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State asks local governments to return $168M in overpaid revenue

Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., shown in 2006. (AP File Photo/Seth Perlman)

Oops.

State officials on Tuesday announced they want millions of dollars back in alleged tax revenue overpayment.

The Illinois Department of Revenue said it’s discovered an overpayment of $168 million in tax revenues to some 6,500 taxing districts across Illinois. That means Chicago must return more than $19 million, Chicago Public Schools another $23.5 million and the Chicago Park District $5.5 million. Cook County owes $6.5 million, and the Cook County Forest Preserve owes about $994,000.

The department said the misallocation to the Personal Property Replacement Tax Fund began in 2014 under Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration, when some key forms were changed, resulting in “calculation errors.” The overpayment was noticed during a department implementation of a new ledger system to try to enhance accuracy and efficiency.

For 5,291 Illinois taxing districts, the individual taxing district’s total overpayments amount to less than $10,000. For 10 taxing districts, however, the overpayments totaled $1 million or more.

And seven of those ten are in the Chicago area.

In 2014, the total amount of the fund distributed to taxing districts was $1.37 billion, and in 2015 the amount was $1.43 billion, the department said.

“We are certainly sensitive to the impact recouping these funds will have on some of our taxing districts,” said Connie Beard, the department’s director, as the state grapples with massive debt and no budget.

But Beard said the errors have been disclosed to auditors for review, and districts will be able to pay the money back slowly.

“We will be working with the impacted taxing districts to establish a plan to recapture the funds over an extended period of time,” Beard said.

Mayoral spokeswoman Kelley Quinn, speaking on behalf of Chicago and CPS, said the city has requested further information from the state about the alleged overpayment.

“The City was made aware of this PPRT report earlier today. Currently, the City has no information regarding the State’s claim of overpayment,” Quinn said. “We are working with the other impacted Chicago government agencies, along with reaching out to the State to obtain further information.”

The state is required to send the city annual estimates about the payments. According to City Hall sources, the state has been paying the city a larger estimate than what they now claim is owed since the Quinn administration and into the current administration.

Govermental units with high amounts of alleged tax overpayments:

Chicago Public Schools: $23,539,141.83

City of Chicago: $19,439,963.81

Cook County: $6,545,312.15

Chicago Park District: $5,584,528.17

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago: $4,963,213.77

Rockford School District 205: $2,791,940.87

City Colleges of Chicago District 508: $1,695,994.32

Peoria School District 150: $1,481,210.91

Valley View School District 365U (Serving Bolingbrook, Romeoville and parts of Plainfield, Lockport, and Downers Grove): $1,199,074.86

Granite City School District 9: $1,002,984.32

Cook County Forest Preserve: $994,087.35

Joliet Township High School District 204: $919,099.89

City Of Peoria: $897,895.92

Township High School District 214 (Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, Mt. Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling, And Des Plaines): $889,092.36

Waukegan School District 60: $845,377.88

Springfield Unit School District 186: $804,530.83

Peoria County: $540,241.28

Peoria Park District: $246,333.24

Source: Illinois Department of Revenue