TITLE 14: COMMERCE
SUBTITLE C: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER I: DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
PART 520 ENTERPRISE ZONE AND HIGH IMPACT BUSINESS PROGRAMS
SECTION 520.930 APPLICATION APPROVAL PROCESS
Section 520.930 Application Approval Process
a) Application Approval Requirements. Applications shall be submitted to the Department, which shall approve or deny the application in writing within 90 days after receipt. The application shall be approved if it meets the requirements of Sections 520.910 and 520.920, utilizing one of the two following options:
1) Investments Placed in Service. The applicant has substantiated, in accordance with Section 520.920(a), that the eligible investment in qualified property has been placed in service; or
2) Spending Plan and Financial Commitments. The applicant has not placed in service in qualified property the eligible investment. However, a spending plan and financial commitments for the proposed eligible investment have been submitted. The spending plan must include a detailed "project by project" description, as well as the estimated eligible investment for each specific project. The spending plan must further include the date when the eligible investment in each project will be placed in service. The applicant's financial commitments must include the sources of financing for the project. Should the applicant choose to follow this option, it must sign a written agreement with the Department obligating the business to place in service the eligible investment in qualified property within 12 months after certification pursuant to this Section. Should the business fail to place in service the eligible investment in qualified property within 12 months after certification pursuant to this Section, the business shall be decertified for the tax exemption and required to repay the exempted taxes. Should the business place in service the eligible investment subsequent to this decertification, the business may reapply to the Department for recertification. However, this reapplication must utilize the procedures set forth in subsection (a)(1), and contain the same information as required pursuant to Section 520.920.
b) Application Denial Requirements. When the Department denies an application, it shall specify in writing the reasons for denial and allow the applicant 45 days from the date of application denial to amend and resubmit the application. Resubmitted applications shall be approved or denied in writing within 45 days after receipt.
c) Certificates for "Investment" Applicants. Applicants determined eligible by the Department, in accordance with subsection (a)(1), will be issued a Certificate of Exemption. The exemption shall take effect six months after certification.
d) Certificates for "Spending Plan" Applicants. Applicants determined eligible by the Department, in accordance with subsection (a)(2), will be issued a Certificate of Exemption 12 months prior to the eligible investment in qualified property being placed in service as set forth in the applicant's spending plan submitted pursuant to this Section.
e) Department's Right to Inspect and Audit. The Department shall have the right to inspect and conduct its own audit of all books and records relied upon by the business to demonstrate that the eligible investment in qualified property has been placed in service. Certified businesses shall also submit information annually to the Department documenting the maintenance of the minimum job creation or job retention criterion. Certified businesses that fail to comply with this subsection shall be decertified for the tax exemption and shall repay the exempted taxes. The jobs created or retained must be documented through personnel records.
f) Five-Year Exemption Period. All certified businesses shall receive a five-year exemption from the State utility tax.
g) Additional Exemption Period for Certified Businesses. At the expiration of this initial five-year period, certified businesses may apply to the Department for renewals of the exemption for additional five-year time periods not to exceed the termination date of the Enterprise Zone. The Department shall grant an exemption to a certified business for an additional five-year period at 100% of the State utility taxes provided that at the time of the application for each renewal:
1) Jobs Retained are in an Enterprise Zone. In the case of a business certified pursuant to the job creation criterion of Section 520.920, the business has retained a minimum of 200 full-time equivalent jobs in Illinois; or in the case of a business certified pursuant to the job retention criterion of Section 520.910, the business has retained a minimum of 1,000 full-time jobs in Illinois. A majority of the "jobs retained" must be in the Enterprise Zone in which the eligible investment is made.
2) Business is Located in an Enterprise Zone. The business is located in an Enterprise Zone established pursuant to the Illinois Enterprise Zone Act [20 ILCS 655].
3) Business Provides an Audited Financial Statement. The business provides a financial statement, including balance sheets and income statements, audited according to generally accepted auditing standards by a public accountant certified in the State of Illinois as contained in the publication entitled AICPA Professional Standards, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10036-8775 (June 2011, no later editions are incorporated). In addition, the certified business' chief financial officer shall attest in writing that the certified business is not aware of a condition or occurrence that would result in a bankruptcy or closure.
4) Maximum Period of Exemption. This exemption shall not be allowed beyond the term of the certified Enterprise Zone.
h) Exemptions for Certified Businesses Located in Enterprise Zones Successful in Reapplying for Designation. Certified businesses located in Enterprise Zones that successfully reapplied for designation as an Enterprise Zone to be effective on or after January 1, 2016, and that expired or terminated solely by operation of Section 5.3(c) of the Act, shall continue to be eligible for the renewals of exemptions in accordance with subsection (g). Any Certificate of Exemption issued under this Section shall not, after taking into account the time for which the exemption existed under the prior zone designation, exceed a total of five years. Thereafter, certified businesses located in Enterprise Zones may apply to the Department in accordance with subsection (g).
(Source: Amended at 40 Ill. Reg. 10858, effective July 29, 2016)