Rehabilitating your older home is rewarding in many ways, and with the
Property Tax Assessment Freeze homeowners may be eligible for a financial
incentive that can make the work even more attractive. The program
can freeze the assessed value of historic owner-occupied, principal residences
for a period of 8 years, followed by a four-year period during which the
property’s assessed value steps up to an amount based upon its current
market value. This results in 12 years of reduced property taxes.
This program is administered free of charge as a benefit to Illinois
property owners interested in rehabilitating their historic homes.
The Property Tax Assessment Freeze Program benefits both the owner-occupant
and the community by:
- Rewarding owner-occupants for sensitively reinvesting in their homes
- Increasing the value of the rehabilitated property;
- Strengthening neighborhoods and housing within a community
- Encouraging landmark protection through the promotion, recognition,
and designation of historic structures;
If a rehabilitation meets all four provisions described below, the Illinois
Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) will issue a Certificate of Rehabilitation
for the property. This Certificate allows your assessor to implement
the assessment freeze for your property. To qualify for the Property
Tax Assessment Freeze, a property must:
- Be owner-occupied housing and the principal residence of the
- Single-family houses
- Residential buildings with up to six units as long as the building
owner resides in one of the units
- condominium buildings
- Be a registered historic building. For this
program, a historic building is:
- individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places
in any community in Illinois, or
- a contributing property within a National Register Historic District
in any community in Illinois, or
- individually listed on the Illinois Register of Historic Places
in any community in Illinois, or
- designated as an individual local landmark in a community that has
an approved preservation ordinance, or
- a contributing property within a local historic district in a community
that has an approved preservation ordinance
For letters d and e above, the cities and counties with ordinances approved
for the assessment freeze program (as of February, 2013) are: Aurora,
Belleville, Bloomington, Blue Island, Carbondale, Centralia, Charleston,
Chicago, DeKalb, Elgin, Elmhurst, Evanston, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Glencoe,
Glenview, Highland Park, Hinsdale, Jacksonville, Joliet, Kane County,
Lake Bluff, Lemont, Lockport, Lombard, Marengo, McHenry County, Morrison,
Mount Carroll, Normal, Oak Park, O’Fallon, Orland Park, Oswego,
Peoria, Quincy, River Forest, Rock Island, Rockford, St. Charles, Springfield,
Washington, West Chicago, Will County, Wilmette, Winnetka, and Woodstock.
If you are uncertain whether your home has been designated a historic
- contact your local landmark commission (http://www.illinoishistory.gov/ps/clgs.pdf).
- or, if you are a resident of the City of Chicago you can check your
historic status online at the City's Zoning Map at https://gisapps.cityofchicago.org/zoning/.
However, you will need to go to the right sidebar, click the zoning
tab, and then check the bottom field for the legend: "National
Register of Historic Places & National Historic Landmarks"
to get complete results.
- or, you can contact the IHPA National Register staff at 217-785-4324
to determine if your property is a registered historic structure.
For all other tax freeze application, policy, or procedures please
feel free to contact the Tax Credit Coordinator at 217-524-0276.
- Be rehabilitated in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's
- Undergo a substantial rehabilitation with a budget whose eligible
expenses equal or exceed 25% of the property's fair cash value, as determined
by the local assessor, for the year the rehabilitation started.
Eligible expenses are those costs spent on the existing building (see
for more information).
Step 1: Contact us early to see if you qualify:
- Determine if you have a registered historic structure (See Provision
- Determine the assessed value and market value (or fair cash value)
of your property by contacting your assessor or by referring to your
current property tax bill.
- Decide whether the work you have in mind will cost more than 25% (or
¼) of your property’s fair cash value.
- Feel free to contact IHPA to discuss whether your proposed work may
meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation at
217-524-0276. We highly recommend you submit Part 2 (rehabilitation
description plans) prior to beginning work and early in the design process.
Step 2: Review the following documents:
here for the Microsoft Word version of the Certificate of Rehabilitation
Application and application guidelines. Click
here for the Adobe pdf version.
- Click here
for Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Property Tax Assessment
Freeze Program. This information is contained in the downloadable
here for a Guide to Completing the Certificate of Rehabilitation
Application. This information is contained in the downloadable
- Review the Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards
for Rehabilitation” and “Guidelines
for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.”
- Click here
for of Illinois Administrative Code regarding Tax Incentives for Rehabilitate
Owner-occupied Historic Residences (in Adobe Acrobat).
here for the Revenue Property Tax Code Statute (35 ILCS 200/)regarding
the Property Tax Freeze Program.
Step 3: Fill out and submit Part 1 and Part 2 of the Application:
- Plans, photographs, and a narrative of the proposed work, in addition
to the Application form itself, allow IHPA to determine if your entire
project meets the Secretary of Interior’s “Standards for
- To count your own labor towards meeting your minimum expenditure,
use the Do-It-Yourself Labor Report form, available as a Microsoft
Word document or an Acrobat
- If you need additional description sheets for the Part 2, click
here to download three additional sheets in Microsoft Word, or click
here to download three additional sheets in Acrobat pdf.
- If you have any questions after reading the FAQs
and the Guide to Completing the Certificate
of Rehabilitation Application, please contact us at 217-524-0276.
- Once your preliminary plans are approved, proceed with the rehabilitation
- Contact us if there are changes made to the rehabilitation plans during
the course of the project.
Step 4: Request final approval – fill out Part 3 of the Application:
- When the project is completed, send us a new set of photographs showing
the completed work and documentation proving that 25% of the property’s
market value was spent on rehabilitating the existing building.
- Within 45 days of receipt of the complete and correctly drafted application,
we will determine if the project meets all the program requirements,
including the guidelines established by the Secretary of Interior’s
“Standards.” If the project is approved, a Certificate
of Rehabilitation will be issued.
- We will send a Certificate of Rehabilitation to your local assessor
and to the property owner. The assessor then makes the necessary adjustments.
- Applications for the Certificate must be submitted within two years
of project completion.
- If the property is sold within the eight-year freeze period, of if
its use changes from that of a single-family owner-occupied principal
residence, the Certification will be cancelled for the remainder of
the freeze period.
- Subsequent rehabilitation work must also meet the “Standards”
or the Certificate will be cancelled for the remainder of the freeze
- The property owner is required to file an affidavit with the assessor
each year verifying ownership and use.
- See the FAQs
and the Guide
to Completing the Certificate of Rehabilitation Application for
Opt Out Provision
Any taxing district may “opt out” of the Property Tax Assessment
Freeze Program by notifying the assessor and the county clerk at the beginning
of each calendar year. The Property Tax Assessment Freeze will not
apply then to taxes levied by that taxing district. To determine
whether any taxing districts in your area have opted out, contact your
assessor or county clerk. Properties that have already received
Certificates, or where rehabilitation has already begun, will not be affected
by a taxing district's “opt out.”
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