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12/29/95 COTTER AND COMPANY v. ILLINOIS PROPERTY

December 29, 1995

COTTER AND COMPANY, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
THE ILLINOIS PROPERTY TAX APPEAL BOARD AND THE MCHENRY COUNTY BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES (COMMUNITY CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 26 AND COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 155, INTERVENORS-APPELLEES).



Petition for Review of an Order of the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board. Docket No. 91-4393-I-3.

Rehearing Denied February 29, 1996. Released for Publication February 29, 1996.

The Honorable Justice Hutchinson delivered the opinion of the court: Geiger and Doyle, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hutchinson

The Honorable Justice HUTCHINSON delivered the opinion of the court:

Petitioner, Cotter and Company, appeals from a decision of the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (Appeal Board) which held that the correct assessment of petitioner's real estate for the 1991 tax year was $3,809,020. The Appeal Board accepted petitioner's evidence, which would have resulted in an assessment of $2,408,985. However, the Appeal Board held that, because petitioner failed to file a complaint before the McHenry County Board of Review (Board of Review) before appealing to the Appeal Board, it was limited to granting relief not greater than the amount that was added as the result of the Board of Review's application of the 1991 equalization factor. On direct appeal to this court, petitioner argues that the assessment is void because the county supervisor of assessments failed to mail petitioner notice of the initial 1991 assessment. We affirm.

Petitioner's property is located at 201-03 Jandus Road in Cary. It consists of a 588,201 square foot industrial building which is situated on approximately 30.7 acres. For the 1990 tax year, the Algonquin Township Assessor (Assessor) certified an assessment of $3,489,080. The Board of Review applied a 1990 township equalization factor which resulted in a final assessment of $3,809,020.

The 1991 tax year was a year of a general assessment. Therefore, the Assessor conducted a quadrennial reassessment of all properties in the township. The Assessor certified an assessment of $3,809,020 for petitioner's property. The supervisor of assessments never mailed petitioner a notice of the 1991 assessment. However, the Assessor did publish notice of the 1991 assessment. The Board of Review certified a 1991 township multiplier. It applied this multiplier to petitioner's property and arrived at a final assessment of $4,031,467. The Board of Review published notice of its final decision and mailed notice of its final decision to petitioner.

Petitioner appealed the Board of Review's decision to the Appeal Board. Petitioner submitted its own written appraisal in which the appraiser concludes that the fair market value of the property was $7,650,000. Petitioner asserted that a proper assessment based on this appraisal was $2,408,985 (approximately one-third of $7,650,000).

Community High School District No. 155 and McHenry County Consolidated School District No. 26 (School Districts) intervened in the proceedings before the Appeal Board. They claimed that, because petitioner failed to file a complaint before the Board of Review, the Appeal Board's jurisdiction was limited to granting relief no greater than the amount that the Board of Review increased the assessment by applying the 1991 township multiplier (i.e., reducing the assessment from $4,031,467 to $3,809,020).

At the hearing before the Appeal Board, petitioner argued for the first time that the Assessor's 1991 assessment was void because the supervisor of assessments never mailed petitioner a notice of the assessment. Petitioner's argument was based on section 103 of the Revenue Act of 1939 (Act), which requires the supervisor of assessments to mail notice to each taxpayer "whose real property the assessment has been changed since the last preceding assessment." (35 ILCS 205/103 (West 1992).) The School Districts objected and requested that petitioner be barred from raising this contention. The hearing officer allowed petitioner 30 days to submit a brief in support of its contention regarding notice. The hearing officer then heard petitioner's evidence regarding the fair cash value of its property.

Finding that petitioner's 1991 preequalized assessment had not changed since the last preceding assessment in 1990, the Appeal Board concluded that petitioner was not entitled to mailed notice. The Appeal Board also found that, in any event, petitioner received adequate notice via the published notice and the tax bill that the Board of Review sent petitioner.

The Appeal Board then stated that it agreed with petitioner's evidence of the property's fair cash value and concluded that the assessment certified by the Board of Review was excessive. However, it concluded that, because petitioner failed to file a complaint before the Board of Review, petitioner was entitled to a reduction only in an amount equal to the increase that resulted from the Board of Review's application of the 1991 township equalization factor. Therefore, the Appeal Board reduced petitioner's assessment from $4,031,467 to $3,809,020. Petitioner timely appealed to this court pursuant to section 111.4 of the Act (35 ILCS 205/111.4 (West 1992)).

The intervening School Districts argue that the Appeal Board should have dismissed petitioner's appeal and that petitioner is now barred from raising the notice argument in this appeal. They claim this is so because petitioner did not raise the notice argument until the hearing before the Appeal Board was about to begin.

Section 111.1 of the Act states that the party appealing to the Appeal Board "shall file a petition *** setting forth specifically the facts upon which he bases his objection to the decision of the board of review, together with a statement of the contentions of law which he desires to raise, and the relief he requests." (35 ILCS 205/111.1 (West 1992).) The Appeal Board's rule regarding the filing of the petition contains similar language. (86 Ill. Adm. Code § 1910.30(e) (1991).) The rule also provides:

"If contentions of law are raised, the contesting party shall submit a brief in support of his position with the petition or within 30 days thereafter. Extensions of time shall be granted in accordance with subsection (d) of this Section. Failure to do so shall result in dismissal of the appeal." 86 Ill. Adm. Code § 1910.30(e) (1991).

The Appeal Board allowed petitioner to file a brief after the hearing and addressed petitioner's legal contentions regarding notice even though petitioner failed to file with its petition either a brief or a proper request for an extension of time. The Appeal Board concluded that the hearing officer had "full authority to *** admit or exclude ...


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