Suffredin- Changing County Government  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.


The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.

  Cook County is the second most populous county in the nation. It is the 19th largest government in the U.S.

Illinois Supreme Court leaves sales tax loophole open
Court rules new regulations will be needed to curb tax avoidance

Friday, November 22, 2013
Chicago Tribune
by Ameet Sachdev

The Illinois Supreme Court delivered a mixed ruling Thursday on the complicated issue of how local governments collect sales taxes.

The court found that a petroleum marketer once based in Cook County correctly interpreted state regulations when it opened a sales office in Putnam County to avoid paying higher sales tax in Cook County.

But the court, in an unanimous opinion, also ruled that the regulation erroneously constricts the scope of the taxation -- meaning that the Illinois Department of Revenue will have to come up with new regulations that could potentially close a loophole exploited by dozens of businesses. 

The decision was highly anticipated by both business and government.

Saddled with some of the nation's highest sales taxes, some Chicago area businesses have found a creative way to avoid them: They route purchases through offices in downstate counties with lower sales taxes. These companies, ranging from catalog houses and oil companies to computer purveyors, shift the official point of purchase from the Chicago area to such locations as Kankakee and Channahon in order to escape the high sales-tax rates in Cook and some collar counties.

The giant loophole exists because Illinois is one of the few states in which sales tax is applied where a purchase is accepted rather than where the product is delivered.

One of the biggest critics of the tax-avoidance tactics is the Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees the CTA, Metra and Pace. The RTA, which relies on sales tax for half of its budget, argues that companies that maintain their businesses in or around Cook County shouldn’t be able to opt out of paying taxes by establishing a token presence elsewhere. The point of taxes, after all, is to get people to pay for the services where they receive them. That includes, for example, the trains and buses their employees ride to work.

Just how much money is at stake is hard to track. In one specific case, the RTA alleges that United and American airlines, which set up offices in DeKalb County to buy jet fuel, deprived public transit agencies of nearly $300 million during the past seven years.

Hartney Fuel Oil Co. went to court to prove that their tax scheme was legal. Hartney is a fuel marketing company that purchases fuel oil from large fuel supplies and sells it to customers such as railroads, trucking companies and gas stations. Its headquarters were in west suburban Forest View, but starting in 1985 it moved its sales operations out of Cook County to Elmhurst and other towns with lower tax rates.

The company has said in court papers that it looked to minimize its sales tax to offer competitive prices to customers.

In 2008, the Illinois Department of Revenue challenged Hartney's claim that its sales office was in Mark, a tiny village in Putnam County, about two hours southwest of Chicago. Starting in 2003, Hartney had a phone and space rented in the office of Putnam County Painting Co., enabling Hartney to claim it as the point of sale for its fuel business, records show.

Putnam County has no local sales tax so its tax rate is the same as the state’s, 6.25 percent. By comparison, Chicago’s tax rate is 9.25 percent and it was higher a few years ago.

In the Revenue Department's opinion, Hartney's business actually took place at its longtime office in Forest View, where orders were processed and fuel shipped by a related company. The state said Hartney owed $23 million in back taxes, interest and penalties.

A Putnam County judge ruled in favor of Hartney, and an appeals court upheld the ruling. The state, the RTA, Cook County and Forest View appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Recent Headlines

Preckwinkle counters IG report on Cook hospitals, says system continues 'to reform and modernize'
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Clerk Brown, vendors discuss e-filing users’ first steps in Cook County
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wilmette to reconsider adopting Cook County minimum wage, sick time laws next month
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Bill to keep pregnant women out of jail while they await trial reaches governor's desk
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Special to

Inspector general: Cook County hospitals lost roughly $165 million due to widespread errors
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Chicago Tribune

3 Cook County police vehicles damaged in Oak Forest crashes
Sunday, May 13, 2018
Daily Southtown

Seattle Soda Tax Revenue Is Exceeding Projections
Friday, May 11, 2018
Governing Magazin

Facebook: Cook County data mining lawsuit designed to benefit only county government, its hired lawyers
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Cook County Record

Cutting court interpreters threatens due process rights, even victim safety, union says
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Chicago Reader

Assessor’s Office new residential property assessment model unveiled for Tax Year 2018 reassessment
Wednesday, May 02, 2018
Special to

CEDA scholarships
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
Special to

County’s ‘Scavenger’ Sale To Boost Blighted Neighborhoods
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
WBEZ Public Radio

Cook County selling nearly 3,200 vacant lots to encourage redevelopment
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook County property owners with past-due tax bills could face steeper payments after Friday
Monday, April 30, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Cook Sheriff: Backpage, attorneys owe Cook County for 'hoax' suit over sheriff's credit card squeeze
Friday, April 27, 2018
Cook County Record

Two Cook County branch courthouses could close in budget cuts that followed pop tax repeal
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Western Springs Board votes to follow county ordinance, raising minimum wage to $11 this year
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Pioneer Press

Mother files complaint, says while she was at Daley Center for jury duty, staff sent her to men’s room to pump breast milk
Monday, April 23, 2018
Chicago Tribune

Challenge to filing fee has some worth
Monday, April 16, 2018
Chicago Daily law Bulletin

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.