(65 ILCS 5/8-11-2.5)
Municipal tax review; requests for information.
(a) If a municipality has imposed a tax under Section 8-11-2, then the municipality may conduct an audit of tax receipts collected from the public utility that is subject to the tax
or that collects the tax from purchasers on behalf of the municipality to determine whether the amount of tax that was paid by the public utility was accurate.
(b) Not more than once every 2 years, a municipality that has imposed a tax under this Act may, subject to the limitations and protections stated in Section 16-122 of the Public Utilities Act and in the Local Government Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Act, request any information from a utility in the format maintained by the public utility in the ordinary course of its business that the municipality reasonably requires in order to perform an audit under subsection (a). The information that may be requested by the municipality includes, without limitation:
(1) in an electronic format used by the public
utility in the ordinary course of its business, the database used by the public utility to determine the amount of tax due to the municipality; provided, however, that, if the municipality has requested customer-specific billing, usage, and load shape data from a public utility that is an electric utility and has not provided the electric utility with the verifiable authorization required by Section 16-122 of the Public Utilities Act, then the electric utility shall remove from the database all customer-specific billing, usage, and load shape data before providing it to the municipality; and
ordinary course of its business, summary data, as needed by the municipality, to determine the unit consumption of utility services by providing the gross therms, kilowatts, minutes, or other units of measurement being taxed within the municipal jurisdiction and the gross revenues collected and the associated taxes assessed.
The time in which a public utility must provide the information requested under subsection (b) may be extended by an agreement between the municipality and the public utility. If a public utility receives, during a single month, information requests from more than 2 municipalities, or the aggregate population of the requesting municipalities is 100,000 customers or more, the public utility is entitled to an additional 30 days to respond to those requests.
(d) If an audit by the municipality or its agents finds an error by the public utility in the amount of taxes paid by the public utility, then the municipality must notify the public utility of the error. Any such notice must be issued pursuant to Section 30 of the Local Government Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Act or
a lesser period of time from the date the tax was due that may be specified in the municipal
ordinance imposing the tax. Upon such a notice, any audit shall be conducted pursuant to Section 35 of the Local Government Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Act subject to the timelines set forth in this subsection (d). The public utility must submit a written response within 60 days after the date the notice was postmarked stating that it has corrected the error or stating the reason that the error is inapplicable or inaccurate. The municipality then has 60 days after the receipt of the public utility's response to review and contest the conclusion of the public utility. If the parties are unable to agree on the disposition of the audit findings within 120 days after the notification of the error to the public utility, then either party may submit the matter for appeal as outlined in Section 40 of the Local Government Taxpayers' Bill of Rights Act. If the appeals process does not produce a satisfactory result, then either party may pursue the alleged error in a court of competent jurisdiction.
(e) No public utility is liable for any error in past collections and payments that was unknown by it prior to the audit process unless (i) the error was due to negligence by the public utility in the collection or processing of required data and (ii) the municipality had not failed to respond in writing on an accurate and timely basis to any written request of the public utility to review and correct information used by the public utility to collect the municipality's tax if a diligent review of such information by the municipality reasonably could have been expected to discover such error. If, however, an error in past collections or payments resulted in a customer, who should not have owed a tax to any municipality, having paid a tax to a municipality, then the customer may, to the extent allowed by Section 9-252 of the Public Utilities Act, recover the tax from the public utility, and any amount so paid by the public utility may be deducted by that public utility from any taxes then or thereafter owed by the public utility to that municipality.
(f) All account specific information provided by a public utility under this Section may be used only for the purpose of an audit of taxes conducted under this Section and the enforcement of any related tax claim. All such information must be held in strict confidence by the municipality
and its agents and may not be disclosed to the public under the Freedom of Information Act or under any other similar statutes allowing for or requiring public disclosure.
(g) The provisions of this Section shall not be construed as diminishing or replacing any civil remedy available to a municipality, taxpayer, or tax collector.
(h) This Section does not apply to any municipality having a population greater than 1,000,000.
(Source: P.A. 96-1422, eff. 8-3-10.)