Businesses at College of DuPage targeted for back property taxes

Businesses at College of DuPage targeted for back property taxes

by Jake Griffin and Robert Sanchez | Daily Herald

A bank at College of DuPage should have been paying property taxes for the past two years, says the Milton Township assessor, who is trying to determine if more businesses on the school’s Glen Ellyn campus — including the controversial college-run restaurant and adjoining hotel — should be on the tax rolls.

Assessor Chris LeVan says the full-service U.S. Bank branch on the COD campus should have been paying property taxes since it opened in 2013. He said he’s taken steps to ensure the business pays property taxes going forward.

Even though COD’s campus is tax-exempt, LeVan said any businesses with leases to operate on the campus must pay property taxes. How much property taxes they pay is based on their lease amount.

“It’s no different from a farmer farming government land,” LeVan said. “He is assessed.”

LeVan said research done by a downstate group called the Edgar County Watchdogs found there was a lease agreement between U.S. Bank and the college. So the assessors office is going to issue a “certificate of error” on the bank and have the business taxed for 2014. The amount owed won’t be determined until the property is assessed.

U.S. Bank officials said they have never been asked to pay property taxes.

“We have not been presented with a reimbursement request or a tax assessment for the branch that has been open for approximately two years,” said Dana Ripley, a bank spokesman. “If we are presented with a reimbursement request or a lawful tax assessment, we will comply with it and pay the appropriate tax on our 333-square-foot branch.”

When asked why Milton Township never assessed the bank before, LeVan said it’s the college’s responsibility to notify the supervisor of assessments about businesses that have leases with the school.

“They have to inform the supervisor of assessments exactly what is going on so the proper assessments can be made,” he said…(read full)