Illinois Supreme Court sends property tax case back to Circuit Court

Illinois Supreme Court buildingToday, the Illinois Supreme Court released its opinion about the Carle property tax case. The Supreme Court ruled that the 4th District Appellate Court lacked jurisdiction to hear Carle’s case and therefore the Appellate Court’s decision finding the 2012 property tax statute unconstitutional is vacated. 

This means the 2012 law is still in effect, and Carle’s case will go back to the Champaign County Circuit Court.

Carle is grateful for the opportunity to present to the Illinois Supreme Court and believes firmly that all hospitals (and taxing bodies) need to know and follow the rules of hospital property tax exemptions. While Carle, along with all Illinois hospitals, would like this important issue resolved, it respects the Court’s decision to rule on a procedural matter and to not issue an opinion on the constitutionality of the 2012 law at this time.

The “law of the land” on the issue of hospital property tax exemption is reflected in the current Oswald decision from the First District Appellate Court (that the property tax exemption statute is constitutional) and will remain in place unless the First District Appellate Court overturns this ruling or until the Supreme Court agrees to hear and ultimately rule on the Oswald case or a similar case in the future.

With respect to Carle’s unresolved property tax case filed in 2007 that spans 2004-2011, it will proceed in the Champaign County Circuit Court.  

Carle leadership is reviewing potential next steps regarding our various claims in that case. 

Carle initiated this legal action to preserve its ability to meet the healthcare needs of the community on behalf of our patients in the region and those served by all not-for-profit hospitals in the state. It is critical that the standards for property tax exemptions and charity care are defined for all Illinois hospitals. There has been a great deal of confusion both for hospitals providing charity care and for municipalities attempting to collect property taxes from not-for-profit hospitals.  

In 2015 alone, 34,000 people received free medically necessary care at Carle that totaled $30.6 million at cost. These community benefits far outweigh the estimated property tax amounts.