Moultrie County Board

2018 RULES, PROCEDURES & GUIDELINES OF THE MOULTRIE COUNTY BOARD OF REVIEW

The Moultrie County Board of Review (hereinafter “BOR”) consists of three members, appointed by the Chairman of the Moultrie County Board (35 ILCS 200/6-5 & 6-25). Any member of the BOR may conduct a hearing. The BOR has the authority to confirm, reduce or increase any assessment as appears just. The BOR determines the correct assessment, prior to state equalization, of any parcel of real property which is the subject of an appeal, according to the law, based on standards of fair cash value, uniformity, correctness of facts, evidence, exhibits and briefs submitted to or elicited by the BOR from an appellant, assessor and/or other interested parties.

Prior to filing a complaint (appeal) with the BOR, it is strongly recommended that a taxpayer discuss his/her assessment with the Chief County Assessment Officer or one of the deputies. Many times the reason for the assessment can be made clear and the need for filing an appeal eliminated. If taxpayers still wish to pursue an appeal, they should familiarize themselves with the 2018 Rules of the BOR, detailed below.

The BOR is required to make and publish reasonable rules “for the guidance of persons doing business with the BOR and for the orderly dispatch of business” (35 ILCS 200/9-5). The following guidelines and rules for the 2018 session of the BOR govern the assessment appeals process for the 2018 property assessment/tax year.

APPROPRIATE CONDUCTION OF BOR SESSION

Meetings of the Moultrie County Board of Review, convened on June 1, 2018 for the 2018 assessment year. The regular meeting dates and times of the BOR shall be Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., except on observed holidays, through March 15, 2018, or until completion of business, and shall be held in the 2nd Floor Moultrie County Board Meeting Room, Moultrie County Courthouse, 10 South Main Street, Sullivan, Illinois, and are subject to posted location and date and time schedule changes. A Board of Review Notice of Meeting(s) With Agenda(s) shall be posted on the bulletin boards in the Moultrie County Courthouse west door entrance area, the Moultrie County Clerk’s Office, the Moultrie County Assessment Office, and outside the Moultrie County Board’s 2nd Floor Board Room and on the Moultrie County Website a minimum of 48 hours prior to the meetings of the BOR; any meeting location and/or schedule changes from the regular meeting location, dates and times of the BOR shall appear on said Notices.

ADMINISTRATIVE RULES

a. Convening the BOR. The BOR convenes on or before the first Monday of June (June 1, 2018 – date will change in a year where June 1st is a Saturday or Sunday or BOR cannot convene on June 1 of the year).
b. Severability. In the event any section, provision or term of these rules is determined by a court or other authority of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, that determination shall not affect the remaining sections or provisions, which shall continue in full force and effect. For this purpose, the provisions of these rules are severable.
c. Amendments. The rules may be amended from time to time; said amendments are effective upon their being conspicuously posted and prominently displayed on the BOR website.
d. Burden of Proof. When overvaluation is the basis of the complaint, the value of the subject property must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence. When unequal treatment in the assessment process is the basis of the appeal, the inequity of the assessments must be proved by clear and convincing evidence.
e. Failure to follow BOR rules. Failure to follow any of these rules, in and of itself, may be grounds for the denial of any change in assessment.
f. Authority of the BOR. The BOR will conduct and control the procedure of the hearing. The BOR may require the production of any book, record, paper or document at any stage of the appeal process or at the hearing which is the foundation for any evidence or testimony presented in the appeal. The BOR also may request a property inspection to clarify parcel characteristics and/or condition of a subject property. Failure to produce a requested book, record, paper or document or failure to allow a property inspection within the prescribed time frame set by the BOR may result in the rejection of that party’s evidence.
g. Code of Conduct for BOR Hearings. The expectation is that all participants in a BOR hearing conduct themselves in a respectful and professional manner. The BOR reserves the right to terminate a hearing (in person or by phone) and require any party to leave the proceeding or end the discussion, when that individual engages in threatening, disruptive, vulgar, abusive or obscene conduct or language that delays or protracts a proceeding.
h. Open Meetings Act. Hearings held by the BOR are open to the public, subject to the exceptions cited by the Open Meetings Act (5 ILCS 120/2).
i. Clerk of the BOR. The administrative functions of the BOR are discharged by the Moultrie County Chief County Assessment Officer, who shall act as the Clerk of the BOR. (35 ILCS 200/3-30). The Clerk shall keep a Docket Book showing the number of each Assessment Complaint filed with the BOR, showing the reduction or increase of the assessments of persons or corporations, the order of filing said Complaint and the action of the BOR thereon. Such Complaints shall be numbered by the Clerk of the BOR and filed in regular order as received; and when acted upon, shall be taken in the same order as far as may be possible.
j. Notices of Hearings. Notices of the BOR hearing will be sent by mail, email, fax or hand-delivery to the Complainant. Failure of a Complainant, or their Illinois licensed attorney, to appear for their scheduled hearing shall be grounds for automatic dismissal of the Complaint, unless a continuance is granted, in writing, to the Complainant by the BOR. The Clerk of the BOR must receive requests for such continuances no later than five (5) business days prior to the scheduled hearing date.

ORDER OF BUSINESS:

• The Board of Review Chairperson shall call the members to order at the appointed hour for the Board of Review to meet and proceed in accordance with the agenda.
• Reading and approving records of proceedings of previous meetings.
• Approvals and denials of exemption applications.
• Presentations of assessment complaints: Every assessment complaint shall state the facts upon which the contesting party bases their objection, the relief they request and information to substantiate the relief.
• Hearing owners and/or their attorneys.
• Reading and review of assessment complaints.
• Decisions on assessment complaints for no change to the assessments or to decrease or increase assessments of corporations or individuals.
• Equalization of assessments.
• The BOR shall hear Assessment Complaints for changes in assessments at the time for filing or may fix a date for the hearing thereof. Complainants shall be allotted hearing time slots based upon the estimated time the Clerk to the BOR deems appropriate based upon the complexity of the Complaint; and Complainants shall limit their presentations to the time slots so allotted. All hearings are, by law, open to the public.

FILING AN APPEAL
Certain criteria must be met in order to file an appeal and have the case scheduled for a hearing in front of the BOR. The criteria are as follows:

a. Tax Year 2018/Payable 2019 Assessment Complaints must be filed with the Clerk of the Board of Review at the Moultrie County Courthouse, Sullivan, Illinois no later than 4:30pm Central Time, on or before 30 calendar days after the date of publication of the 2018 assessment list in a newspaper of general county circulation. Assessment Complaints must be in writing and filed on the approved Board of Review Assessment Complaint Forms which may be obtained by mail or by coming to the Moultrie County Assessment Office between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on observed holidays, at the Moultrie County Courthouse, 10 South Main Street, Suite 8, Sullivan, IL, 61951 (Phone 217-728-4951). Every effort should be made to file all evidence in support of the Complaint at the time the Complaint is filed; however, all evidence in support of a Complaint should be received by the BOR no later than 5 business days prior to the Complainant’s hearing date.
b. Only a taxpayer or owner of property dissatisfied with an assessment, as such assessment pertains to the assessment of their property for taxation purposes, or a taxing body that has a tax revenue interest in the decision of the BOR on an assessment made by any local assessment officer may file an Assessment Complaint. At hearings before the BOR, a party to the proceedings may represent himself or herself, or may be represented at the hearing by any person who is admitted to practice as an attorney in the State of Illinois. Accountants, Tax Representatives, Tax Advisors, State Licensed Real Estate Appraisers, Real Estate Consultants and others not qualified to practice law in the State of Illinois may not appear at the hearing before the BOR in a representative capacity; however, such persons may testify at hearings before the BOR and may assist parties and attorneys in preparation of cases for presentation by such parties and attorneys for the BOR. Corporations, limited liability companies (LLC), partnerships and other similar entities, and taxing districts may be represented at a BOR hearing by any person licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois. An attorney shall avoid appearing before the BOR on behalf of his or her client in the capacity of both an advocate and a witness. When an attorney is a witness for the client, except as to merely formal matters, the attorney should leave the hearing of the appeal to other counsel. Except when essential to the ends of justice, an attorney shall avoid testifying before the BOR on behalf of a client. If the Complainant or Taxing District is to be represented at a hearing by an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois, the Complainant shall notify the BOR, in writing, of such representation a minimum of five (5) business days prior to the hearing.
c. Any member of the BOR may notify the BOR of any person or corporation that may come to their knowledge who is not assessed, or in their knowledge or opinion is assessed too high or too low, and the Clerk of the BOR shall thereupon issue a notice to the person or corporation affected thereby to appear before the BOR and show cause if and why said assessment shall not be changed; however, no action shall be taken thereon for five (5) business days after giving notice unless such party has been given the opportunity to appear before the said BOR.
d. All information on the appeal application form is required per the detailed instructions given. The appellant’s requested reductions in assessed value and indicated market value must be provided. Pursuant to 35 ILCS 200/16-55, if an appellant requests a total reduction in assessed value of $100,000 or more, the BOR must notify each respective taxing district.
e. The Complainant will be notified in writing of the BOR’s final decision. All decisions on Assessment Complaints may be appealed to the State Property Tax Appeal Board as provided by statute. Appeal Forms may be obtained from the Clerk of the Moultrie County Board of Review, Moultrie County Courthouse, 10 South Main Street, Suite 8, Sullivan, Illinois. All decisions of the BOR are subject to equalization.

BASES FOR ASSESSMENT APPEALS

1. Appeals based on incorrect assessor data
• Definition: Incorrect data includes, but is not limited to, size of the site, size of the improvements, physical features, and condition of the property.
Evidence to include but not limited to:
Review of the Property Record with the Chief County Assessment Officer or her deputies - Most of the above mentioned factual errors can be corrected per plat of survey and/or inspection completed by Township Assessor.
• Condition Issues Listing With Estimated Cost To Cure – If the issue is condition, it is highly recommended the BOR be provided a detailed list of the condition issues with an estimated cost to cure each condition issue; AND Condition Issue Photographs – Providing Dated Photographs is highly recommended to show condition issues. Photographs can also show any special factors of your property that should be brought to the BOR’s attention.

2. Appeals based on the recent sale of a subject property
• Definition: The BOR considers the sale of a subject property, which occurred within twelve (12) months of the January 1 assessment date, as possible evidence of fair cash value. The BOR gives the most weight to the following required documentation in such an appeal:
Evidence to include but are not limited to:
Documents that disclose the purchase price of the property and the date of purchase, specifically including the signed and completed settlement statement or the closing disclosures and summaries of transactions.
Testimony and/or documentation, such as the recorded Illinois Real Estate Transfer Declaration (PTAX-203) or printout from a multiple listing service – closed client listing sheet and chronological property listing history of the subject property.
If applicable, an itemized bill of sale signed by seller(s) and buyer(s), and supporting documentation of the fair cash value of any personal property included in the purchase price of the subject property.

3. Appeals based on Fair Cash Value (a.k.a. Market Value)
• Definition: Fair cash value is defined as “the amount for which property can be sold in the due course of business and trade, not under duress, between a willing buyer and a willing seller.” (35 ILCS 200/1-50).
Evidence to include but not limited to:
Appraisal – Although not required, the Real Estate Appraisal Profession that is licensed by the IDFPR (Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation) is highly recommended. The BOR will accept appraisals ONLY from those licensed by the IDFPR as evidence of the Complainant’s opinion of value.
Appraisals submitted to the BOR must be prepared by an IDFPR appraiser in conformance to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice as currently adopted by the Appraisal Standards Board. This would include: Associate Real Estate Trainee Appraiser, Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser, Certified General Real Estate Appraiser, Appraisal Management Company. The appraisal must be presented in its entirety, including all exhibits, with no missing pages. The BOR may request evidence to support the valuation asserted. The only Appraisals that will be accepted per their date will be current tax year of appeal and the 3 years prior to current tax year appeal.

4. Appeals based on Recent Usable Sales of Comparable Properties.
Evidence to include but not limited to:
Comparable Sales -- If there were sales of similar properties in similar locations that would show the subject property is over-assessed; evidence of those sales prices should be submitted. Examples of “similar properties” include, but are not limited to: square footage approximately the same; year built approximately the same; a ranch is compared to a ranch; a two-story is compared to a two-story, similar construction quality and design are compared; average condition properties are compared to average condition properties, etc. All square footage is determined by outside measurement.

5. Appeals based on Equity (a.k.a. Uniformity).
• Definition: Real property assessments shall be valued uniformly as the General Assembly provides by law (Art. 9, Sec. 4, Illinois Constitution of 1970). An inequitable assessment is one that values one property at a higher level of assessment relative to fair cash value than assessments of comparable properties.
Evidence to include but not limited to:
It is preferable to select at least three (3) comparable properties. Comparable properties should be located near the subject property in the same neighborhood or competing neighborhoods. They should be similar in style (e.g., ranch, 2-story, split-level, etc.), construction (e.g., brick, frame, with or without basement, etc.), age, size (e.g., square footage of above ground living area), quality and condition of the subject. However, in no instance will comparables from outside of Moultrie County be considered by the BOR for assessment complaints based upon equity.

6. Appeals based on Income Producing Properties.
Evidence to include but not limited to:
Income and Expense Statements. If the property is income producing, it is recommended the taxpayer furnish the income and expense statements of the prior three years as evidence of value. The most appropriate evidence is the pertinent schedules of the taxpayer’s federal income tax return.

7. Appeals based on matters of law.
• Definition: Matters of law include such factors as carrying forward prior year residential appeal results, preferential assessment and farmland valuation.
Evidence to include but not limited to:
Legal Brief. If the basis of the complaint is a question of law, it is recommended the taxpayer provide a legal brief on the subject at issue, citing the law in question, as well as copies of any legal opinions and/or judicial rulings regarding the law in question.