SPRINGFIELD | Illinois’ beleaguered budget could see an infusion of $212 million in new money if the U.S. Congress approves legislation that would force Internet retailers to collect sales tax.
The figure, contained in a 2011 Illinois Department of Revenue report, shows that businesses in Illinois would pay about $82 million of that from their online purchases, while households would pay the remaining $130 million.
Currently, the state’s online sales tax collection process is largely voluntary. Taxpayers are supposed to acknowledge how much they owe from Internet purchases on their state income tax returns.
In 2011, Illinois taxpayers paid just $12.1 million through that process. The study estimates the state should have seen an influx of more than $150 million that year.
Under the legislation pending in Washington, states wanting to cash in on the added revenue would have to provide retailers with computer software to collect taxes. Retailers with less than $1 million in annual sales from online would be exempted from the program.
Illinois officials are hopeful Congress takes swift action.
“The best way to resolve this matter is federal legislation making it very clear that an Illinois customer must pay Illinois sales taxes,” said Revenue spokeswoman Sue Hofer.