Update on Legislation in the General Assembly

Lottery

SB 513 (Sen. John Cullerton) passed the Senate 36-4-4-0 as a shell bill. It is the sponsor’s intent to have a House amendment added to the bill to extend the sunset date for the Lottery’s Internet pilot program. The pilot program is set to expire March 25.

Taxes

SB 2218 (Sen. Pamela Althoff) was passed out of the Senate Revenue Committee and is now on second reading in the Senate. It would establish a sales tax refund fund similar to the existing income tax refund fund. The Illinois Chamber supports this legislation.

SB 2309 (Sen. Althoff) is another Illinois Chamber of Commerce initiative. This bill amends the False Claims Act to correct abuses allowed under the current law. It’s identical to SB 1828, by Altoff, offered last year. Senate Revenue Committee Chair Sen. Toi Hutchinson has advised that she plans to hold another hearing on this subject in Chicago

SB 2510 (Sen. Terry Link) would create the State Tax Preparer Oversight Act. This legislation resulted from the Illinois Tax Return Preparation Task Force and provides that, for taxable years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017, the Department of Revenue shall require any income tax return preparer to include his or her PTIN on any tax return prepared by the income tax return preparer and filed under the Illinois Income Tax Act or any claim for refund of tax imposed by the Illinois Income Tax Act. Provides that the Department may bar or suspend an income tax return preparer for good cause.

SB 2776 (Sen. Althoff) would amend the Illinois Estate and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Act and provides that, for persons dying on or after Jan. 1, 2017, the exclusion amount shall be the applicable exclusion amount under the Internal Revenue Code.

SB 2786 (Sen. Link) is an Illinois Chamber of Commerce initiative. This legislation amends the Use Tax Act, the Service Use Tax, the Service Occupation Tax Act, and the Retailers’ Occupation Tax Act and provides that, beginning on July 1, 2016, tangible personal property used in the construction or operation of a new or existing data center that has been granted a certificate of exemption by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is exempt from the taxes imposed under those Acts.

SB 2904 (Sen. Bill Brady) is an Illinois Chamber of Commerce initiative. It would amend the Use Tax Act, the Service Use Tax Act, the Service Occupation Tax Act, and the Retailers’ Occupation Tax Act to extend the sunset date for the expanded temporary storage exemption from the current June 30, 2016, date to June 30, 2021.

SB 2921 (Sens. Hutchinson and Althoff) is also an Illinois Chamber of Commerce initiative. This legislation would amend the Uniform Penalty and Interest Act to provide that the penalty for failure to pay the tax shown due or required to be shown due on a return shall be 15% (instead of 20%) of any amount that is paid after the date the Department has initiated an audit or investigation of the taxpayer. The bill provides that the penalty shall be rescinded if the taxpayer paid to the Department at least 95% of the final liability resulting from an audit or investigation prior to the initiation of the audit or investigation.

SB 3009 (Sen. Chuck Weaver) is another Illinois Chamber initiative. This legislation creates the Business and Employment Development Tax Credit Act to replace the existing EDGE Credit that is scheduled to sunset at the end of 2016. The legislation provides that the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity may certify a business as eligible for an income tax credit under the Act and may award credits to certified businesses.

Other Bills

HB 580 (Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch) passed the House last week. The House debate lasted several hours. This bill revisits a previous attempt by the legislature to empower an arbitrator to settle negotiation disputes between public sector unions and the governor. The bill now heads to the Senate.

HB 1260 (Rep. Ann Williams/Sen. Daniel Biss) passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday. This is the negotiated data security bill and the Illinois Chamber supports its passage.

SB 2891 (Sen. Bill Haine) would amend the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act to give some protections to employers who have or need policies on the use or possession of medical cannabis by employees.

Both the House and Senate will return to Springfield on Tuesday, March 1.

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