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May 25, 2024

Illinois Department Of Revenue: Shelby County Farm Ground Not Tax Exempt –

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On October 31, 2023

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR), has determined the Shelby County farm ground parcels are not tax-exempt.  Their determination was based on the assertion the property is not in exempt use.

According to IDOR, the county can protest the determination and request a hearing on the matter in the next 60 days.

Another option to make the ground tax exempt appears to be found in our State Constitution.

Article IX Section 6

SECTION 6. EXEMPTIONS FROM PROPERTY TAXATION
    The General Assembly by law may exempt from taxation only
the property of the State, units of local government and
school districts and property used exclusively for
agricultural and horticultural societies, and for school,
religious, cemetery and charitable purposes. The General
Assembly by law may grant homestead exemptions or rent
credits.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)

Considering the farm ground is property of a unit of local government the legislature appears to have the power to pass a law making county-owned farm ground exempt from property tax.

However, since we are not lawyers, judges, nor constitutional experts we simply present this as a potential option for the local “experts” to make such a determination on the applicability of our state constitution on this matter.

Another option would be to lease the farm ground to the Future Farmers of America (FFA) similar to what Tazewell County is doing.  Such a lease should require the leaseholder to pay the property tax as the law outlines.  While not as profitable as the custom farming option, it would appear to be a fairly straightforward solution on what to do with the farm ground.

A copy of the IDR letter can be downloaded at this link or viewed below.

Denial of Non-Homestead Proprty Tax Exemption for Cause

 

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