Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Illinois Tax Amnesty Collects More Than Expected

By Mary Massingale, Illinois Statehouse News
Preliminary figures show the state’s tax amnesty program outpaced estimates of the Legislature and the governor’s office by at least one-third. A report released Monday showed a net gain of $331.9 million to the state’s general funds as of Dec. 1. Gov. Pat Quinn's budget office only estimated garnering $250 million from the program that allowed retailers and corporate and personal income tax scofflaws to pay up without penalty.

Experts  had predicted the state would collect $100 million from the program running from Oct. 1 through Nov. 15 for back taxes owed between June 30, 2002, and July 1, 2009.

However, $331.9 million pales when compared to a budget deficit estimated at $13 billion to $15 billion for next year. And the author of the report cautions the money would have been collected eventually, as regular Illinois Department of Revenue audits would have hunted down the deadbeats.

“. . . It must be stressed that the vast majority of these revenues are not new revenues but rather an acceleration of tax revenue that would have ultimately have been collected later in FY 2011 or in subsequent fiscal years,” wrote analyst Eric Noggle for the Legislature’s economic forecasting arm, COGFA

A Revenuye Department spokesman said her agency is trying to determine how much of the payments will be returned to local governments. If a retailer is paying back sales tax, for example, only 5 percent of that amount goes to the state, while any other local share would go back to the original taxing body, she said.

You can read Mary's full report at: http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/4681/illinois-tax-amnesty-program-collects-more-than-expected-but-money-not-new/

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