Section 1910.75  Access to Board Records – Freedom of Information Procedures


a)         Board Policy

            This Section is established to implement the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act [5 ILCS 140].  The purpose of this Section is to support the policy of providing public access to public records in the possession of the Property Tax Appeal Board while, at the same time, protecting legitimate privacy interests in confidentiality.


b)         Definitions


1)         FOIA − the Freedom of Information Act [5 ILCS 140].


2)         Freedom of Information Officer − the individual responsible for receiving and responding to requests for public records.


3)         Requester − a person who submits a written or electronic request for public records in accordance with this Section.


4)         Business Days − calendar days other than Saturdays and Sundays and legal State holidays.


5)         Public Access Counselor – an individual appointed to that office by the Attorney General under Section 7 of the Attorney General Act  [15 ILCS 205].


c)         Person to Whom Requests are Submitted

            Requests for public records shall be submitted to the Freedom of Information Officer of the Board.  Requests shall be submitted to the following address:


            Freedom of Information Officer

            Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board

            402 Stratton Building

            401 South Spring Street

            Springfield IL 62706

            ATTN:  FOIA Request

            Fax:  217/785-4425

E-mail:  PTA.Webmaster@illinois.gov


d)         Form and Contents of Requests


1)         Requests in accordance with FOIA and this Section shall be in writing and may be submitted via mail, e-mail, fax, hand delivery, or other means available.  These requests may be submitted on FOIA request forms provided by the Board. For e-mailed requests, indicate in the subject line of the e-mail that it contains a FOIA request.


2)         Oral requests are not precluded by FOIA; the Board may honor oral requests for inspection or copying. (See 5 ILCS 140/3(c).)


3)         The requester shall provide the following information in a request for public records:


A)        The requester's full name, mailing address, telephone number, and, optionally, an electronic mail address;


B)        A brief description of the public records sought, being as specific as possible;


C)        Whether the request is for inspection of public records, copies of public records or electronic copies;


D)        A statement as to the requested medium and format for the Board to use in providing the records sought, for example, paper, specific types of digital or magnetic media, or videotape; and


E)        A statement as to whether the request is for a commercial purpose.


e)         Inspection of Records at the Board's Offices


1)         Generally, public records will be available for inspection by appointment only at the Board's offices in Springfield or Des Plaines between the hours of 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, except on State holidays.  Space will be provided for the requester to inspect public records.


2)         An employee of the Board may be present throughout the inspection.


3)         A requester shall not be permitted to take briefcases, bags, folders or other similar materials, or pens, into the inspection area.


4)         A requester will be permitted to take pencils and paper into the inspection area.


5)         Documents the requester wishes to have copied shall be segregated during the course of inspection.  Generally, all copying will be done by Board employees.


f)         Copies of Public Records


1)         Copies of public records shall be provided to the requester only upon payment of any charges that are due.


2)         There is no fee for up to 50 pages of standard paper copies.  For pages beyond 50, there is a 15 cent per-page charge.  Fees for copies of public records shall be assessed in accordance with Section 6(a) of FOIA.  A schedule of fees will be available in each of the Board's offices as required by Section 4 of FOIA.  Fees may be reduced or waived if the requester provides a written fee waiver request that includes a specific explanation as to why the request for information is in the public interest, not simply in the requester's personal interest, and merits a fee waiver that satisfies the criteria set forth in Section 6(c) of FOIA.


3)         Fees will be waived if the requester is a federal, State or municipal agency, a constitutional officer, member of the General Assembly, or a not-for-profit organization providing evidence of good standing with the Secretary of State's Office.


4)         Payment shall be made by check or money order payable to the Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board and sent to the Freedom of Information Officer.


5)         If the requester is unwilling or unable to pick up the copies of requested records at the Board's offices, the requester shall bear mailing or shipping costs.


g)         Time for Response


1)         The Freedom of Information Officer shall respond to a written request for public records within 5 business days after receipt of the request. Failure to comply with a written request, extend the time for response, or deny a request within 5 business days after its receipt shall be considered a denial of the request.  If the Board fails to respond to a request within the requisite periods stated in this subsection (g), but thereafter provides the requester with copies of the requested records, it will not impose a fee for those copies.  If the Board fails to respond to a request received, it will not treat the request as unduly burdensome under subsection (g) of FOIA [5 ILCS 140/3(d)].


2)         In the event the request for public records cannot be responded to within 5 business days for one of the reasons provided in Section 3(e) of FOIA, the Board shall have an additional 5 business days in which to respond.  The Board shall give the requester notice of the extension of time to respond.  The notice of extension shall set forth the reasons why the extension is necessary and the date by which the response will be forthcoming.  Additionally, the requester and the Board may agree in writing to extend the time for compliance for a period to be determined by the parties.


h)         Types of Board Responses


1)         The Freedom of Information Officer shall respond to a request for public records in one of three ways:


A)        approve the request;


B)        approve in part and deny in part; or


C)        deny the request.


2)         Upon approval of a request for public records, the Freedom of Information Officer may either provide the materials immediately, give notice that the materials shall be made available upon payment of reproduction costs, or give notice of the time and place for inspection of records.


3)         A denial of a request for public records shall be made in writing.  It shall state the reasons for the denial in accordance with either Section 9(a) or (b) of FOIA and the names and titles of individuals responsible for the decision.  It shall also give notice of the requester's right to appeal to the Public Access Counselor.


4)         Categorical requests creating an undue burden upon the Board shall be denied only after extending to the requester an opportunity to confer in an attempt to reduce the request to manageable proportions in accordance with Section 3(g) of FOIA.


5)         Failure to respond to a written request within 5 business days may be considered by the requester a denial of the request.


i)          Appeal of a Denial


1)         A requester whose request for public records has been denied by the Freedom of Information Officer may appeal the denial to the Public Access Counselor established in the Office of the Attorney General not later than 60 days after the date of the final denial. [5 ILCS 140/9.5(a)]


2)         A requester also has the right to file suit for injunctive or declaratory relief in the Circuit Court for Sangamon County or for the county in which the requester resides, in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section 11 of FOIA.  


(Source:  Amended at 38 Ill. Reg. 19171, effective October 1, 2014)