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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Rental Car Tax Found Constitutional

The City of Chicago imposed a tax on the lease of all personal property within the City.  In 2011, the City adopted the Personal Property Lease Transaction Tax Second Amended Ruling No. 11 (“Ruling 11”) to serve as guidance for application of the tax on the use of vehicles leased by City residents from rental companies within three miles of the City borders.  Enterprise and Hertz filed actions against the City, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the City’s attempt to tax car rentals that occur within three miles of the City borders.  The circuit court found Ruling 11 to be unconstitutional and permanently enjoined the City from enforcing the ruling with respect to short term rentals occurring outside the City. 

On appeal, the Illinois Appellate Court vacated the injunction and ruled in favor of the City.   Hertz and Enterprise had argued that Rule 11 constituted a transaction tax which improperly allowed extraterritorial taxation of rental car transactions outside of the city limits.  The City  countered that the tax is not a transaction tax, but instead only imposes a tax on City residents who lease vehicles in surrounding areas and then use them primarily in the City.  The court found the tax constitutional, finding that it did not constitute an unauthorized extraterritorial exercise of its taxing authority.  The court noted that Enterprise and Hertz had enough connection to the City to be considered an agent for collection of the tax.  Further, the nexus between Enterprise and Hertz with the tax and the City was reasonable.  The Hertz Corporation v. City of Chicago, 2015 IL App (1st) 123210 (September 22, 2015).
Post Authored by Erin Baker, Ancel Glink


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