State Supreme Court to hear property tax case

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that it will hear a case regarding not-for-profit hospital property tax exemptions.

The Court will hear oral arguments in the Carle case involving state and local taxing bodies after an opinion by the Fourth District Appellate stated the 2012 law outlining rules for not-for-profit hospitals to receive property tax exemptions was unconstitutional.

“We are pleased the Illinois Supreme Court will hear this important case, which not only impacts our patients in the region but also those served by all not-for-profit hospitals in the state. We have consistently maintained that it is critical that the standards for property tax exemption be clearly defined for all Illinois hospitals,” said James C. Leonard, MD, president and chief executive officer, The Carle Foundation.

Although there have been other hospitals in Illinois facing property tax challenges, the question in Carle’s case dates back to 2004 when Champaign County taxing bodies incorrectly placed Carle properties on the tax rolls despite the fact that Carle has always been tax exempt and the properties have continually been used for charitable purposes.  

The law enacted in 2012 provided specific guidance for hospitals seeking property tax exemptions and linked exemptions to a certain level of charity care. Carle far exceeds those guidelines providing more than $38 million in charity care in 2014 alone – more than three times what it would have to otherwise pay in property taxes.

“There has been a great deal of conflict between not-for-profit hospitals providing significant charity care and seeking a property tax exemption and  municipalities attempting to collect property taxes from not-for-profit hospitals. At Carle, we serve all patients who need care, regardless of their ability to pay, and having a property tax exemption allows us to do that. We must preserve our ability to deliver on that promise. We look forward to getting clarity from the Court,” Dr. Leonard said.