Completing and Submitting Your Assessment Freeze Application
Each of the three parts of the program application (Parts 1, 2, and 3) is downloadable from this webpage. Every project must complete and submit all three parts, but they and their supporting documents may be submitted separately. If you have questions, consult our page of Frequently Asked Questions, email us at SHPO.Freeze@illinois.gov, or call the Tax Incentives Manager at 217-524-0276. We have moved to digital submittals and reviews for this program and no longer accept hardcopy submissions.
PART 1: Certification of a Historic Building confirms your building is historic. (click here to expand/collapse this section)
Section 1, check the appropriate box for the type of historic designation. For buildings in historic districts, enter the name of the historic district. If your property is in the process of being designated, describe the status of that process.
- For locally designated landmarks, submit with your Part 1 the property's designation ordinance or a .pdf of your municipality's webpage showing the landmarked property.
- For properties in locally designated or National Register historic districts, submit with your Part 1 a map showing the boundaries of the historic district
and your property identified.
- If your property is in a historic district, use Section 3 to
briefly describe how it contributes to the district's significance. For example, how does it compare to surrounding properties in terms of age, architectural style, and/or materials? Is it associated with significant people or a historic event?
- Include representative exterior photos with your Part 1.
- Follow the instructions below to electronically submit your complete Part 1 to the SHPO.
- The SHPO will review your Part 1 and email the Project Contact.
PART 2: Request for Approval of a Rehabilitation Plan approves your proposed work as meeting the Standards. (click here to expand/collapse this section)
We highly recommend that you submit and receive approval for your Part 2 before you start any construction. Work that occurs prior to SHPO approval is at your own risk.
- In Section 2, the Estimated start date and Estimated completion date let the SHPO reviewers know how far along your project may be in design or construction. Projects under way or completed prior to the approval of the Part 2 are still eligible to apply, although
all work must meet the
Standards for Rehabilitation.
- In Section 5, describe your rehabilitation plan, both exterior and interior work, even if the work is an ineligible expense, such as new construction or site work.
Additional description sheets are available. Use a new numbered item for each component, such as a specific architectural feature or a space, like the staircase, wood floors, roof, windows, or the front parlor. Describe and approximately date the feature or space (example: "foyer, 1894; low bookshelf from 1990s"). Reference the appropriate photographs and drawings (if available) and explain the proposed work (example: "wood trim in foyer will be chemically stripped of paint then stained and varnished. The 1990s bookshelf will be removed, and the missing baseboard will be replaced with new, matching wood baseboard.").
- Include labeled,
exterior and interior pre-construction photographs. If any part of the project is underway or completed, include both "before" and "during/after" photos.
Exterior photos must include every façade, both up close and distant so that roof lines and chimneys are visible. Include views from the corners of the lots.
Interior photos should be similar to a "walk-through" and must include all the rooms in the building, even those in which work will not occur. Photos of major spaces (such as vestibule, foyer, stair hall, stairs, living and dining rooms, main hallways) should include overall views and details of distinctive elements, such as fireplaces, historic light fixtures, original doors, stained-glass windows, plaster details, molding, historic flooring, and railings. Include images of problem areas, such as previously repaired or missing elements, damage, and non-historic additions.
- Follow the instructions below to electronically submit your complete Part 2.
- After the SHPO reviews your Part 2, we may ask for more information, attach conditions that enable the project to meet the Standards, or (in rare cases) deny the project.
- Once we approve your Part 2 as meeting the Standards, you may confidently begin construction.
- If your approved work changes during construction, you must email the changes to your SHPO reviewer so that we can ensure the changes continue to meet the Standards.
PART 3: Request for Approval of Completed Work certifies your finished work as having met the Standards. (click here to expand/collapse this section)
Part 3 should be completed and submitted after construction is done. The SHPO bases its approval on the description in the Part 2. In the event of a discrepancy between the application and other material (such as architectural plans or specifications), the application takes precedence.
- Make sure that your Eligible Expenses (letter D) exceed 25% of your Assessor's Fair Cash Value (also called "Fair Market Value" or "Estimated Property Value") for the year you began your rehab work (letter A).
- To determine total number of housing units before/after rehabilitation (letter H), single-family houses have 1. If the property did not contain any residences (i.e., an adaptive reuse of a warehouse), the "before" number is 0. If you began with a building with 15 apartments (even if some were unoccupied) and ended with 12 condo units, then you enter "15" and "12."
The Project Starting Date (letter F) and Project Completion Date (letter G), are dates of your first and last rehabilitation expenditures, respectively, and must match the dates in the summary of eligible rehabilitation expenditures mentioned below. The time period between these two dates must not exceed 24 months, unless you have previously requested and received an extension.
Section 4, provide the name and signature of each owner who would like to appear on the Certificate of Rehabilitation.
- Include labeled,
exterior and interior post-construction photographs. Views should approximate those submitted with the Part 2.
- Include scans of
proof of expenditures, like canceled checks, paid invoices, credit-card statements with unrelated and sensitive information redacted, etc.
- Include a scan of your
property tax bill from the year you began your rehabilitation or other documentation from your assessor that shows the Fair Cash Value.
- Follow the instructions below to electronically submit your complete Part 3.
- After the SHPO reviews your Part 3, we may approve it, ask for more information, or ask for corrective measures to get the work in conformance with the Standards and the approved Part 2. If the Standards are not met, we will deny the project. Your reviewer will email the Project Contact.
- If the SHPO approves your project, we will e-mail a Certificate of Rehabilitation to you and to your county assessor. The assessor will then make the necessary adjustments to your property record.
- For the duration of your freeze, you must file an annual affidavit with your assessor verifying your continued ownership and use. If you sell the property within the 12-year freeze period, or if its use changes from that of an owner-occupied principal residence, the freeze will be cancelled for the remainder of the freeze period.
- All work done during your 12-year freeze period must be approved by the SHPO prior to construction to ensure that it meets the Standards. If work occurs during the freeze period that was not approved as meeting the Standards, your freeze will be cancelled for the remainder of the freeze period.
Electronically submitting your application
The SHPO digitally accepts and reviews applications for the Property Tax Assessment Freeze Program.
Please do not mail your application to our office. Instead, follow these instructions to apply digitally.
- Each electronic component of your application (i.e., signed Part 1, 2, and 3; continuation pages; photo key; architectural plans; and any other supporting documentation) should be separate ".pdf" documents. Name each of the documents as:
- <Town Name>_<Building Address>_<Application Part>_<Description of Component>
- Highwood_450 Great Ave_Pt 1_form.pdf
- Chicago_4800 Little St_Pt 2_plans.pdf
- Photographs must be placed into a folder and named for the address of the project. The images must be high-resolution, color images submitted as either:
- Individual ".jpg" files placed into their own appropriately named folder. Image files with the ".heic" extension will not be accepted. Each image should be numbered and named [Project] and [Room] or [Feature] (for example, "Photo 3, 208 W Adams, north elevation.jpg" or "Image 24, Jeweler's Building, main lobby looking SW.jpg").
- A single ".pdf." file named [Project] and [Application component] (for example "Jewelers Building, Part 2 images.pdf") and comprised of appropriately labeled images.
- Place the application documents and folders into one folder, omit any commas in the folder name, and compress or "zip" the folder.
- Click on "Advanced Options" and select "15 days" as the length of time your documents will remain on the State file-transfer site.
- Designate the recipient as either
SHPO.Freeze@illinois.gov or the email address of the SHPO architectural reviewer you have been working with on the project.