Members of the retail business community are coming together to oppose a plan to expand who has access to their private sales tax information..

State Senator Michael Hastings’ bill would allow towns and cities to share certain tax information data with third-party vendors. He says it’s about fairness. “It’s about doing what’s right for your municipality. I think you’ve got to get the money back for towns that are being disenfranchised.”

Illinois Retail Merchants Association President Rob Karr is heading a coalition opposed to Hastings’ bill. He said a third-party vendor could trigger an audit of a retailer by running calculations based on its state and local tax information.

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“They can use two numbers to try to back into other numbers, make assumptions and trigger audits,” he said. “When you get audited, the business is on the hook for defending itself in that audit.”

Karr says the third party would only be interested in getting a commission when it finds mistakes in the tax distribution, not what's best for the cities.

“Contingency fee taints the system,” he said. “There’s no incentive for fairness or responsibility.”

Karr also said the data the third-party vendor mines could be used to sell more products to other cities and companies. He said that only California, Alabama and Louisiana allow this type of audit.


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