Cook County Updating Home Rule Tax Code to Improve Service, Increase Efficiency

A package of Home Rule Tax Ordinance reforms aimed at providing individuals and businesses with a simplified process while improving the efficiency of the Cook County Department of Revenue (CCDOR) were approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday.

Supported by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, these nine ordinance amendments clarify existing law, promote fair and equitable enforcement, strengthen compliance efforts and increase convenience for taxpayers. The proposed amendment changes will not result in any increased tax rates.

“Through these updates to the Home Rule Tax Ordinance we can improve productivity, modernize tax enforcement and recognize new business practices,” Preckwinkle said. “Paying taxes should not be an archaic and confusing process for County businesses and individuals. These reforms will save time, streamline services and improve customer experience.”

In developing the amendments — which aim to clarify and standardize compliance, collection and payment information presented in sections of Home Rule Tax Ordinance — the County reached out to various business and industry groups. The amendments outline the responsibilities for remitting taxes to Cook County while updating definitions and recognizing new business practices.

The last comprehensive review of Cook County’s Home Rule Tax ordinances took place in 2011. The periodic review of ordinances assures they reflect best industry practices, reflect current law and allow for maximized enforcement efforts.

Notable proposed changes to Home Rule Tax Ordinances include:

  • Tax return and payment due dates will be the 20th of the month, consistent with current practice.
  • Motor vehicle dealers will no longer have to file annual information returns when monthly returns are already submitted.
  • Tobacco dealers will be permitted to redeem confiscated other tobacco products and consumable products if applicable taxes have been paid.
  • Valet parking operators will be required to remit parking tax but can take a credit for any tax paid by a lot Operator pursuant to a contract between the valet operator and lot operator or proof of such tax being paid.

“Through these amendments we are creating fair and equitable Home Rule Tax compliance and enforcement efforts,” Preckwinkle added. “This package of reforms is another part of our strategic vision to improve accessibility and modernize County tax collection.”

Preckwinkle noted that in addition to the proposed ordinance updates, CCDOR has been moving forward with the design, development and implementation of an Integrated Tax Processing Solution. The new tax administration system will allow the County to more efficiently administer Cook County Home Rule Taxes via online return filing and electronic payment options, while providing greater ease of use to our taxpaying public.