(820 ILCS 80/85)
    (Text of Section before amendment by P.A. 102-179)
    Sec. 85. Penalties.
    (a) An employer who fails without reasonable cause to enroll an employee in the Program within the time prescribed under Section 60 of this Act shall be subject to a penalty equal to:
        (1) $250 for each employee for each calendar year or
    
portion of a calendar year during which the employee neither was enrolled in the Program nor had elected out of participation in the Program; or
        (2) for each calendar year beginning after the date a
    
penalty has been assessed with respect to an employee, $500 for any portion of that calendar year during which such employee continues to be unenrolled without electing out of participation in the Program.
    (b) After determining that an employer is subject to penalty under this Section for a calendar year, the Department shall issue a notice of proposed assessment to such employer, stating the number of employees for which the penalty is proposed under item (1) of subsection (a) of this Section and the number of employees for which the penalty is proposed under item (2) of subsection (a) of this Section for such calendar year, and the total amount of penalties proposed.
    Upon the expiration of 90 days after the date on which a notice of proposed assessment was issued, the penalties specified therein shall be deemed assessed, unless the employer had filed a protest with the Department under subsection (c) of this Section.
    If, within 90 days after the date on which it was issued, a protest of a notice of proposed assessment is filed under subsection (c) of this Section, the penalties specified therein shall be deemed assessed upon the date when the decision of the Department with respect to the protest becomes final.
    (c) A written protest against the proposed assessment shall be filed with the Department in such form as the Department may by rule prescribe, setting forth the grounds on which such protest is based. If such a protest is filed within 90 days after the date the notice of proposed assessment is issued, the Department shall reconsider the proposed assessment and shall grant the employer a hearing. As soon as practicable after such reconsideration and hearing, the Department shall issue a notice of decision to the employer, setting forth the Department's findings of fact and the basis of decision. The decision of the Department shall become final:
        (1) if no action for review of the decision is
    
commenced under the Administrative Review Law, on the date on which the time for commencement of such review has expired; or
        (2) if a timely action for review of the decision is
    
commenced under the Administrative Review Law, on the date all proceedings in court for the review of such assessment have terminated or the time for the taking thereof has expired without such proceedings being instituted.
    (d) As soon as practicable after the penalties specified in a notice of proposed assessment are deemed assessed, the Department shall give notice to the employer liable for any unpaid portion of such assessment, stating the amount due and demanding payment. If an employer neglects or refuses to pay the entire liability shown on the notice and demand within 10 days after the notice and demand is issued, the unpaid amount of the liability shall be a lien in favor of the State of Illinois upon all property and rights to property, whether real or personal, belonging to the employer, and the provisions in the Illinois Income Tax Act regarding liens, levies and collection actions with regard to assessed and unpaid liabilities under that Act, including the periods for taking any action, shall apply.
    (e) An employer who has overpaid a penalty assessed under this Section may file a claim for refund with the Department. A claim shall be in writing in such form as the Department may by rule prescribe and shall state the specific grounds upon which it is founded. As soon as practicable after a claim for refund is filed, the Department shall examine it and either issue a refund or issue a notice of denial. If such a protest is filed, the Department shall reconsider the denial and grant the employer a hearing. As soon as practicable after such reconsideration and hearing, the Department shall issue a notice of decision to the employer. The notice shall set forth briefly the Department's findings of fact and the basis of decision in each case decided in whole or in part adversely to the employer. A denial of a claim for refund becomes final 90 days after the date of issuance of the notice of the denial except for such amounts denied as to which the employer has filed a protest with the Department. If a protest has been timely filed, the decision of the Department shall become final:
        (1) if no action for review of the decision is
    
commenced under the Administrative Review Law, on the date on which the time for commencement of such review has expired; or
        (2) if a timely action for review of the decision is
    
commenced under the Administrative Review Law, on the date all proceedings in court for the review of such assessment have terminated or the time for the taking thereof has expired without such proceedings being instituted.
    (f) No notice of proposed assessment may be issued with respect to a calendar year after June 30 of the fourth subsequent calendar year. No claim for refund may be filed more than 1 year after the date of payment of the amount to be refunded.
    (g) The provisions of the Administrative Review Law and the rules adopted pursuant to it shall apply to and govern all proceedings for the judicial review of final decisions of the Department in response to a protest filed by the employer under subsections (c) and (e) of this Section. Final decisions of the Department shall constitute "administrative decisions" as defined in Section 3-101 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The Department may adopt any rules necessary to carry out its duties pursuant to this Section.
    (h) Whenever notice is required by this Section, it may be given or issued by mailing it by first-class mail addressed to the person concerned at his or her last known address.
    (i) All books and records and other papers and documents relevant to the determination of any penalty due under this Section shall, at all times during business hours of the day, be subject to inspection by the Department or its duly authorized agents and employees.
    (j) The Department may require employers to report information relevant to their compliance with this Act on returns otherwise due from the employers under Section 704A of the Illinois Income Tax Act and failure to provide the requested information on a return shall cause such return to be treated as unprocessable.
    (k) For purposes of any provision of State law allowing the Department or any other agency of this State to offset an amount owed to a taxpayer against a tax liability of that taxpayer or allowing the Department to offset an overpayment of tax against any liability owed to the State, a penalty assessed under this Section shall be deemed to be a tax liability of the employer and any refund due to an employer shall be deemed to be an overpayment of tax of the employer.
    (l) Except as provided in this subsection, all information received by the Department from returns filed by an employer or from any investigation conducted under the provisions of this Act shall be confidential, except for official purposes within the Department or pursuant to official procedures for collection of penalties assessed under this Act. Nothing contained in this subsection shall prevent the Director from publishing or making available to the public reasonable statistics concerning the operation of this Act wherein the contents of returns are grouped into aggregates in such a way that the specific information of any employer shall not be disclosed. Nothing contained in this subsection shall prevent the Director from divulging information to an authorized representative of the employer or to any person pursuant to a request or authorization made by the employer or by an authorized representative of the employer.
    (m) Civil penalties collected under this Act and fees collected pursuant to subsection (n) of this Section shall be deposited into the Tax Compliance and Administration Fund. The Department may, subject to appropriation, use moneys in the fund to cover expenses it incurs in the performance of its duties under this Act. Interest attributable to moneys in the Tax Compliance and Administration Fund shall be credited to the Tax Compliance and Administration Fund.
    (n) The Department may charge the Board a reasonable fee for its costs in performing its duties under this Section to the extent that such costs have not been recovered from penalties imposed under this Section.
    (o) This Section shall become operative 9 months after the Board notifies the Director that the Program has been implemented. Upon receipt of such notification from the Board, the Department shall immediately post on its Internet website a notice stating that this Section is operative and the date that it is first operative. This notice shall include a statement that rather than enrolling employees in the Program under this Act, employers may sponsor an alternative arrangement, including, but not limited to, a defined benefit plan, 401(k) plan, a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan, a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) plan, or an automatic payroll deduction IRA offered through a private provider. The Board shall provide a link to the vendor Internet website described in subsection (i) of Section 60 of this Act.
(Source: P.A. 98-1150, eff. 6-1-15; 99-464, eff. 8-26-15.)
 
    (Text of Section after amendment by P.A. 102-179)
    Sec. 85. Penalties.
    (a) An employer who fails without reasonable cause to enroll an employee in the Program within the time prescribed under Section 60 of this Act shall be subject to a penalty equal to:
        (1) $250 per employee for the first calendar year
    
the employer is noncompliant; or
        (2) $500 per employee for each subsequent calendar
    
year the employer is noncompliant; noncompliance does not need to be consecutive to qualify for the $500 penalty.
    The Department shall determine total employee count using the annual average from employer-reported quarterly data.
    (b) After determining that an employer is subject to a penalty under this Section for a calendar year, the Department shall issue a notice of proposed assessment to such employer, stating the number of employees for which the penalty is proposed under item (1) of subsection (a) of this Section or the number of employees for which the penalty is proposed under item (2) of subsection (a) of this Section for such calendar year, and the total amount of penalties proposed.
    Upon the expiration of 120 days after the date on which a notice of proposed assessment was issued, the penalties specified therein shall be deemed assessed, unless the employer had filed a protest with the Department under subsection (c) of this Section or come into full compliance with the Program as required under Section 60 of this Act.
    If, within 120 days after the date on which it was issued, a protest of a notice of proposed assessment is filed under subsection (c) of this Section, the penalties specified therein shall be deemed assessed upon the date when the decision of the Department with respect to the protest becomes final.
    (c) A written protest against the proposed assessment shall be filed with the Department in such form as the Department may by rule prescribe, setting forth the grounds on which such protest is based. If such a protest is filed within 120 days after the date the notice of proposed assessment is issued, the Department shall reconsider the proposed assessment and shall grant the employer a hearing. As soon as practicable after such reconsideration and hearing, the Department shall issue a notice of decision to the employer, setting forth the Department's findings of fact and the basis of decision. The decision of the Department shall become final:
        (1) if no action for review of the decision is
    
commenced under the Administrative Review Law, on the date on which the time for commencement of such review has expired; or
        (2) if a timely action for review of the decision is
    
commenced under the Administrative Review Law, on the date all proceedings in court for the review of such assessment have terminated or the time for the taking thereof has expired without such proceedings being instituted.
    (d) As soon as practicable after the penalties specified in a notice of proposed assessment are deemed assessed, the Department shall give notice to the employer liable for any unpaid portion of such assessment, stating the amount due and demanding payment. If an employer neglects or refuses to pay the entire liability shown on the notice and demand within 10 days after the notice and demand is issued, the unpaid amount of the liability shall be a lien in favor of the State of Illinois upon all property and rights to property, whether real or personal, belonging to the employer, and the provisions in the Illinois Income Tax Act regarding liens, levies and collection actions with regard to assessed and unpaid liabilities under that Act, including the periods for taking any action, shall apply.
    (e) An employer who has overpaid a penalty assessed under this Section may file a claim for refund with the Department. A claim shall be in writing in such form as the Department may by rule prescribe and shall state the specific grounds upon which it is founded. As soon as practicable after a claim for refund is filed, the Department shall examine it and either issue a refund or issue a notice of denial. If such a protest is filed, the Department shall reconsider the denial and grant the employer a hearing. As soon as practicable after such reconsideration and hearing, the Department shall issue a notice of decision to the employer. The notice shall set forth briefly the Department's findings of fact and the basis of decision in each case decided in whole or in part adversely to the employer. A denial of a claim for refund becomes final 120 days after the date of issuance of the notice of the denial except for such amounts denied as to which the employer has filed a protest with the Department. If a protest has been timely filed, the decision of the Department shall become final:
        (1) if no action for review of the decision is
    
commenced under the Administrative Review Law, on the date on which the time for commencement of such review has expired; or
        (2) if a timely action for review of the decision is
    
commenced under the Administrative Review Law, on the date all proceedings in court for the review of such assessment have terminated or the time for the taking thereof has expired without such proceedings being instituted.
    (f) No notice of proposed assessment may be issued with respect to a calendar year after June 30 of the fourth subsequent calendar year. No claim for refund may be filed more than 1 year after the date of payment of the amount to be refunded.
    (g) The provisions of the Administrative Review Law and the rules adopted pursuant to it shall apply to and govern all proceedings for the judicial review of final decisions of the Department in response to a protest filed by the employer under subsections (c) and (e) of this Section. Final decisions of the Department shall constitute "administrative decisions" as defined in Section 3-101 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The Department may adopt any rules necessary to carry out its duties pursuant to this Section.
    (h) Whenever notice is required by this Section, it may be given or issued by mailing it by first-class mail addressed to the person concerned at his or her last known address or in an electronic format as determined by the Department.
    (i) All books and records and other papers and documents relevant to the determination of any penalty due under this Section shall, at all times during business hours of the day, be subject to inspection by the Department or its duly authorized agents and employees.
    (j) The Department may require employers to report information relevant to their compliance with this Act on returns otherwise due from the employers under Section 704A of the Illinois Income Tax Act and failure to provide the requested information on a return shall cause such return to be treated as unprocessable.
    (k) For purposes of any provision of State law allowing the Department or any other agency of this State to offset an amount owed to a taxpayer against a tax liability of that taxpayer or allowing the Department to offset an overpayment of tax against any liability owed to the State, a penalty assessed under this Section shall be deemed to be a tax liability of the employer and any refund due to an employer shall be deemed to be an overpayment of tax of the employer.
    (l) Except as provided in this subsection, all information received by the Department from returns filed by an employer or from any investigation conducted under the provisions of this Act shall be confidential, except for official purposes within the Department or pursuant to official procedures for collection of penalties assessed under this Act. Nothing contained in this subsection shall prevent the Director from publishing or making available to the public reasonable statistics concerning the operation of this Act wherein the contents of returns are grouped into aggregates in such a way that the specific information of any employer shall not be disclosed. Nothing contained in this subsection shall prevent the Director from divulging information to an authorized representative of the employer or to any person pursuant to a request or authorization made by the employer or by an authorized representative of the employer.
    (m) Civil penalties collected under this Act and fees collected pursuant to subsection (n) of this Section shall be deposited into the Tax Compliance and Administration Fund. The Department may, subject to appropriation, use moneys in the fund to cover expenses it incurs in the performance of its duties under this Act. Interest attributable to moneys in the Tax Compliance and Administration Fund shall be credited to the Tax Compliance and Administration Fund.
    (n) The Department may charge the Board a reasonable fee for its costs in performing its duties under this Section to the extent that such costs have not been recovered from penalties imposed under this Section.
    (o) The Department shall post on its Internet website a notice stating that this Section is operative and the date that it is first operative. This notice shall include a statement that rather than enrolling employees in the Program under this Act, employers may sponsor an alternative arrangement, including, but not limited to, a defined benefit plan, 401(k) plan, a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan, a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) plan, or an automatic enrollment payroll deduction IRA offered through a private provider. The Board shall provide a link to the vendor Internet website described in subsection (i) of Section 60 of this Act, if applicable.
(Source: P.A. 102-179, eff. 1-1-22.)