Take a look and give your reaction to Al Zielinski’s ideas for a Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Zielinski takes office as Grafton Township Assessor the first of the new year.
Initial, Conceptual Property Owners’ Taxpayer Bill of Rights Discussion Points
- Thirty business, not calendar, days for appeals to the Board of Review and the PTAB.
- Taxpayers can reschedule their Board of Review and PTAB hearing(s) once each with good cause.
- When the basis of the appeal is fair market value, Taxpayers can be represented by Illinois certified appraisers at county and PTAB hearings.
This is not practicing law because the appeal is based solely on valuation.
To the contrary, the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation is considering pursuing attorneys who appeal based on valuation because they are practicing appraisal without a license.
This position is further reinforced by McHenry County Board of Review rule III(C)(4):
“Agents who are not licensed through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) as a real estate appraiser or broker, and provide valuation evidence and testimony to the McHenry County Board of Review will be reported to IDFPR. Furthermore, only State of Illinois licensed and certified appraisers may submit appraisals as market value evidence. A taxpayer agent or representative who is not a licensed or certified appraiser and submits an appraisal or prepares documents and spreadsheets with qualitative and/or quantitative adjustments made to the comparable sales relative to the subject property will be reported to the IDFPR.”
- The burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, shifts to the Board of Review and PTAB when a market value-based appeal is supported by a USPAP-compliant appraisal performed by an Illinois appraiser for ad valorem purposes.
This is consistent with most counties’ Board of Review Rules. In McHenry County, it’s rule III(C)(3):
“Appraisal Evidence. The best evidence of fair cash value (in lieu of a recent usable sale price of a subject itself) is a professional appraisal done for ad valorem purposes, …”
- Taxpayers can recover court costs and fees if they prevail in court and the variance between their claim and the assessment exceeds a certain percentage. Supported by the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA), 28 USC § 2412: Costs and fees.
One example is Georgia’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (SB 177, Act 431, 1999 Session) which states:
“…if the court finds the final value to be 85% or less (80% for commercial property) of the board of equalization’s determination of value…”
- If assessments increase above a certain amount, a written explanation must be provided.
- If a Taxpayer’s appeal is rejected, a written explanation must be furnished.
- Licensure and regulation of assessors by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (would include individual license numbers).
The basis for the bill’s success is:
- similar legislation has been achieved in other states (if it can be implemented there, it can be in Illinois) and
- everyone “wins” without foregoing the revenue upon which many taxing bodies rely.
Potentially preferable legislation to House Bills 89, 95, 1499, 1521, 3676 and Senate Bill 1308 because it provides property taxpayer equity versus freezing much-needed local revenues.