Cook County Department of Revenue and Bureau of Technology Awarded 2021 LocalSmart Award for Local IT Innovation of the Year
The Cook County Department of Revenue (DOR) and Bureau of Technology (BOT) were recently awarded a 2021 LocalSmart Award for Local IT Innovation of the Year by StateScoop Magazine for their work to modernize County operations through the Integrated Tax Processing System (ITPS) project.
The LocalSmart Awards honor the people and projects making local government better. This year, StateScoop readers cast more than one million votes, nearly quadrupling their 2020 vote tallies. Out of close to 100 nominees, 40 people and projects won this year, including Cook County.
"We appreciate this recognition and are proud of Cook County’s efforts to bring our tax processing into the 21st century which has the potential to save millions of dollars each year," said Interim Department of Revenue Director Ken Harris.
“The ITPS project is one of several of Cook County's major modernization efforts that have helped transform both our internal operations and the experience our residents have of our services," said Cook County Chief Information Officer Tom Lynch.
This phase of the project brought approximately 2,000 new taxpayers to file electronically for the first time in ITPS, and the online Taxpayer Portal allows taxpayers to register, file returns, pay their taxes, conduct online account maintenance, submit service requests and receive electronic correspondence within a single application. Cigarette, Other Tobacco Products, Vehicle Use, New Motor Vehicle and Gambling Machine taxes are now payable online through the newest phase of the project.
Staff from DOR also now have the capability to conduct tax discovery audits, investigations and collection activities in an integrated and seamless manner. This automation will also lead to greater compliance by existing taxpayers, which in turn will maximize revenues and place all taxpayers on a level playing field, while improving ease of use for the taxpaying public.
DOR previously used an archaic mainframe system and various other stand-alone databases running on different platforms to administer home rule taxes, such as those levied on alcohol, tobacco and parking.
The Department of Revenue expects Wheel Tax and Individual Use Tax (IUT) will go live in spring of 2022 with the start of the next billing cycle, completing the $11 million project that began in 2015. Wheel Tax and IUT will bring 140,000 – 150,000 additional new users to the system.
StateScoop reports on news and events impacting technology decisions in state and local government. With its website, daily newsletter and events, it works to bring together IT leaders and innovators from across government, academia and industry to exchange best practices and identify ways to improve state and city government.