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It is stated, "No ruling may be cited or relied upon for any purpose after the date of its revocation, and the ruling will cease to bind the Department after the date of revocation." Taxpayers must apply for a new ruling prior to their previous ruling expiring in order to avoid risking being out of compliance with the state. (Title 2 Part 1200 Section 1200.110(e), effective April 11, 2002.)


The Illinois tax amnesty will run from October 1, 2003 to November 17, 2003 and is applicable to any tax period ending after June 30, 1983 but before July 1, 2002. It also has some distinct provisions which require special attention. Unlike most amnesties, there is no application form. To participate, taxpayers should send full payment of taxes due for a tax-reporting period for a particular tax type, along with the appropriate returns, forms, and/or schedules to the Department of Revenue no later than November 17th. The amnesty applies to periods ending after June 30, 1983 and prior to July 1, 2002. If a taxpayer has a Protest pending before the Department's Office of Administrative Hearings, fails to participate in amnesty, and the litigation proves unsuccessful, the taxpayer will be subject to the imposition of penalties and interest at 200% of the statutory rate. If the taxpayer is a party to any civil litigation pending in any Illinois court with respect to nonpayment, delinquency, or fraud in relation to any Illinois state tax, they will not be eligible for amnesty. Taxpayers may also select what tax types they choose to enter into the amnesty period; not all require disclosure in to in order to participate. Along with the law change, for periods after December 31, 2003, a new two-tiered interest rate will be imposed by the State. (Illinois Department of Revenue, Amnesty Regulations Section 521.101, 521.105, September 11, 2003)


As of July 1, 2003, Illinois is putting a halt to many of the state's exemptions in attempts to help bolster the state's revenue. The following items are no longer exempt from Illinois retailers' occupation (sales) tax, service occupation (sales) tax, service use tax, and use tax: pollution control facilities and devices; replacement passenger cars; graphic arts machinery and equipment; oil field exploration, drilling, and production equipment; coal exploration, mining, processing and reclamation equipment; and distillation machinery and equipment for producing ethyl alcohol to be used as motor fuel for the user's personal use. (S.B. 842, Laws 2003, effective as noted above.)


The tax credit program for manufacturers will cease for purchases of manufacturing machinery and equipment or graphic arts machinery and equipment made after June 30, 2003. All unused manufacturer's purchase credits earned for purchases made through June 30, 2003, must be used before October 1, 2003. (Illinois Informational Bulletin, July 2003, effective as noted.)


There are distinct uncertainties regarding the future of the Illinois Certified Audit Program (CAP). The program is designed to allow Illinois firms to hire an outside firm to audit their sales and use tax returns, and in return, have the penalties and interest waived. Enacted in 2001, the authorizing statute faces a sunset provision, which would mean a termination of the program in July 2004. If implemented, it is expected that the program would bring in an additional $2 million or more in the first year, based upon examination of a similar program in another state. The CAP now awaits action by the Director of the Illinois Department of Revenue, after competing bills, one in favor and one against the bill, were both rejected. (Capitol Assets, Future of Certified Audit Program Uncertain, Volume 16, Issue 1, June 11, 2003)



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