Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze

Property owners age 65 and older who have a total household income of $65,000 or less are encouraged to apply for the Senior Citizen’s Assessment Freeze. Applications and Federal Tax Returns are required. 

This senior freeze program may reduce your property tax bill by freezing the taxable equalized assessed value of your property, which impacts the total tax you pay.  It does NOT freeze your taxes, but it protects you from tax increases due to rising property values. Even if you have applied for and been granted the freeze exemption in prior years, you must renew your application annually. 

To apply for the senior freeze exemption, the applicant must: 

  • Be 65 years or older. 
  • Have a total household income of $65,000 or less for 2022. 
  • Have owned and occupied the home as their principal residence on Jan. 1, 2022 and Jan. 1, 2023. 

How to Apply:

All applications must be submitted online through the Lake County SmartFile E-Filing Portal or you can come to the Vernon Township Assessor’s office and we will help you submit it online. You will need:

  • Your 2022 federal tax return.
  • Driver’s License showing current address.
  • If the property is owned in trust, proof of beneficiary of the trust will also be required. 

To Apply Online Via Portal: 

  • Go to the Chief County Assessment Office's SmartFile E-Filing Portal at
  • Log in to your account, create a new account, or log in as a guest. 
  • Click “Available Filings” and choose “EX02: Senior Freeze Application (Annual)”. 
  • Click “Begin Filing”. 
  • Enter the tax year, 2023, and your property PIN or search by Owner Name or Address.
  • Follow the instructions to enter the required information and submit your application. 
  • Note that you will need to upload and submit your federal income tax return or other proof of income.
  • If the property is owned in trust, proof of beneficiary of the trust may also be required.
  • For assistance using the online tool, refer to the Senior Assessment Freeze Application Guide for E-Filing.

 Where to Get Help Completing the Online Application:

Assistance is available from the Vernon Township Assessor’s Office or the Chief County Assessment Office, 847-377-2050.