The Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral Program
The Senior Citizen Real Estate Tax Deferral program is a tax-relief program that works like a loan. It allows qualified seniors to defer a maximum of $5,000 per tax year (this includes 1st and 2nd installments) on their primary home. The loan from the State of Illinois is paid when the property is sold, or upon the death of the participant.
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.
How do I apply?
- Applications are available at the Cook County Treasurer's Office after January 1 through the March 1 application deadline. You may also access the applications during the application period by scrolling below and selecting Forms IL-1017 and IL-1018.
- Fill out the application completely and provide photocopies, not originals, of the required documents.
- You are required to return your applications to the Cook County Treasurer's Office no later than March 1. There are no time extensions.
- You must apply each year you want to participate.
How much will it cost?
- 6% simple interest per year payable upon death, or at the time the home is transferred to a new owner or sooner, if the participant chooses to pay off the senior-deferral loan.
How much tax can be deferred?
- The maximum annual property tax deferral shall not exceed $5,000 per year. The lien fee amount for that year is not included in the $5,000 cap. For example, a taxpayer with an annual tax bill of $5,200 will only be able to defer $5,000. It will be the taxpayer’s responsibility to pay the remaining $200 to the Cook County Treasurer's Office.
- Please note that late payments are assessed a penalty of 1.5% per month until paid in full.
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.
REMINDER: Last day to file is March 1 of the year the taxes otherwise would be paid. There are no time extensions.