Budget increases of greater than 15% may be subject to owner vote

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The IL Condo Act grants the board the right and responsibility to "prepare, adopt and distribute the annual budget for the property." (Sec. 18.4b) Unit owners do not vote on the annual budget, but there is a certain circumstance in which an owner vote may apply.

If the proposed budget shows an increase of more then 15% over the prior year's assessments, a unit owner vote may occur.  A written petition signed by at least 20% of the owners by ownership percentage must be delivered to the board within 14 days of the adoption of the budget.  The board must then call a unit owner meeting within 30 days of the date of the delivery of the petition.  A majority of the total votes of the unit owners must be cast at the meeting to reject the budget or it is ratified. 

The 15% increase applies to the total of all regular and special assessments.  If the association's total budget was $100,000 in the prior year and they also collected a special assessment of $10,000 (for a sum of $110,000), the proposed budget would have to exceed $126,500 to meet the 15% threshold.

Quick Links for Illinois Annual Report Filings

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I just sent this information to a client, so figured I'd post it quickly here as well!

Incorporated associations must file an IL Annual Report each year and pay a filing fee to maintain their incorporation.  Filing can be done online for an extra fee or a form can be completed and mailed with payment. 

Click here to file online. 

Click here to complete and mail a paper form.

Condominium associations not eligible for tax exempt status

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While condominium associations are considered non-profit entities and are incorporated as such with the state, they do not qualify for federal tax exemption under IRS Code Sec. 501(c).  The IRS has issued a Written Determination that specifically denies condominium associations tax exempt status as a Civic League or Social Welfare Organization under Sec. 501(c)(4) or as a Business League under Sec. 501(c)(6).  The bottom line is that condominium associations operate for the benefit of their members, and not for the social welfare or common good of the community in general.  They also are not formed as an association of persons with a common business interest. Download and read the entire letter ruling here.

Help Save the Refuse Rebate!

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The City of Chicago 2012 Budget proposes to eliminate the Refuse Rebate program for condominium associations.  This means a loss of much needed funds for small associations across Chicago. 

You can sign a petition to ask the mayor to preserve the Refuse Rebate.  Please make your voice heard by signing the petition online:  http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-city-of-chicago-eliminate-the-condo-refuse-rebate-portion-of-your-2012-budget-proposal.

Associations have until 12/31/11 to file 2010 Refuse Rebates.  This could be the last chance to receive your Rebate, so be sure to file on time!

Smaller deductibles for smaller associations

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In reviewing our clients' insurance policies while preparing 2012 budgets, I'm finding that several smaller associations have policies with deductibles that are high for their size.  The deductible is the amount that the association will pay toward any claim before the insurance policy will cover anything.  A $2500 deductible may save a bit on insurance premiums, but if the association doesn't have a lot of funds in the bank to begin with, it will be difficult to cover a $2500 deductible when a claim is filed.

We generally recommend a $1000 deductible for small associations.  Check with your insurance agent or broker to determine if you can minimize your deductible while keeping your premiums at a reasonable level.