Thanks to a special pandemic-related law, money-saving property tax exemptions for most owner-occupied homes will be automatically renewed this year. The automatic renewal will be issued to homeowners who bought their homes prior to 2020 and received exemptions on their tax bills last year.

Some homeowners will have to apply for exemptions this year. For example, any homeowner who purchased a home in 2020 will have to complete an exemption application. Homeowners can either apply online at www.cookcountyassessor.com or wait until they receive an exemption application in the mail.  

In addition, homeowners who recently turned 65 or were recently diagnosed with a disability will likely not receive applications for the senior or disabled exemptions in the mail, and should apply for the appropriate exemption now. The Oak Park Township Assessor’s Office is available to help taxpayers who need help applying for tax exemptions. 

What are the eligibility requirements for senior citizen exemptions? Those born in 1956 or earlier who used their homes as a principal residence in 2021 are eligible for the Senior Citizen Exemption. Last year, the taxes of Oak Park homes receiving the Senior Citizen Exemption were reduced by about $900. 

The Senior Freeze Exemption provides additional tax savings for low- to moderate-income seniors. To be eligible for this year’s freeze, the combined income of all people in the senior’s household must have been less than $65,000 in calendar year 2020, and the senior must have been an owner-occupant of the property since Jan. 1, 2020.  

What if you received an exemption last year but your eligibility for the exemption has changed? If there has been a change in your eligibility for tax exemptions, you should contact the offices of the township or county assessor to ensure that you receive the correct exemption. For example, eligibility for the Senior Freeze can change if a senior citizen’s household income was below the $65,000 threshold and is now above it, or vice versa. In addition, eligibility for a Disabled Veterans Exemption can change if the veteran’s level of disability has recently changed.  

Savings from all property tax exemptions will appear on second installment tax bills that will be mailed later this year. The Oak Park Township Assessor’s Office is available to answer any questions taxpayers have about exemptions. The rules regarding eligibility for exemptions can be confusing. Taxpayers with questions about exemptions should feel to call. 

Ali ElSaffar 
Oak Park Township Assessor
708-383-8005

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