Pursuant to Section 9-5 of the Property Tax Code (35 ILCS 200/9-5) the Board of Review hearby adopts the following rules and procedures in order that its duties may be performed in an orderly fashion and so that taxpayers may be informed as to their responsibilities.
The St. Clair County Board of Review is currently a part time elected board. The office is located in the County Courthouse, #10 Public Square, 5th floor, Belleville, IL. 62220. Phone: 1-618-277-6600, ext. 2493, 2489, 2488, and 2476(customer service). All sessions are held in the office of the Board of Review unless the hearing requires a larger environment. In the latter case, the Board will notify the appellant’s as to the assigned area.
Section 16-30 of the Property Tax Code defines the primary duty of boards of review. It states, in part, “…the board of review, upon application of any taxpayer, or upon its own motion, may revise the entire assessment of any taxpayer or any part of the assessment as appears to be just.” In order for a taxpayer to have his property assessment reviewed, a written complaint must be submitted to the Board of Review.
Upon a proposed increase, the Board will give the affected taxpayer an opportunity to be heard before adopting the increase by granting 10 days in which to file a complaint on the proposed increase. The following rules and deadlines, as required by statute, will be in effect.
Filing of complaints by Taxpayer or Attorney
I. Complaints must be filed with the Board of Review at its office within 30
days of the publication of the new assessment list using the forms prescribed by the Board.
When the Board has proposed an increase in an assessment; the taxpayer has 10 days from the postmark date of the notice to file a complaint on the proposed increase. Deletion and combination of parcel numbers, where there is no net increase in assessed value, requires no notification. The Board reserves the right to reduce an assessment on its own motion without notification.
II. Before the complaint will be accepted and docketed, the following
requirements must be met:
a. Complaints must be submitted in writing and signed by the property
owner or their attorney.
b. The line designated as, reason for complaint, (over assessed due to inequity,
market value is lower than assessed value, improvements removed etc…) and an assessed value that the taxpayer feels the property should be assessed, must be filled out.
c. Parties wishing to complain on multiple parcels must file a separate
complaint form for each parcel. If an appraisal is submitted for one property that consists of multiple parcels the report should allocate the full market value among the individual parcels.
Computing Time Limits
The time within which any act under these rules is to be done shall be computed by; excluding the first day and including the last. Saturday, Sunday, and legal holiday, of St. Clair County, shall be included in computing the time except when such time expires on Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, such period shall be extended to include the next following business day.
Representation before the Board of Review
Taxpayers shall have the right to complete and file a complaint form on property that they own or in which they have an equitable interest. Taxpayers shall have the right to represent themselves before the Board or through an attorney licensed in the State of Illinois. A complaint filed on behalf of a corporate taxpayer must be completed and filed by an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois, unless completion and filing of the complaint by a non-attorney is explicitly authorized by Illinois law.
Accountants, tax representatives, tax advisors, real estate appraisers and/or consultants and others not licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois may not appear at board hearings in a representative capacity. However, such persons may be called upon to testify at hearings as a witness and may assist parties and attorneys in preparation of cases for presentation to the Board.
Hearings before the Board
I. The Board does not follow formal rules of pleading, practice, and evidence, and will not hear formal testimony as such. The current assessed value, as certified by the County Assessor, shall be assumed to be correct and the burden of proof of going forward shall be on the appellant/complainant. Taxpayers and/or intervenors shall present substantive evidence in support of or in opposition to a change in assessment, with appellant going first. The Board may then question the County Assessor or their designee as to their valuation methodology. Since appeals from the Board of Review are de novo, there is no need to “make a record” before the board.
II. Power of the Board of Review during hearings:
1. In connection with any proceeding, the board shall have full authority
a. Conduct and control the procedure of the hearing.
b. Admit or exclude testimony or evidence.
c. Administer oaths and affirmations and examine all persons
appearing at the hearing to testify or offer evidence.
d. Require the production of any book, record, paper or
document at any stage of the appeal or of the hearing, which
is the foundation for any evidence or testimony presented in
e. Require the submission of briefs on issues of law raised
during the hearing within 30 days of the termination of the hearing.
III. Determination of Appealed Assessments
Market value Complaints
Market value is defined as the most probable sale price of a property in terms of money in a competitive and open market, assuming that the buyer and seller are acting prudently and knowledgeably, allowing sufficient time for the sale, and assuming that the transaction is not affected by undue pressures. This definition assumes that the sale is an arms-length sale, has had a reasonable amount of time and exposure in the open market, and the buyer and seller are knowledgeable and not related.
Evidence of market value may include, a) recent appraisal of the subject property; b) recent sale of the subject property evidenced by a copy of the sales contract and closing statement; c) if new construction: evidence of the cost of construction including the cost of the land and the value of any labor provided the owner or donated to the owner; d) three recent sales of comparable properties in or near the subject neighborhood, if possible.
When the taxpayer cites unequal treatment or lack of uniformity in his/her appeal he/she must prove by clear and convincing evidence that a disparity of assessments exists. The evidence must demonstrate that a consistent pattern of assessment inequities exists. Isolated examples of assessment inequities are not sufficient to substantiate an assessment reduction. [Kankakee County Board of Review v. Property Tax Appeal Board, 131 IL 2d1 (1989].
IV. Final Decisions of the Board of Review
All final decisions of the Board shall be in writing and mailed to the affected parties. Parties then have 30 days after the date of the written notice to appeal the decision either to the Property Tax Appeal Board per ILCS Section 16-160 of the Property Tax Code or may pay under protest and file an objection in court per ILCS Section 23-3 through 23-30 of the Property Tax Code. All final decisions of the Board of Review are subject to equalization per ILCS Section 12-40, 16-60, and 16-65 of the Property Tax Code.
I. Pursuant to Section 16-70 of the Property Tax Code, the Board of Review shall hear and determine the application of any person who is assessed on property claimed to be exempt from taxation. However, the decision of the Board shall not be final, except as to homestead exemptions. Upon filing of any application for a non-homestead exemption, which would reduce the assessed valuation of any property by more than $100,000, the owner shall mail a certified letter along with a copy of the application to the municipality, school district, or community college district in which the property is situated. The Board shall give the affected districts and the taxpayer an opportunity to be heard. In the case of all non-homestead exemption applications the Board of Review shall forward to the Department of Revenue the application and all facts in the case. The Department shall determine whether the property is legally liable to taxation. Any decision is subject to review under ILCS Section 8-35 and 8-40 of the Property Tax Code.
Processing of Exemption Applications
II. Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption
A. Pursuant to Department of Revenue guidelines, the Board of Review
may deny an application for the Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption (SCAFHE) for the following reasons:
1. Property is not improved with a permanent structure as of
January 1 of the year preceding the application year, or as of January 1 of the application year.
2. Applicant or deceased spouse was not 65 years of age during the application year.
3. Applicant already received the SCAFHE on another property.
4. Applicant’s household income exceeded $55,000.00(starting in 2008) for the year previous to the application year.
5. Applicant failed to disclose all members of the household.
6. Applicant failed to apply by the statutory deadline.
7. Applicant previously received SCAFHE, subsequently moved to a nursing home, and someone now occupies the residence other than applicant’s spouse.
8. Applicant not liable for property taxes for the application year.
9. Applicant not owner of record, or a holder of legal equitable property interest as of January 1 of either the application year or the year previous.
10. Property is not owner occupied and/or principal residence of
applicant as of January 1 of either the application year or the year preceding.
11. Any other just cause in which the applicant failed to comply
with Section 15-172 of the Property Tax Code.
B. Upon approval of the application, the Board shall determine what
the base year assessment shall be and any increase in the base year value due to any new improvements.
C. Applicants will be notified in writing if the application is denied.
Homestead Improvement Exemption
Pursuant to Section 15-180 of the Property Tax Code, upon receipt of a
reassessment notice or upon publication of the new assessment list; the owner of a
property used exclusively for residential purposes and occupied by the owner,
and whose assessment has increased solely due to a new improvement to an existing structure qualifies for a homestead improvement exemption. The amount of the exemption shall be limited to the fair cash value added by the improvement and shall continue for 4 years from the date the improvement is substantially completed or occupied. The maximum exemption is limited to $75,000 per year in market value.
I. Application forms are available from the Board of Review and must be completed and filed on the prescribed form no later than December 31st of the assessment year providing all notices have been published 30 days prior to December 31st.
II. Unless it is a quadrennial reassessment year or a mistake is found in the previous year’s equalized assessed value, the amount of the home improvement exemption will be the difference between the current year’s assessed value of the improvement as certified by the County Assessment Official prior to any equalization, and the prior year’s equalized assessed value of the improvement. Otherwise, it will be the fair cash value of the new improvement times the single year level of assessment as used by the Board during its complaint hearings.
Actions and Determinations of the Board
All actions, decisions, and findings of the board will be decided by a majority vote of the Board (a minimum of 2 votes). Hearings may be held by less than a majority of members and the Chairman may assign members to hold individual hearings.
Approved and Adoped:
The St. Clair County Board of Review
Charlotte R. Moore Chairman
Claire Prindable Board Member
Michael Crockett Board Member