APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION
TAX YEAR (The People ex rel. Edward J. Rosewell, Cook
County Collector, Applicant-Appellee, v.
Bernard Heerey, Objector-Appellant)
527 N.E.2d 1045, 173 Ill. App. 3d 821, 123 Ill. Dec. 407 1988.IL.1255
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Marjan Peter Staniec, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE BUCKLEY delivered the opinion of the court. QUINLAN and MANNING, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE BUCKLEY
Taxpayer Bernard Heerey appeals from the dismissal of a tax objection for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse.
To understand the import of the facts of this case, it is necessary to understand the procedures for challenging property tax assessments authorized and described in the Illinois Revenue Act of 1939 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 120, par. 482 et seq.). Property taxes are computed through a complex formula which includes as a variable the assessed valuation of the subject property. Taxes are then levied and the owner of the property becomes personally liable for the property taxes upon the tax lien date, January 1 of the year for which the taxes were assessed.
Although the taxation process itself is generally not susceptible to challenge, the taxpayer may challenge the assessed valuation of the property on the grounds that the assessment was mistaken or fraudulent. If the taxpayer challenges the assessment, he first may file an assessed valuation complaint at the assessor's office. No face-to-face hearing need be held in conjunction with the assessed valuation complaint, although hearing officers are available for that purpose; the complaint is taken in documentary form in an informal proceeding where the taxpayer may present any materials that show that the assessment was incorrect.
If the results of the informal hearing are unsatisfactory, the taxpayer may next file a complaint with the Cook County Board of (Tax) Appeals (the Board). In fact, the taxpayer may bypass the Cook County assessor's office and file directly with the Board. Once the complaint is filed, the taxpayer is given a date for a formal hearing. In the hearing, the Board decides whether the assessed valuation of the subject property was correct. If the valuation is deemed incorrect, the property taxes are revised accordingly. If the valuation is ruled correct, however, the taxpayer must pay his taxes. The taxpayer may, however, pay under protest.
If the taxpayer chooses not to pay the property taxes, the tax collector files an application for judgment and order of sale against the property. Once the taxpayer has sought relief before the Board and paid his taxes under protest, he has met the jurisdictional requirements of the circuit court and may file a specific tax objection to the collector's application in the circuit court. The circuit court will hold a trial de novo on the issues presented. It is against this procedural background that the instant case unfolds.
On December 10, 1982, appellant Bernard Heerey filed a specific tax objection to 1981 real estate taxes levied on his property located at 65 East Walton Street in Chicago. The objection alleged that the assessed value of the property was excessive and sought refund of the amount of taxes that were allegedly excessive. The objection also included the pro forma allegations that administrative remedies had been exhausted and that the taxes had been paid under ...