Tax amnesty program nets more than $60 million more than expected
Budget bill allowed taxpayers to pay liabilities without penalty
By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD — A tax amnesty program created during the passage of last year’s state operating budget has brought in nearly $240 million — approximately $60 million more than was expected — the Illinois Department of Revenue announced Tuesday.
The Illinois Tax Amnesty Program, proposed by Gov. JB Pritzker and passed as part of Senate Bill 689, allowed qualified taxpayers to pay off any outstanding state tax liability and have corresponding penalties and interest forgiven.
IDOR said in a news release that 63,006 taxpayers have taken advantage of the program, which brought in a verified $237 million as of Jan. 31.
More than $60 million of that money will go to local governments and approximately $7.5 million will go to the city of Chicago, according to a news release. The program ran from October to mid-November, and before its launch, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget estimated it would recover $175 million in outstanding liabilities.
“The Tax Amnesty program proved to be successful, and we are pleased so many taxpayers took the opportunity to come into compliance and earn a clean slate with the state of Illinois,” Acting IDOR Director David Harris said in a news release.
The department will continue to process and certify tax amnesty payments over the next several months to “ensure that the payments comply with the provisions of the program,” according to the release. The department expects to verify “tens of millions more toward unpaid liabilities” despite the program’s November end date.
“Our mission at the department is to ensure all taxpayers are treated fairly. By encouraging taxpayers with liabilities to pay what they owe, we build trust in the system while raising revenues the state can use to invest in our future,” Harris said.
Taxpayers eligible for the amnesty program would have incurred a tax liability after June 30, 2011, and before July 1, 2018, according to IDOR. Those participating had to fully pay their tax liability and submit original returns for any unfiled periods and amended returns for periods being adjusted.
More than 90 percent of the money brought in by the program came from payments for liabilities related to the business income tax, the sales tax and the individual income tax, according to the release.