By James P. Regan

As published by, March 2003

In 1970, the Illinois Constitutional Convention eliminated all personal property from ad valorem taxation.  Unlike many states, Illinois may not tax any kind of personal property.

The assessing authorities throughout the state acknowledge the constitutional prohibition against the inclusion of personal property in the valuation of real estate. Though it has become commonplace for assessors to exclude the value of the furniture, fixtures, and equipment of hotels, they have not been willing to do the same for apartment properties. Every apartment that is rented has at least a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and possibly a microwave, with a cumulative value of at least one thousand dollars.

Apartment rents take into account the value that these personal property items contribute to the apartment that is leased. There are available appraisal methodologies which enable us to identify the value of apartment personal property, and assessors should exclude that value from their assessments.


James P. Regan is the managing partner of the Chicago law firm of Fisk Kart Katz and Regan, Ltd., the Illinois member of American Property Tax Counsel (APTC), the national affiliation of property tax attorneys.