CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Revenue today introduced the Seniors’ Estate Tax Deferral Program that allows qualified seniors to defer some or all of their property taxes and assessment payments special on their principal residences. Seniors who need help paying their property taxes have until March 1 to apply for the program.
The program, which works like a loan, allows eligible seniors to defer a maximum of $5,000 per tax year (including first and second installments). Deferred amounts are borrowed from the State of Illinois, which pays the tax bill to the county tax collector‘s office.
Interest on the amount paid by the state accrues and a lien is placed on the property for all deferred tax payments and interest, payable on the death of the owner, when the house is transferred to a new owner , or sooner, if the program the participant chooses to refund tax-deferred payments and interest.
“I encourage all eligible seniors who need help paying their property taxes to look into this program, as the March 1 deadline is fast approaching,” said Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) Director David Harris.
To qualify for the Seniors’ Real Estate Tax Deferral Program, a homeowner must:
• be 65 years of age or older before June 1 of the year the application is filed with the county collector’s office, • have a total annual family income not exceeding $55,000, • have owned and occupied the property or other residence for at least three years, • own the property, or share joint ownership with a spouse, or be the sole beneficiary, or the owner and spouse be the sole beneficiaries of an Illinois land trust, • have no unpaid property taxes and special assessments on the property, and • have adequate fire or disaster insurance.
To apply for the program, seniors should contact their local county collector’s office to receive an application. Once completed, the application must be filed with the tax collector’s office no later than March 1 of each year they wish to defer their property taxes or special assessments.
For general questions about the program, taxpayers can visit the IDOR website at tax.illinois.gov or contact their local county tax collector’s office.