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Chicago offers amusement tax amnesty


 Chicago offers businesses amusement tax amnesty.

The Chicago Department of Finance has unveiled a new Amusement Tax Voluntary Disclosure Program for business satellite TV subscribers, such as restaurants and bars.

According to the department, tax amnesty is being offered “because many businesses were previously unaware of their obligation to pay the Amusement Tax on charges paid for satellite TV services used in Chicago.” It reminds that while satellite TV providers are exempt from collecting local taxes under the Federal Communications Act, customers are not exempt from paying them.

It’s a “special, limited time offer.” Businesses with outstanding amusement tax liability have until December 31, 2016 to apply to the program. The department will waive all interest and penalties for successful participants who pay outstanding amusement tax dating back to July 1, 2015. In addition, the department will waive liability for periods before July 1, 2015, “including amusement tax, interest, and penalties.” Additional information about the amnesty program is available here.

Amusement Tax Ruling #5

Chicago’s amusement tax was expanded to any paid television programming as a result of Amusement Tax Ruling #5. For Chicagoans, that means the cost of their Hulu, Netflix, and Spotify subscriptions increased by 9%, as did charges for streaming electronically delivered music and games. The effective date of the change was officially July 1, 2015. However, the department limited the effect of the ruling “to periods on and after September 1, 2015” in order to give time for businesses to “make required system changes.” The ruling was released on June 9, 2015. Read more about the Chicago amusement tax here.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.