Rep. Stephens Initiative to Eliminate the Need to Reapply for Senior Homestead Exemption Signed into Law

Chicago…State Representative Brad Stephens (R-Chicago) co-sponsored initiative to make the reapplication for the Senior Homestead Exemption automatic was signed into law by the Governor today.

“Mandating that seniors reapply for the homestead exemption every tax year creates unnecessary paperwork and confusion for seniors, as well as the local assessor. This mandate also made it more likely for administrative errors to occur,” said Stephens. “Under this legislation, the Cook County Assessor will now be able to more efficiently and accurately serve seniors.”

The senior homestead exemption gives a property tax reduction to homeowners over the age of 65. Currently that reduction is set at a maximum of $8,000 in Cook County. Before this legislation was signed into law senior citizens would have to apply for it every year, but now they only have to apply for it once, and the exemption will be automatically applied on that property until tax year 2023.

Under the previous law, taxpayers who received the homestead exemption were required to reapply for it on an annual basis. In every other county except Cook, the local county board was able to waive this requirement.

Earlier this year, a bill was signed into law that started this policy in tax year 2020, but the Cook County Assessor and the legislature worked to begin the program in tax year 2019. The legislation, House Bill 961, passed both houses unanimously during the fall veto session.