This exemption provides seniors with limited income protection against real estate tax increases due to rising property values. This exemption is NOT a tax freeze or a tax reduction and does not protect against increased taxes due to tax rate increases. This exemption provides for a base year frozen assesssment, so it can potentially provide increased savings each year a senior is eligible during times of increasing assessments. 
To qualify, you must have a total household income of less than $55,000 (including both taxable and non-taxable income), own and occupy the property on January 1st of the application year and the prior base year, and be liable for payment of real estate taxes on the property. In some cases, the surviving spouse of an eligible senior citizen may qualify. 
To apply, senior taxpayers must complete an application affidavit (pink PTAX 340 form). This form must be signed and notarized. Income from all household members needs to be itemized and totaled for the year prior to the applicaiton year. This exemption is required to be filed for every year by the July 1st deadline. Applications are mailed by the Supervisor of Assessments to those senior taxpayers who had the Senior Citizen Assesment Freeze Homestead Exemption the prior year. 

UPDATE: Per the Winnebago County Press Release (link here), a new law came into effect for the 2018 tax year (payable in 2019) which changes the maximum total household income eligible to qualify for the exemption from $55,000 to $65,000. The $55,000 limit is still in effect for the 2017 tax year, payable in 2018, and earlier years. Seniors who may be eligible for this exemption should receive notifciation from Winnebago County by mid-March 2018. The 2018 Assessment Freeze Application can be found here.

Please contact the Winnebago County Supervisor of Assessments Office (815) 319-4460 with any questions.