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Property Tax Incentives: Historic Residences

Cook County awards tax incentives to owners of several different types of property. Eligibility is contingent on matching the description of at least one of several special assessment property classes.

Here are a few examples:

  • Many classes concern the improvement of a parcel of land.
  • Some classes are designed to encourage industrial development and commercial projects in areas that could benefit from an economic boost.
  • There is a class dedicated to multi-family rental housing.
  • Class C offers a tax incentive to developers who rehabilitate contaminated areas.
  • There is also a class specifically for section 8 housing.

This article will focus on the Historic Residence property tax assessment freeze.

What is the Historic Residence property tax assessment freeze?

If you buy an older home, you may have signed up for some expensive renovations. The Property Tax Assessment Freeze provides eligible property owners with a financial incentive to breathe new life into a historic building.

To qualify for this program, the home must be the taxpayer’s principal residence and registered as historic property. Qualifying building types include:

  • Single-family homes
  • Condominiums
  • Cooperatives
  • Residential buildings of up to six units

The National Register of Historic Places may individually list the property. It may also be considered a contributing property or community landmark within a National Register Historic District in Illinois.

Homeowners who invest their time and resources into preserving historic buildings provide a service to their neighbors and visitors to their community. Hull House and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie house were among Chicago’s first homes to be added to the National Register. Chicago is home to many historic theatres, religious buildings, museums, and homes. While these historic properties are appreciated by Chicagoans and visitors alike, there is a lot of work that factors in their upkeep.

Historic property homeowners must renovate the property in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Ten Standards for Rehabilitation ( 

The goal of this financial incentive is to encourage homeowners to preserve the facades and original character of historic property as much as possible. Renovations that completely change the home’s appearance will disqualify the taxpayer from the assessment freeze program. The expenses from the rehabilitation project must be at least 25% of the property’s value in the year the project began.

The Property Tax Assessment Freeze program keeps the assessed value of the home constant for eight years. It’s important to note that this program only freezes the value of the property. However, the program does not freeze property taxes.

Owners of historic homes and other recipients of tax incentives are still subject to fluctuating tax rates and should consider appealing their property taxes.

Property taxes unappealing? We can help!

Appealing your property taxes is one way to ensure that the amount you pay is fair whether you live in the north/northwest suburbs, south/southwest suburbs, or in the City of Chicago.

At present, Illinois is second only to New Jersey with the highest effective property tax rates in the United States. A 2020 study found that some Chicago area homeowners pay twice the national average in property taxes for a similarly valued home. Moreover, property tax hikes are slated for 2021.

Appeal.Tax can prepare your property tax appeal and handle it from start to finish. We understand local appeal procedures to help homeowners avoid being overburdened with property taxes.

Appeal.Tax has no fee unless a reduction is obtained. And we only charge a small portion of the overall tax savings secured. 

Since 2015, we’ve saved Illinois property owners over $100 million in reduced property taxes.

Contact Appeal.Tax today to discuss your Association, residential, or commercial property tax appeal. Tax Attorney Timothy Jacobs can be reached at 847-777-7270 or