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Cook county Board cuts tax on out-of-county purchases

Thursday, June 20, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
by David Roeder & Jon Seidel

The Cook County Board voted Wednesday to cut a tax that mostly applies to business purchases made outside of the county.

On a voice vote with one dissent, the board voted to reduce the tax on purchases of non-titled personal property from 1.25 percent to 0.75 percent.

The tax applies to sales outside of Cook County for tangible goods such as office supplies and furniture, but not real estate or vehicles. Buyers in Cook County are liable for the tax once their purchases exceed $3,500 per year.

It was instituted in 2012 to capture revenue from deals by Chicago-area companies seeking to avoid the county’s sales tax. It was promoted as part of a “buy local” push to keep business within the county.

But the tax and its reporting requirements drew complaints. At least two lawsuits accuse the county of illegally imposing a value-based tax not authorized by the state Legislature. Preckwinkle has argued the tax falls within the county’s home-rule powers.

The 0.75 percent rate matches the county’s sales tax rate.



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