Illi­nois high court takes up hospi­tal tax-ex­emp­tion case

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Maria Castel­lucci

Hospi­tal ex­ec­u­tives in Illi­nois last week fought be­fore the state Supreme Court to main­tain not-for­prof­its’ prop­erty tax ex­emp­tion.

In the case be­fore the state Supreme Court, the city of Ur­bana and other tax­ing bod­ies ar­gue that the lo­cal Carle Foun­da­tion Hospi­tal should pay prop­erty taxes de­spite a state law that al­lows such ex­emp­tions if the prop­erty in ques­tion is used ex­clu­sively for char­i­ta­ble pur­poses.

Some of the jus­tices ques­tioned whether the Illi­nois 4th Dis­trict Ap­pel­late Court last year had the ju­ris­dic­tion to con­sider the case. That court ruled the law un­con­sti­tu­tional.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments say the state’s 150 not-for-profit hos­pi­tals are plenty prof­itable and there­fore should con­trib­ute their share of taxes to help fund cash-strapped mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Carle’s at­tor­ney Steven Pflaum ar­gued that un­der the state law, a fa­cil­ity can be con­sid­ered ex­clu­sively used for char­i­ta­ble pur­poses so long as it’s “made avail­able to all who need it re­gard­less of abil­ity to pay.” Pflaum ar­gued that Carle’s char­i­ta­ble ser­vices far ex­ceeds what it would pay in yearly prop­erty taxes. He said Carle paid roughly $20 mil­lion in prop­erty taxes from 2004 to 2011.

Carle pro­vided $30.6 mil­lion in char­ity care in 2015, ac­cord­ing to the hospi­tal.

The Illi­nois Health and Hospi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion filed an amicus brief in Au­gust 2016 sup­port­ing Carle Foun­da­tion. The Amer­i­can Hospi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion also weighed in on be­half of Carle.

A de­ci­sion in the case is ex­pected in the com­ing months.

Carle Foun­da­tion Hospi­tal.

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