APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT
SCHNIEDERJON FOR THE YEARS 1983, 1984 and 1985,
PAYABLE IN 1984, 1985 and 1986
537 N.E.2d 358, 181 Ill. App. 3d 646, 130 Ill. Dec. 291 1989.IL.444
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Effingham County; the Hon. Rolland Tipsword, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LEWIS delivered the opinion of the court. WELCH, P.J., and HARRISON, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LEWIS
The objector, Frank H. Schniederjon, paid taxes under protest for the years 1983, 1984, and 1985, payable in 1984, 1985, and 1986, on improvements he made upon property owned by the Effingham Water Authority and leased to him. The objector maintains that the improvements he has placed on the property as lessee are personal property and, as such, are not subject to taxation. The case was submitted to the trial court upon a stipulation of facts and briefs of the parties. The trial court found in favor of the collector and against the objector. The objector now appeals raising a single issue for review: whether, as stated in his reply brief, the improvements to the leasehold "remain personal property or become part of the real estate under all the facts so that the same could be taxed." The objector expressly makes no objection to taxes levied upon the leasehold but objects to the taxation of improvements placed by him upon the leased premises after the inception of the term of the lease.
In the trial court the parties stipulated that the objector "has placed [on the leased premises] a four-room summer cottage constructed on a concrete slab and has also constructed thereon a boat-house and a shed which is on skids." The improvements are not further described elsewhere in the record. The parties stipulated further:
"3. That the Effingham Water Authority is a public corporation in the County of Effingham and State of Illinois, and its duties and authorities consist primarily of providing a public water supply for the City of Effingham and has acquired real estate, which real estate is not subject to tax because Effingham Water Authority is a public corporation, for a large artificial lake which is commonly known as Lake Sara, including for its protection a surrounding zone of marginal shore land, and the leasing of the borders of such shore land for the protection of the land from pollution, undue erosion and other injury, prohibiting forestation, the development of suitable vegetation and the improvement, care and maintenance of the premises. That the lease is issued by the Effingham Water Authority for the furtherance and in aid of said public purposes, all as provided in the provisions of said Effingham Water Authority lease.
4. That at the time of the execution and delivery of the lease, a copy of which is attached hereto, the premises were unimproved, and whether or not such leasehold was to be improved by the lessee was within the discretion of the lessee (known as 'custodian' in the lease)."
The lease in question was executed on January 12, 1962, for a term of 99 years from the date of execution of the lease, which provides in article 2 for the making of improvements upon the leased lot and that "[such] dwelling house and appurtenances shall be and remain the property of the Custodian, with the right to remove the same."
In an extensive and well-reasoned order entered on the record sheet, the trial court denied the tax objections, finding in part as follows:
"That under Illinois law, persons dealing with land and improvements may consider buildings and improvements as personalty for their own purposes, but such treatment, as between individualsdoes not change the ...