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June 19, 2024

Does The Illinois Constitution Matter Anymore? – Assessors Taxing Portable Sheds

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On April 25, 2024

Illinois (ECWd) –

Does the local property tax assessor have the legal right to assess personal property?

That basic question was posed to numerous attorneys and legislators and every one of them responded by referencing our State Constitution, specifically Article IX section 5, which abolished taxation of personal property.

Do you own a portable shed? 

If you purchased one, more than likely you paid sales tax on it when you purchased it.  Across the state, people have purchased such sheds or built them rather than building a permanent structure that would be subject to property tax assessment.

A recent publication from Township Official of Illinois has now opened the door for local assessors to assess taxes on portable sheds using a very weak argument that came out of one Property Tax Appeal Board in the state, not from state law.  In that publication, it was noted that in one case a certain size building qualified for taxation which leads to a laundry list of questions.  Who determines what size is or is not subject to property tax?  Where in the revenue code does it outline storage sheds of a certain size are subject to property taxation?

Numerous taxation rulings have subjected storage sheds to taxation when they become permanently fixed to a foundation, utilities installed, etc., however now, across the state in numerous counties, portable sheds that are not in any way fixed to a foundation and have no utilities are being subjected to property taxation based on their size even though such a factor creates a whole host of problems as it relates to equal protection.

A smart business owner purchased several storage sheds to rent them out to people who wanted to store their property.  When he got his tax bill, he was assessed for those sheds and pushed back on the legality of such taxation.  He took the position if you’re going to tax my portable sheds then you have to tax everyone who has a portable shed.  He took the equal protection path rather than focusing on the legal right to do it or not do it. His position was taken as expected, portable shed owners across the county got their portable sheds assessed and taxed, which took away the business owners’ argument.

After sharing this matter with Senator Chapin Rose, he was shocked that such taxation was taking place, specifically because personal property tax was abolished as part of the last State Constituional Convention.

Senator Rose is the Chief Sponsor of SB 1156 to hopefully put a stop to this overreach and twisted reading of assessment laws and guidelines.

“Except as otherwise provided in this Section and the Mobile Home Local Services Tax Act, a building or structure, including a portable shed, garage, or other outbuilding, that is not affixed to or installed on a permanent foundation or connected to utilities for year-round occupancy is not considered real property.”

We have found numerous county Supervisor of Assessments who said they will not assess portable sheds that are not fixed to a foundation and do not have utilities and while we appreciate that, I am sure so too do the owners of such portable sheds, there lies the problem as it relates to equal protection.

The property tax code is required to be applied uniformly.  How is there any uniformity when one county taxes people with portable sheds while other counties do not?

If your County Supervisor of Assessments is taxing portable sheds that are not connected to utilities and fixed to a foundation, we urge you to contact your elected representatives and urge them to support the legislation that would put a stop to this activity.

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4 Comments
  • Dave
    Posted at 19:16h, 25 April Reply

    Illinois taxpayers already have the heaviest overall tax burden in the nation, some moronic publication isn’t authoritative. Article IX section 5 (c) of the Illinois Constitution is the supreme state law and cannot be amended by a publication. This taxation of portable sheds is nothing short of law breaking…. Article IX section 5 (c) of the Illinois Constitution “On or before January 1, 1979, the General Assembly by law shall abolish all ad valorem personal property taxes….) How much more clear can it be.

  • Bernard Gully
    Posted at 16:45h, 27 April Reply

    On a broader scope, answer anyone listening, the United States government has been attacking our constitutional rights ever since Reagan initiated civil forfeitures! The Constitution says the government cannot take property without compensating the people and it did not make an exception for instance of criminal conviction. Or is implemented; during a traffic stop long before any convictions!
    Also love significant note is how the Illinois legislators along with the legislators of virtually every state have conspired to criminalize the driving laws while simultaneously labeling them is privileges is supposed to the constitutional rights that it is! When they pass the safe neighborhoods act in 1995 mini unscrupulous Illinois lawmakers attacked our driving rights with so many criminal and enhancements it was like a land grab all for the purpose of serving the corporate prison profiteers! Just like the camera traffic systems which are shared with corporations our governments have solas out for Penney’s I need to be physically removed and imprisoned! Remember the rights to travel is inalienable along with I guarantees of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness! This is all restricted by their criminalizing our driving rights! Just think about it, if we have the rights to travel and our tax dollars pay for the highways and how the hell can they possibly see that driving on the highway is a privilege?? It’s time we woke up and fall back! This government is nothing but blatantly criminal!!

  • Tommy K
    Posted at 10:09h, 02 May Reply

    It’s like murder. What makes you think ANOTHER law on the books is going to fix it? I thought the Constitution was the supreme law of the land?

  • Jim Dawson
    Posted at 20:37h, 11 May Reply

    You need to research the 1979 freeze act. Anything assessed as real estate prior to 1979 will be assessed as real estate in perpetuity. Regardless of whether it is real estate or personal property. If there is no basis prior to 1979 it relies on how the county addressed it as soon as it appeared in the county.

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