New bill would identify Illinois lawmakers who haven’t filed tax returns

New bill would identify Illinois lawmakers who haven’t filed tax returns

Illinois House Bill 4039 would reveal publicly the names of state lawmakers who haven’t filed their state tax returns.

House Bill 4039, sponsored by state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, would release the names of lawmakers who failed to file their state tax returns and remained delinquent even after receiving notices of their tardiness.

Under McSweeney’s proposal, the tardy lawmakers’ names would be put on a list that would be released to the public 180 days after late notices are sent out, giving lawmakers time to send in their state income tax returns before their names are revealed to the public. Tardy lawmakers who come into compliance after the list becomes public would have their names removed from the list.

The impetus for the bill was a Chicago Tribune investigation that revealed 312 state employees had not filed their 2014 state tax returns. Among the 312 were two incumbent state lawmakers. Due to privacy rules, however, the Illinois Department of Revenue did not release the names on the tax returns, only the number and occupations of the late filers.

So far, delinquent state employees, including the two unidentified lawmakers, have received two notices informing them of their delinquency and asking them to respond. In addition to the notices, the state employees are subject to hundreds of dollars in fines and additional penalties of up to 10 percent of taxes due.

HB 4039 would be a step in the right direction toward some much-needed transparency in Illinois government. All politicians should be held to the same standards as the people they represent, and voters deserve to know which officeholders are not filing their taxes.

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