Tax Facts, Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois

Below are summaries of select, noteworthy state and local tax (other than property tax) decisions issued by Illinois federal and state courts and the Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal (Tax Tribunal) within the past year or so, in reverse date order of publication.

Authors: David P. Dorner Jeremy P. Gove

Chicago Tribune Co. v. Cook County Assessor’s Office, 2018 IL App (1st) 170455 (1st Dist. June 29, 2018). The Chicago Tribune sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Cook County Assessor’s Office requesting the Assessor’s Office to produce records regarding its valuation of properties in Cook County. The Assessor’s Office denied the request, citing the “deliberative process exemption” (also referred to as the “preliminary records exemption”) found at 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(f). The Chicago Tribune challenged the denial in court. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the Circuit Court ruled in favor of the Chicago Tribune and the Appellate Court affirmed. The Appellate Court agreed with the Circuit Court that the deliberative process exemption did not apply because (1) the requested records are “final” determinations, not “prelimi-nary”; and (2) the requested records are not ones in which opinions are expressed or in which policies or actions are formulated, but are factual in nature. The Appellate Court also noted that “the public has a strong right to know about how they are being taxed by their government as opposed to the government’s fairly meek interest in secrecy.”

Republic Bancorp Co. v. Beard, Director of Rev., et al., 2018 IL App (2d) 170350 (2d Dist. June 8, 2018). S corporations are subject to Illinois Personal Property Tax Replacement Income Tax (replacement tax) on their income, but are allowed a deduction for income passed through to shareholders that are also subject to the replacement tax to avoid double taxation. Republic, an S corporation, claimed a deduction from its taxable income for income passed through to its shareholders (all of which were grantor trusts), based on the argument that each of the grantor trusts was subject to the replacement tax.