The Carle Foundation v. Illinois Department of Revenue

The Carle lawsuit was filed in 2007 – five years before Section 15-86 was enacted – for the purpose of re-establishing property tax exemptions under Section 15-65 – the “old” charitable exemption statute. When Section 15-86 passed in 2012, Carle amended its lawsuit to claim that it was entitled to exemption under the new law.

In the twelve years since it was filed, the Carle case has made two trips to the Illinois Appellate Court and one trip to the Illinois Supreme Court. In 2016, the Appellate Court ruled that Section 15-86 (enacted in 2012) would apply retroactively to Carle’s claims. The Appellate Court also ruled that Section 15-86 was unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court vacated that decision and later upheld the statute in its 2018 Oswald decision discussed above.

In January, 2019, the case went to trial on the question of whether The Carle Foundation is entitled to property tax exemptions for four parcels under Section 15-86. This represents the first case tried under Section 15-86. A major issue in the case is the scope and applicability of the so-called Korzen-factors.

In a highly anticipated case, on Feb. 6, 2020, a circuit court judge ruled in favor of the Carle Foundation, finding it was entitled to property tax exemptions for four parcels in Urbana for the tax years 2005-2011, but not for the tax year 2004. This case has now been appealed to the Fourth District Appellate Court.