Settle Your Illinois Tax Bill for Less: Illinois Offers Tax Amnesty Program to Relieve Interest and Certain Penalties

On June 5, 2019, the Illinois legislature passed the 2019 Illinois Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act, which took effect October 1, 2019. This program offers taxpayers a short window to settle any outstanding tax debts, file for missed tax years, or amend any inaccurate returns that relate to the period between June 30, 2011 and July 1, 2018. The Illinois Department of Revenue will waive all related eligible interest and most penalties for participating taxpayers. To take advantage of this opportunity, an Illinois taxpayer must file all required outstanding original or amended returns and pay the outstanding tax liability in full by November 15, 2019.

The program covers waiver of penalties and interest on taxes due from tax periods ending after June 30, 2011 and before July 1, 2018. Taxpayers may be selective in choosing which tax liabilities to pay off. For example, if a taxpayer owes a large liability for tax year 2014 with large associated penalties, a smaller liability with minimal interest from 2015, and did not file in 2016, the taxpayer could submit payment for the 2014 liability and file a 2016 return with included payment for the full liability owed, but decline to pay the 2015 liability through the program. The Department of Revenue advises taxpayers to identify which tax years the taxpayer is intending to pay.  Without a clear designation, the Department may apply the payments to tax periods at its own discretion – even to tax periods outside of the disclosure program. Taxpayers are encouraged to submit separate payments for each liability sought to satisfy.

The program is only open to tax liabilities within the Department of Revenue’s jurisdiction. Thus, outstanding liabilities for property tax, estate tax, and franchise taxes are not eligible for the program.


Other important considerations to keep in mind:
  • Interest and penalties are waived only for related tax liabilities that are paid in full by November 15, 2019.
  • Tax liability must be owed, the program will not apply to liabilities of solely penalties and interest.
  • Taxpayers may not enter into the program for tax periods for which the taxpayer is already involved in a pending tax-related civil or criminal matter.
  • If outstanding tax liabilities have been turned over to a collection agency, taxpayer should direct payment to the collection agency.

For additional information, please visit: 2019 Illinois Tax Delinquency Amnesty Act

For questions about this program or other state or federal-related tax matters, contact Kaid Koester or any attorney in the Tax Controversy Group.

About the Author

Kaid A. Koester represents individuals and businesses in civil and criminal tax disputes involving the Internal Revenue Service and State Departments of Revenue. He also provides tax planning advice and assists clients in ensuring compliance with their federal and state tax obligations.

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The content on this post does not constitute legal advice, may be geographically or time sensitive, and is for informational purposes only. Any opinions expressed in this post are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney. You should not act upon the information presented herein without seeking the advice of legal counsel. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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