Cook County plans crackdown on tax violators

CHICAGO – Cook County is trying two new methods to go after unpaid taxes and fines.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's office announced the programs Wednesday, predicting they could bring in $4 million to the 2013 budget.

New software will allow the county to identify scofflaw businesses that are unregistered and failing to pay taxes. Another program will use an Illinois tax-refund intercept program to collect unpaid fines for traffic violations and civil court penalties going back seven years.

Preckwinkle said the county should be doing more to protect law-abiding taxpayers by collecting all the money it's owed.

Last year, Preckwinkle launched a program to get businesses not paying required "home rule" taxes to self-register with the county. That initiative brought in $1 million in revenue.

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