Tax Facts

Tax Facts is TFI’s primary research publication, where we take a deeper dive into an area of tax or fiscal policy.

Tax Facts is issued monthly and explores leading fiscal and tax policy issues currently of interest to the public, General Assembly, the executive branch or the state’s local governments. The publication attempts to add context to the debate and a better understanding of the policy options under consideration.


Index 1985 to 1999

Index 2000 to 2014

Tax Facts:

 March 2022 Tax Facts (75.3)

Tax Facts: An Illinois Chartbook
Sales & Excise Taxes: How Does Illinois Compare?

 February 2022 Tax Facts (75.2)

Tax Facts: An Illinois Chartbook
Income Taxes: How Does Illinois Compare?

 January 2022 Tax Facts (75.1)

Tax Facts: An Illinois Chartbook
Overall State & Local Taxes: How Does Illinois Compare?

 December 2021 Tax Facts (74.7)

2021 Year in Review

 October 2021 Tax Facts (74.6)

Net Operating Losses in Illinois and Around the Country: Matching Taxes to the Business Cycle

 September 2021 Tax Facts (74.5)

Cook County Property Taxation: The Shift Continues

 July 2021 Tax Facts (74.4)

What Illinois Sales Tax Tells Us About the Economic Effects of Covid

 April 2021 Tax Facts (74.3)

The Cost of Illinois’ Largest Tax Breaks

 April 2021 Tax Facts (74.3)

Illinois’ Sales Tax Through a Policy Lens

 March 2021 Tax Facts (74.2)

Illinois’ Franchise Tax: Still a Bad Idea

 February 2021 Tax Facts (74.1)

Cook County Property Tax Deja Vu: Multiplier Up, Homeowners’ Share Down?

 December 2020 Tax Facts (73.7)

Cook County Property Tax Assessment Reform: The Perfect Storm of Who Pays What

 August/September 2020 Tax Facts (73.6)

The Proposed Graduated Income Tax in Illinois: A Closer Look

 July 2020 Tax Facts (73.5)

Illinois School Funding: Property Tax Reliance Down, but New Demands for State Funds Loom

 June 2020 Tax Facts (73.4)

Tax Facts: An Illinois Chartbook – The Economy of Illinois

 March 2020 Tax Facts (73.3)

An Illinois Sales Tax Conundrum: High Rates and Low Receipts by Dr. Natalie Davila

 February 2020 Tax Facts (73.2)

Tax Facts: An Illinois Chartbook – Overall State and Local Taxes by Maurice Scholten

January 2020 Tax Facts (73.1)

2019 Year in Review by Maurice Scholten

November 2019 Tax Facts (72.8)

Aurora: Tops in Effective Tax Rates; Low in Local Government Spending by Mike Klemens

September/October 2019 Tax Facts (72.7)

A(nother) Business Income Tax Primer by Carol Portman

 August 2019 Tax Facts (72.6)

A New Property Tax Relief Tax Force: Same Old Problems by Mike Klemens

April/May 2019 Tax Facts (72.4)

Comparing Governor Pritzker’s Proposed Graduated Income Tax to Other States

March 2019 Tax Facts (72.3)

Franchise Tax by Carol Portman

February 2019 Tax Facts (72.2)

Replacing School Property Taxes: A Bigger Challenge Today by Mike Klemens

January 2019 Tax Facts (72.1)

2018 Year in Review by Maurice Scholten

December 2018 Tax Facts (71.11)

The Use of the Illinois False Claims Act in Tax Matters Undermines the Rule of  Law by Michael J. Wynne

November 2018 Tax Facts (71.10)

Enterprise Zones in Illinois: The Economic Impact is Still an Unknown by Dr. Natalie Davila

October 2018 Tax Facts (71.9)

Scary Tax Things by Carol Portman

September 2018 Tax Facts (71.8)

PTAB: Struggling To Remain Afloat In a Sea of Appeals by Mike Klemens

August 2018 Tax Facts (71.7)

Recent Illinois State & Local Taxes Cases: A Mid-Year Update by David Dorner and Jeremy Gove

July 2018 Tax Facts (71.6)

The Wayfair Decision: What is it and What Does it Mean for Illinois? by Carol Portman

June 2018 Tax Facts (71.5)

Tangible Personal or Real Property? An Illinois Sales Tax Quandary by David Hughes

April/May 2018 Tax Facts (71.4)

On Further Examination: A closer look at some commonly cited (but perhaps not thoroughly vetted) tax “truisms”.

March 2018 Tax Facts (71.3)

Effective Property Tax Rates in 89 Illinois Communities by Mike Klemens.

February 2018 Tax Facts (71.2)

Retroactivity in State Tax Legislation by Mary Kay Martire.

January 2018 Tax Facts (71.1)
  • Illinois Consequences of Federal Tax Reform
  • The Illinois Income Tax: What Does, and Does Not, Change with Federal Tax Reform, by Carol Portman and Mike Klemens
  • Federal Tax Reform Effects on Individual Illinois Taxpayers, by Maurice Scholten
  • A Deeper Dive: The New $10,000 Limitation on State and Local Taxes Paid, by Maurice Scholten
December 2017 Tax Facts (70.11)

2017 Year in Review, by Maurice Scholten.

November 2017 Tax Facts (70.10)

A Fresh Look at Illinois Property Taxes by Mike Klemens.

October 2017 Tax Facts (70.9)

Illinois Taxation of Retail Sales: A Primer and Some Problems, by Dr. Natalie Davila.

September 2017 Tax Facts (70.8)
  • Illinois’ PPRT: The Challenge of “Replacing” a Tax, by Mike Klemens
  • Is the PPRT an Income Tax? by Carol Portman
July/August 2017 Tax Facts (70.7)

Costs of Corruption Weigh Heavily on Illinois, by Jim Nowlan

June 2017 Tax Facts (70.6)
  • Tax Refunds in Illinois – Another Outlier, by Carol Portman
  • Assessment Uniformity: Headed Right, Further to Go, by Mike Klemens
May 2017 Tax Facts (70.5)

U.S. Census to Correct Billions in Sales Tax Reporting Error, by Mike Klemens

April 2017 Tax Facts (70.4)

Examining the Effects of Increased Homestead Exemptions, by Maurice Scholten

March 2017 Tax Facts (70.3)
  • Illinois’ Earned Income Tax Credit: 2011-2014, by Dr. Natalie Davila
  • The Illinois EITC: Popular, Efficient…and Imperfect, by Mike Klemens
  • Property Tax Update
February 2017 Tax Facts (70.2)
  • Taxing Groceries-Not Necessarily Regressive, by Carol Portman
  • Taxing Retirement Income, by Dr. Natalie Davila
  • Illinois’ Franchise Tax-Still an Archaic Outlier, by Dr. Natalie Davila
  • Is it Time for a Service Tax? by Mike Klemens
  • Who Gets the Education Credit? by Mike Klemens
  • Who Really Pays a Tax? by Mike Klemens
January 2017 Tax Facts (70.1)

2016 Year in Review, by Maurice Scholten

November/December 2016 Tax Facts (69.6)
  • First You Stop Digging: Projections of Illinois’ Fiscal Imbalance and Paths to Remedy It, by Richard Dye and David Merriamn
  • About the Fiscal Futures Project Model
  • Rome is Burning, by James Nowlan
September/October 2016 Tax Facts (69.5)
  • Tax Policy, Tax Politics and a Graduated Income Tax, by Mike Klemens
  • Principles of Sound Policy
  • Best Practices in Evaluating State Tax Incentives: What Illinois Can Learn From Other States, by Dr. Natalie Davila
July/August 2016 Tax Facts (69.4)
  • Property Tax Caps in Illinois Through Boom and Bust, by Maurice Scholten
  • PTELL in Brief
  • The PTELL Adjustment: Property Tax Relief Subsidized Through the School Aid Formula, by Mike Klemens
  • TFI’s 17th Annual SALT Conference
May/June 2016 Tax Facts (69.3)

75 Years and Counting: A Brief History of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois

March/April 2016 Tax Facts (69.2)
  • Looking More Closely: Who Really Pays Illinois Taxes, by Mike Klemens
  • Legalization of Recreational Marijuana, by Dr. Natalie Davila and Maurice Scholten
  • More Pages from Illinois Illustrated
January/February 2016 Tax Facts (69.1)
  • Who is Leaving Illinois and Why? A Review of Data on Migration Patterns in Illinois, by Natalie Davila, Mike Klemens and Robert Ross
  • 2015 Legislative Review, by Maurice Scholten
  • Illinois General Assembly Calendar
  • TFI Spring Legislative Conference
November/December 2015 Tax Facts (68.6)
  • Who Does–and Doesn’t–Pay Corporate Income Tax, by Dr. Natalie Davila
  • Effective Property Tax Rates for 89 Illinois Communities, by Mike Klemens
  • State Corporate Income Tax Apportionment Trends: Market-Based Sourcing, With or Without Statutory Authority, by Rick Strohmaier, Chelsie Nelson, and Chuck Jones
  • What is Income Tax Apportionment? by Maurice Scholten
September/October 2015 Tax Facts (68.5)
  • Homestead Exemptions: Shifting Tax Burden But, Not Cutting Taxes by Mike Klemens
  • How Classification in Cook County Compares with Other States by Mike Klemens
July/August 2015 Tax Facts (68.4)
  • Illinois Assessment Uniformity: Improving Until the Bubble Burst, by Mike Klemens
  • Assessment of Uniformity in Cook County, by Rob Ross
  • Illinois Illustrated: A Visual Guide to Taxes and the Economy
May/June 2015 Tax Facts (68.3)
  • Expanding the Base of Illinois’ Sales Tax to Consumer Services will Both Modernize State Tax Policy and Help Stabilize Revenue, by CTBA and TFI
  • With Sales Taxes, Simplest is Not Best, by Robert Ross
  • Taxing Services: The Practical Side, by Carol Portman
  • A Word about Revenue Estimates
March/April 2015 Tax Facts (68.2)
  • Navigating Illinois’ State/Local Tax Maze, by Mike Klemens
  • A Discussion of Taxing Consumer Services
  • How to Evaluate Comparisons & Rankings, by Jim Nowlan and Carol Portman
  • TFI 74th Annual Meeting Save the Date
January/February 2015 Tax Facts (68.1)
  • 2014 Legislative Synopsis by Nancy Dollison
  • Illinois Use Tax Collection: One Small Step, But in Which Direction? by Carol Portman
November/December 2014 Tax Facts (67.7)
  • Revisiting Exclusion of Retirement Income from the Illinois Income Tax Base by Dr. Natalie Davila
  • Recent Illinois Income & Sales Tax Case Summaries by David Kupiec and Natalie Martin
September/October 2014 Tax Facts (67.6)
  • Just the Facts: How Does School Funding in Illinois Compare? by Rob Ross
  • Excerpt of Fixing Illinois: Politics and Policy in the Prairie State by Jim Nowlan Tom Johnson
Summer 2014 Tax Facts (67.5)
  • Homestead Exemptions: Confusing, Complicated and Costly by Kara Moretto
  • Property Tax Update by David Suess
April/May 2014 Tax Facts (67.4)
  • Graduated Income Tax Viewed From a Tax Policy Perspective, by Dr. Natalie Davila
  • Does Illinois Have a Revenue Problem or a Spending Problem, by Mike Klemens
  • Taxable Property Values Decline for a Record Third Consecutive Year, by Mike Klemens
March 2014 Tax Facts (67.3)

Probing Beneath the Surface: Understanding Why So Many Corporations Do Not Pay Illinois Corporate Income Tax by Dr. Natalie Davila

February 2014 Tax Facts (67.2)
  • Illinois Tax Expenditures: Lots More Than Tax Incentives by Rob Ross
  • Illinois’ Net Operating Loss Primer: Matching Taxation to the Business Cycle by Rob Ross
January 2014 Tax Facts (67.1)

2013 Legislative Synopsis by Nancy Dollison

November/December 2013 Tax Facts (66.5)
  • Illinois’ Franchise Tax: An Archaic Outlier by Robert Ross
  • Fund Transfers: Hidden State Spending by Kurt Fowler and Tom Johnson
September/October 2013 Tax Facts (66.4)
  • Illinois’ Relative Tax Burden Jumps After the 2011 Income Tax Rate Increases, by Kurt Fowler and Mike Klemens
  • Illinois Education Expense Credit, by Sonia Vasdev and Mike Klemens
Summer 2013 Tax Facts (66.3)
  • A Business Income Tax Primer by Sonia Vasdev and Mike Klemens
  • Effective Tax Rates for 89 Illinois Communities by Sonia Vasdev and Mike Klemens
March/April 2013 Tax Facts (66.2)
  • The Seven Percent Solution Falls Victim to the Real Estate Crash by Sonia Vasdev and Mike Klemens
  • Promote Economic Growth to Deal with Five Alarming Trends: A Proposal from Doug Whitley
January/February 2013 Tax Facts (66.1)
  • 2012 Legislative Synopsis by Scott Selinger
  • 2012 Election Recap by Scott Selinger
November/December 2012 Tax Facts (65.5)
  • Illinois’ Personal Property Replacement Tax Boosts Business Tax Rates by Kurt Fowler
  • Federal Medical Assistance Plan (FMAP)…Is Illinois Treated Fairly? by Nana Mkheidze
July/August 2012 Tax Facts (65.4)
  • Another View of Crowding Out by Kurt Fowler
  • State Examples: What Illinois Can Learn from Other States’ Pension Reform by Miranda Cherkas
May/June 2012 Tax Facts (65.3)

Why Ignore Over Half of the Illinois State Budget Picture? Consolidation of General and Special Fund Reporting by Richard Dye, Nancy Hudspeth and David Merriman

March/April 2012 Tax Facts (65.2)

2011 Legislative Synopsis – A Look Back by Scott Selinger

January/February 2012 Tax Facts (65.1)

Leading Illinois Court Tax Decisions, 2009-2011 by Mark Rotatori and Morgan Hirst

November/December 2011 Tax Facts (64.6)
  • State Government: A Major Funder of Local Governments by Kurt Fowler
  • Funding Local Government: Illinois’ Largest Revenue Sharing Programs by Joe Sculley
September/October 2011 Tax Facts (64.5)
  • Crowding Out: Servicing Illinois’ Pension Debt by Thom Walstrum
  • Senate Bill 512: Restructuring Pensions for Current Employees by Kirsten Carroll
July/August 2011 Tax Facts (64.4)
  • Effective Property Tax Rates for 89 Illinois Communities by Kurt Fowler
  • Homestead Exemptions: Reducing Taxable EAV, Increasing the Property Tax Rate by Joe Sculley
May/June 2011 Tax Facts (64.3)

Illinois Tax Burdens: Where do Illinois Taxes Come from and Who Pays? by Joe Sculley

March/April 2011 Tax Facts (64.2)
  • Illinois Now a High Tax State by Jim Nowlan and Ryan Aprill
  • Government Jobs Pay Better than in Private Sector by Jim Nowlan
  • Does Illinois Employ Too Few Government Workers and Spend Too Little Money by Jim Nowlan
January/February 2011 Tax Facts (64.1)
  • 2010 Legislative Synopsis by Scott Selinger
  • 2010 Election Review by Scott Selinger
October 2010 Tax Facts (63.5)
  • Is Taxing Food All That Regressive by Ryan Aprill
  • Illinois Lags Nation in Job and Income Growth for Decate by James Nowlan and Ryan Aprill
August 2010 Tax Facts (63.4)

Tough on Taxpayers: High Costs of Corrections by Mary Ann Dyar

June 2010 Tax Facts (63.3)

General State Aid for Education – Time for an Overhaul Part 2 by Ted Dabrowski

April 2010 Tax Facts (63.2)
  • State Funding of Illinois’ Education: Let’s Clear Things Up Part 1 by Ted Dabrowski
  • How Illinois Tax Foundation Evaluates Comparisons & Rankings by James Nowlan
March 2010 Tax Facts (63.1)
  • Illinois’ Fiscal Future is Bleak by Richard F. Dye
  • Governor Quinn’s 2011 Fiscal Plan by Tom Johnson
December 2009 Tax Facts (62.5)
  • State of Illinois Retirement Income Tax Policy — A Review by James Nowlan
  • 2009 Legislative Synopsis by David Eldridge
October 2009 Tax Facts (62.4)

Illinois Pension Crisis and Recommendations for Reform by R. Eden Martin and Kirsten Carroll

May 2009 Tax Facts (62.3)

A Review of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law by Ron Hagaman

March 2009 Tax Facts (62.2)
  • 2008 Legislative Wrap Up
  • Leading Illinois Supreme Court and Appellate Court Decisions – 2008 by David Kupiec and Natallie Martin
January 2009 Tax Facts (62.1)
  • The Cook County Property Tax Dilemma by Tom Johnson
  • Effective Tax Rates for 60 Illinois Communities by Tom Johnson