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Cook County offering tax relief, too
The county is waiving a series of fines and fees and deferring tax collections. It "will assist our businesses in terms of cash flow to the tune of $35 million during these trying times," Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.

Thursday, March 26, 2020
Crain's Chicago Business
by A.D. Quig

Cook County offering tax relief, too

The county is waiving a series of fines and fees and deferring tax collections. It "will assist our businesses in terms of cash flow to the tune of $35 million during these trying times," Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.

Cook County flag
Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is joining other government leaders announcing temporary tax relief as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Preckwinkle is waiving a series of county fines and fees and deferring tax collections, she said in a release, adding it "will assist our businesses in terms of cash flow to the tune of $35 million during these trying times."

 

 

"This is no ordinary time," Preckwinkle said at a news conference today. During a public health, economic and financial crisis, businesses "should not be worried a tax collector is coming after you, as well."

The deferral will not stress the county's budget, Cook County Chief Financial Officer Ammar Rizki said. "We can provide this relief and delay of collection because we're in a relatively better financial position than most other entities. Our businesses can use this money now that would otherwise be coming to the county. They can use this to cover payroll, rent or just to keep the lights on."

 

Jack Lavin, CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, said "we are hearing from our members across all company sizes and industries how (the pandemic) has drastically impacted them," including layoffs and shutdown of businesses. The chamber is launching a dedicated COVID-19 website with webinars, resources and financial relief information.

The county will extend the filing date for home rule taxes to May 1 for the February and March 2020 tax periods. No penalties or interest will be applied during the extension period. That applies to new motor vehicle taxes; use taxes for vehicle dealers; alcohol, amusement and tobacco taxes; gas, parking lot and firearm taxes; and the hotel accommodations tax.

No defaults would be issued until after May 1 on any payment plans due to missed payments during March and April.

All routine annual business inspections for commercial, industrial and solid-waste facilities in suburban Cook County will be suspended through April 30, and the county's Department of Administrative Hearings will postpone the adjudication of cases until at least April 15.

"While our grocery stores are filled with customers, other segments of the retail industry are frankly still just trying to hold on," said Tanya Triche Dawood, vice president and general counsel of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. The No. 1 call for help she hears from retailers is for cash flow. "They need access to cash. This is exactly what this measure will do for them."

Triche Dawood encouraged customers to shop as they normally would and not stock up, since stresses on grocery stores also affect the availability of extra food at local pantries. "The food is there; the consumer products are there. It's going to take a bit of time to get them where they need to be," she said. "It's a strong supply chain. Shop your normal shopping patterns. There's going to be enough for everyone if everyone does that."

 

 

 



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