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09/11/87 Lutheran Child and Family v. the Department of Revenue

September 11, 1987

LUTHERAN CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

513 N.E.2d 587, 160 Ill. App. 3d 420, 112 Ill. Dec. 173 1987.IL.1328

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. S. Bruce Scidmore, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE DUNN delivered the opinion of the court. HOPF and INGLIS, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE DUNN

The defendant, the Illinois Department of Revenue (Department), appeals from the judgment of the circuit court which reversed the Department's denial of a property tax exemption for two buildings on a parcel of real estate owned by the plaintiff, the Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois , a not-for-profit corporation organized to provide social services. The sole issue on appeal is whether the trial court erred when it determined that the buildings in question, the residence of the superintendent of grounds and an apartment building for six staff members, met the requirements for exempt status set forth in sections 19.2 and 19.7 of the Revenue Act of 1939 (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 120, pars. 500.2, 500.7).

On April 17, 1983, the board of review of Du Page County denied exemptions for the two buildings in question. The Department agreed with the denial, and LCFS requested an administrative hearing. The following are the undisputed facts.

Lutherbrook Children's Center (Lutherbrook), located in Addison, Illinois, is a residential care and treatment facility licensed to serve 36 children. These children have all been diagnosed as having either emotional and/or behavioral problems. The parcel at issue concerns the tax-exempt status of two buildings on a four-building lot.

Building No. 1 is a residential structure occupied by the maintenance man. At the time of the hearing, this building had been used exclusively as a residence for the maintenance man, whose duties include physical plant repair and grounds upkeep from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, although he is also available for emergencies. The director of Lutherbrook testified that the maintenance man is requested to do off-hours repairs several times a week and no one else at Lutherbrook could make these off-hours repairs. The maintenance man lives at the residence rent-free, and this arrangement is considered part of his salary.

Building No. 2, known as Chapman House, consists of six one-room apartments for staff employees and a storage facility for Lutherbrook's van, tractor and bicycles. These small units contain a kitchen and washroom facility. Previously, the Department determined that the garage portion, which constitutes 10% of the building, was exempt. That decision is not on review in the present case.

At the time of the hearing, five of the six units housed single staff members, while the remaining unit housed a family with one child. The staff members can choose voluntarily to live at Chapman House, and Lutherbrook then adjusts their salary to account for their residence at a rent-free apartment. Chapman House is not used as a facility to counsel or tutor the children.

Fifty-nine persons are employed at Lutherbrook. The other fifty-three employees, although residing off the premises, do live in close proximity.

On the hearing date, Chapman House housed one child-care supervisor, one teacher, and four child-care workers. The supervisor works a 40-hour week; however, she is available for the once- or twice-weekly emergencies which normally occur. Lutherbrook has always had a supervisor residing on the premises. The teacher does no tutoring at Chapman and no teaching other than during regular hours. The remaining residents and child-care workers work eight-hour shifts and are seldom asked to work off-hours for any reason.

Lutherbrook is fully staffed 24 hours a day, divided into three shifts, and, thus, the residents at Chapman House are not normally needed outside their normal shifts. On occasion, however, those employees were ...


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