Cook County Use Tax Invalidated by Court

Oct. 10, 2013

Cook County, Ill., which includes a substantial portion of the Chicago metropolitan area, began imposing a use tax beginning April 1, 2013. The tax is imposed on all nontitled tangible personal property purchased from vendors located outside of Cook County.

An appellate court ruling on Oct. 3 allowed Cook County to resume collecting the tax with certain limitations. On Oct. 8, the Circuit Court of Cook County granted a taxpayer’s motion for summary judgment (Horwood Marcus & Berk Chartered v. Cook County Department of Revenue), superseding the appellate court’s ruling and declaring the Cook County use tax invalid. In its decision, the circuit court found that the Cook County use tax is unauthorized under the Illinois Counties Code and violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

At least one of the lawsuits challenging the tax contained a request to have amounts collected by Cook County refunded if the tax was struck down. This request is expected to be addressed in the published order to be released Oct. 11. Cook County may appeal the decision of the circuit court.


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