HARLAN W. JONES and PHYLLIS L. JONES, Petitioners-Appellants,
STATE OF ILLINOIS PROPERTY TAX APPEAL BOARD and FRANKLIN COUNTY BOARD OF REVIEW, Respondents-Appellees.
from the Circuit Court of Franklin County. No. 14-MR-25
Honorable David K. Overstreet, Judge, presiding.
Attorney for Appellants David B. Garavalia, 417 North Main
Street, P.O. Box 396, Benton, IL for 62812-0396
Appellants for Attorneys Lisa Madigan, Attorney General,
State of Illinois, David L. Franklin, Solicitor for General,
Valerie Quinn, Assistant Attorney General, 100 West Randolph
Street, 12th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601 (attorneys for Illinois
Property Tax Appeal Board) Evan L. Owens, Franklin County
State's Attorney, Amanda Levanti, Assistant State's
Attorney, 411 East Main Street, Benton, IL 62812 (attorneys
for Franklin County Board of Review)
JUSTICE CHAPMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Cates and Barberis concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 This appeal involves the tax status of a manufactured home
installed months before the effective date of a change in the
applicable law. Prior to January 1, 2011, mobile homes and
manufactured homes were taxed as real property only if they
were resting on a permanent foundation. 35 ILCS 200/1-130
(West 2008); 35 ILCS 515/1 (West 2008). Under current law,
all mobile homes and manufactured homes located outside of
mobile home parks are taxed as real property. 35 ILCS
515/1(a) (West 2010); 35 ILCS 517/10(a) (West 2010). The law
contains a "grandfather clause, " which provides
that mobile homes and manufactured homes that were taxed as
personal property on the effective date of the amendment will
continue to be taxed as personal property until they are sold
or transferred or moved to a different location outside of a
mobile home park. 35 ILCS 200/1-130(b) (West 2010); 35 ILCS
515/1(b) (West 2010); 35 ILCS 517/10(b) (West 2010). At issue
is the applicability of this provision to a manufactured home
that was installed before the effective date of the new law
but was not assessed or taxed either as real property or as
personal property in 2010.
2 The petitioners, Harlan and Phyllis Jones, installed a
manufactured home on their property in May or June of 2010.
They did not comply with a requirement that they register the
home with the local tax assessor within 30 days. See 35 ILCS
515/4 (West 2008). The tax assessor-who ordinarily completes
his assessments by July 1 of each year-did not conduct a new
assessment of the petitioners' property after the
manufactured home was installed, and the property was
therefore assessed and taxed as a vacant lot in 2010. The
manufactured home was assessed and taxed as real property
beginning in 2011. The petitioners challenged this
assessment. The Property Tax Appeal Board upheld the
assessment, finding decisive the fact that the petitioners
failed to register their manufactured home. The circuit court
affirmed this decision. The petitioners appeal, arguing that
the decision was clearly erroneous. We reverse.
3 In July 2009, the petitioners purchased a vacant lot in the
village of Valier, Franklin County, Illinois. The property
was located across the street from Valier city hall. When
they purchased the land, the petitioners lived in
Mississippi. They intended to install a modular manufactured
home on the lot and live in the home. On September 18, 2009,
the village of Valier issued a building permit to the
petitioners for a 3000 square foot manufactured home.
4 In March 2010, the petitioners completed vehicle
registrations for each of the three modules of the home with
the Secretary of State. In April, they filed a vehicle use
tax transaction return and paid sales tax for the home.
5 The petitioners' home was installed on the property
during May and June of 2010. As noted previously, they did
not file a mobile home registration with the local tax
assessor within 30 days of installation as required by
statute. See 35 ILCS 515/4 (West 2008). Electric service
began late in June 2010, and water service began in July.
According to Harlan Jones, he and his wife "began moving
into" the home in the spring of 2010; however, they did
not immediately begin living there full time.
6 In December 2010, the petitioners received an assessment
notice informing them that the property was being assessed
and taxed as a vacant lot. In June 2011, township assessor
Gerald Owens performed an assessment of the petitioners'
property. He believed that the home on the property was a
stick-built house and assessed it as real estate.
7 In November 2011, the petitioners received a notice of
"new construction" assessment. They contested this
assessment, arguing that their home was a manufactured home,
not a stick-built home. On February 27, 2012, the Franklin
County Board of Review issued a notice of final decision on
assessed value. It affirmed the township assessor's
8 On March 20, 2012, the petitioners filed an appeal of that
decision with the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board. They
argued, as they do before this court, that because their home
was installed before the effective date of the new law, it
should be taxed and assessed under the old law. See 35 ILCS
200/1-130(b) (West 2010); 35 ILCS 515/1(b) (West 2010); 35
ILCS 517/10(b) (West 2010).
9 The matter came for a hearing in January 2014. Harlan Jones
testified that he recently retired after working for 23 years
as a mobile home salesman in Mississippi. He and his wife,
Phyllis, moved from Mississippi to Illinois to be closer to
his brother, who had health problems. As a result of his
professional experience, Jones was familiar with the proper
way to install manufactured and mobile homes. In the spring
of 2009, the Joneses bought ...