SENIOR CITIZEN ASSESSMENT FREEZE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION

Senior Celebration

HERE’S ANOTHER WAY TO SAVE MONEY IF YOU ARE SIXTY-FIVE OR OLDER.  THE INFORMATION BELOW IS FOR RESIDENTS OF KANE COUNTY. INCOME MAXIMUMS AND DEADLINE DATES VARY FROM COUNTY TO COUNTY.  CONTACT YOUR COUNTY ASSESSMENT OFFICE FOR INSTRUCTIONS AND THE APPROPRIATE FORM.  INFORMATION AND FORMS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET. 

 IF YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE, THINK ABOUT YOUR PARENTS OR OLDER FRIENDS.  TELL THEM ABOUT THE PROGRAM.  HAVE THEM CONTACT THEIR COUNTY ASSESSMENT OFFICE.  REMEMBER THAT INCOME MAXIMUMS AND DEADLINE DATES VARY FROM COUNTY TO COUNTY.

IF YOU OR YOUR PARENTS OR OLDER FRIENDS WERE NOT AWARE OF THE PROGRAM AND FAILED TO APPLY, HAVE THEM CONTACT THEIR ASSESSOR’S OFFICE.  IT MAY BE POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO SEEK THE BENEFITS RETROACTIVELY FOR AT LEAST A FEW YEARS. 

SENIOR CITIZEN ASSESSMENT FREEZE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION

 Are you upset that your real estate tax bill keeps increasing each year?  Are you sure that you are getting all the exemptions for which you qualify?  Are you aware of the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption for property owners over 65?

What is the “Senior Freeze” exemption?

The Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption reduces the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) of a home by the difference of a home between the 2016 Equalized Assessed Value and the Equalized Assessed Value of the “Base Year.”  The base year generally is the year prior to the year the taxpayer first receives the exemption.  This exemption does not freeze the amount of a property tax bill, which could change if the tax rate changes.  The assessment and tax bill may increase if improvements are added to the home.  oswHowever, if the Equalized Assessed Value of the home decreases in the future, the taxpayer will benefit from any reduction.

Who is eligible?

At least one of the owners of the property must

  • Be sixty-five or older by December 31, 2015.
  • Own the property or have an equitable interest in it by written instrument or had a leasehold interest in the single family home.
  • Use the property as his principal residence on both January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2016.
  • Have a total household income of $55,000 or less in 2015.

What is a household?   

A household means the applicant, the applicant’s spouse, and all persons who use the residence of the applicant as their principal dwelling place on January 1, 2016, whether they pay rent or not.

What is included in household income?

Household income includes your income, your spouse’s income, and the income of all persons living in the house.  Examples of income are listed below:

  • Alimony or maintenance received
  • Annuity benefits
  • Black Lung benefits
  • Business income, including capital gains
  • Cash assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services and/or any other governmental cash assistance
  • Cash winnings from other such sources as raffles, lotteries, and gambling
  • Civil Service benefits
  • Damages awarded in a lawsuit for nonphysical injury or sickness (for example, age discrimination or injury to reputation)
  • Dividends
  • Farm income
  • Illinois Income Tax Refund
  • Interest, including interest received on life insurance policies
  • Long term care insurance (federally taxable portion only)
  • Lump sum Social Security payments
  • Miscellaneous income from rummage sales, recycling aluminum, baby sitting, etc.
  • Military retirement pay based on age or length of service
  • Monthly insurance benefits
  • Pension and IRA benefits (federally taxable portion only)
  • Railroad Retirement benefits
  • Rental income
  • Social Security income
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
  • Unemployment compensation (all)
  • Wages, salaries and tips
  • Workers’ Compensation Act Income
  • Workers’ Occupational Disease Act income

What is not included in household income?

Examples of income that are not included in household income are listed below.

  • Cash gifts and loans
  • Child support payments
  • Circuit Breaker grants
  • COBRA Subsidy Payments
  • Damages paid from a lawsuit for a physical injury or sickness
  • Energy Assistance payments
  • Federal income tax refunds
  • IRAs “rolled over” into other retirement accounts, unless “rolled over” into a Roth IRA
  • Lump sums from inheritances or insurance policies
  • Money borrowed against a life insurance policy or from any financial institution
  • Reverse mortgage payments
  • Spousal impoverishment payments
  • Stipends from Foster Parents and Foster Grandparent programs
  • Veterans’ benefits

When must I file?

If you are eligible for the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption, you should file the appropriate form with the County Assessment Office by July 1, 2016.  You must file an application every year to continue to receive an exemption.  The eligibility requirements under “Who is eligible?” must be met each year.  Additional documentation (i.e., birth certificates, tax returns, etc.) may be required by the County Assessment Office to verify the information on this application.

What if I need additional assistance?

If you have questions, please contact the Kane County Assessment Office at (630) 208-3818.

 by Karen Centowski