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Interest and Penalties

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Since our previous blog post, several more states have provided tax relief by extending filing and payment deadlines in response to the COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) outbreak.  However, numerous state tax departments are also canceling in-person customer service, which could make it more difficult for taxpayers to receive timely answers to their filing questions.  We are also seeing the continued impact of COVID-19 on state and local tax litigation as more state courts and administrative tribunals adjourn hearing dates or move to conduct certain proceedings remotely.

Numerous state and local jurisdictions have responded to the COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) outbreak by providing relief to taxpayers, primarily through extended filing and payment deadlines. We expect that many more jurisdictions will issue guidance in the coming weeks, particularly because the federal government recently announced its 90-day income tax payment extension plan.

Over the years, too many corporations doing business in Illinois have had the unfortunate experience of receiving a notice of delinquency from the Office of the Secretary of State of Illinois (the “Secretary of State”) demanding immediate payment of additional franchise tax, penalties, and interest. Not to be confused with the Illinois corporate income tax, which is administered by the Illinois Department of Revenue, the Illinois franchise tax is codified in the Business Corporate Act of 1983, 805 ILCS 5/1.01, et seq. (the “BCA”), and is administered by the Secretary of State. The franchise tax is considered a fee for the privilege and protections of “incorporation”, and therefore only applies to “corporations” and not other business entities (e.g., LLCs, LLP, GPs, etc.). The Illinois franchise tax base is measured by a corporation’s Illinois “paid-in capital” — meaning, funds generated by corporations by issuing stock, plus additional cash/equity contributed by shareholders.

The Illinois legislature recently passed several tax related bills along with a budget. The tax changes are primarily reflected in Senate Bills 689 and 690. Governor Pritzker signed S.B. 689 on June 5, 2019 and is expected to sign S.B. 690 shortly. The following is a summary of some of the more significant tax changes applicable to businesses.