News and Insights

Cook County Implements Voluntary Disclosure Program and Offers Interest Waivers for Taxpayers Who Register by October 31, 2011

Tax Development Oct 19, 2011

Illinois’ Cook County Department of Revenue (“Department”) has implemented a Voluntary Disclosure Program (“Program”) to provide unregistered businesses within the county an opportunity to register and remit any taxes owed to the Department without being subject to certain penalties. Taxpayers that self-assess and pay all outstanding tax liabilities and interest owed for the four-year period immediately prior to the date of registration will be relieved of paying any penalties associated with the tax liabilities for that period.

An extra incentive is available for a business that registers with the Department by October 31, 2011. These businesses will only be required to remit the amount of uncollected tax owed from September 1, 2007 to October 31, 2011. The Department will waive all interest charges, in addition to any penalties owed during this period.

A business that registers after October 31, 2011, will be required to pay all outstanding taxes due for the four-year period prior to the date of registration and will also be subject to the 15% APR standard interest rate. The Department will still waive the 10% late payment penalty and the 25% failure to pay penalty.

A business that fails to register with the Department prior to investigation or being issued a notice of audit will be exposed to fines and penalties. The business will be required to pay back taxes for either the preceding seven years or from the date business was commenced (whichever is sooner in time). An unregistered business will further be subject to and responsible for all penalties and interest owed for those tax periods, and action by the Department could result in a tax lien being filed against business assets.

The Program is available to all unregistered businesses that have not been issued a notice of tax audit or investigation. The Program applies to the following taxes: Alcoholic Beverages Tax, Amusement Tax, Gas Tax, Use Tax, Sales of New Motor Vehicles Tax, and Parking Garage Tax. Taxpayers may initiate participation in the Program by completing a Voluntary Disclosure Application and a Voluntary Disclosure Self-Assessment Tax Liability Schedule and submitting them to the Department.