterans Exemption (specially adaptive housing) of $100,000, or the Homestead Exemption for Persons with Disabilities.

  • A disabled veteran with a 70% or higher service-connected disability will be tax exempt.
  • A disabled veteran with at least 50%, but less than 70% service-connected disability will receive a $5,000 reduction in the property’s EAV.
  • A disabled veteran with at least 30%, but less than 50% service-connected disability will receive a $2,500 reduction in property’s EAV.

Returning Veterans’ Homestead Exemption

This exemption started in tax year 2007 and lowers the equalized assessed value (EAV) of your property by $5,000 in the year you return from active duty in an armed conflict. It is a one-year exemption and can be claimed in addition to the General Homestead Exemption and any applicable Senior Citizens’ Exemptions. Note that a veteran who dies during his or her active duty service is eligible to receive this exemption. To receive this exemption, please contact your Township Assessor or the Chief County Assessment Office.

Applications can be found on the Lake County website

Forms must be returned to:

Chief County Assessment Office
18 North County Street – 8th Floor
Waukegan, Illinois 60085-4335

 

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