Illinois' Gift to Online Shoppers: Amnesty Program

Do you ever buy items online from the comfort of your Chicago home?
You might owe Illinois some sales tax.
young woman in shopping online at home with presents around herBuying online often results in a savings of sales tax, but the state wants its money.
Under a new law passed last year, Illinois residents who owe the state sales tax can pay what they owe without penalty through a sales tax amnesty program.
The amnesty program will run from January 1 through October 15 and applies to anyone who didn’t pay sales tax on items they bought online, through the mail or over the phone from June 30, 2004 through December 31, 2010.
Unless an online retailer has a store located in Illinois, there is no law forcing that retailer to collect sales tax.
Illinoisans are supposed to make up for the missed sales tax on these kinds of purchases and pay up when they file their income taxes, but how many people do you know that do that?
The Department of Revenue reported last year that Illinois could be losing out on as much $150 million a year in sales tax revenue. That money could come in handy considering our state budget is facing a $13 billion deficit.
So, be honest, how do you buy your holiday gifts?