What is an administrative hearing?

An administrative hearing is a formal legal proceeding conducted pursuant to the rules adopted by the Department of Revenue and is presided over by an administrative law judge. To file a protest and ask for an administrative hearing, follow the instructions on your notice. An administrative hearing is a quasi-judicial proceeding. In other words, all phases of hearing and preliminary activities will be presided over by an administrative law judge and handled like matters in circuit court.

If the amount of tax, exclusive of penalty and interest is $15,000 or less, or if no tax is assessed but the total penalties and interest is $15,000 or less, file a protest and request an administrative hearing with Department. If the amount of tax, exclusive of penalty and interest is more than $15,000, or if no tax is assessed but the total penalties and interest is more than $15,000, rather than seek an administrative hearing, you have the right to file a petition with the Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal.

The administrative rules that govern department administrative hearings are located in  86 Ill. Adm. Code, Part 200.  A summary of the administrative hearing rules is provided below. Please consult the formal rules for complete details so that you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities concerning a hearing. To receive a copy of the complete rules, contact the administrative clerk at the hearing location identified in the notice we send you. 

  1. Taxpayers may represent themselves or be represented by attorneys who are licensed to practice in Illinois. All attorneys must file a power of attorney prior to the hearing.
  2. All notices will be personally served or sent by certified mail prior to a scheduled hearing.
  3. If the taxpayer does not appear for any set matter, the taxpayer will be found in default.
  4. The evidence and conduct of the hearings shall be similar to that in court proceedings. Rules of evidence, as used in civil courts of this state, will be observed.
  5. Requests for continuance of any set matter must be in writing and filed no later than 48 hours prior to the date set for the proceeding. Any request or motion that does not meet these requirements will not be considered unless of an emergency nature.
  6. Any party may engage in motion practice before the Administrative Hearings Division and employ any motion normally brought in a circuit court proceeding.
  7. Once a power of attorney has been filed, taxpayer representatives cannot withdraw from representation without the presiding administrative law judge's approval.
  8. To become part of the official record, all papers, documents, and other matters that are not otherwise admitted into evidence in a hearing proceeding must be appropriately captioned and filed with the administrative clerk.
  9. Taxpayers or their representatives may move to disqualify the administrative law judge assigned to the case for reasons of demonstrable conflict or bias.

After the hearing, a recommendation will be submitted to the Director of the Department of Revenue. Upon the Director's acceptance, you or your representative will receive notice of the final administrative decision. If the determination is against you, you may file a complaint with the circuit court within 35 days of the date the decision was mailed or personally served on you.

If you request and are granted an administrative hearing, it will be held at one of the following locations:

James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph Street
Level 7, Room 314
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Willard Ice Building
101 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62702

If you have additional inquiries, you may submit them to the Questions, Comments, or Request form.