Featured Article: The Case for an Independent Tax Court in Colorado
By Daniel A. Edelstein, J.D., LL.M2
In 2006 the American Bar Association (ABA) adopted the Model State Administrative Tax Tribunal Act (the “Model Act”). Since that time, some states have considered legislation based on the Model Act,3 with one of the more recently passed being Illinois’ Independent Tax Tribunal Act. Though Colorado is one of the (still sizable) minority of states that does not have such a tribunal,4 Colorado House Bill 13-1140 (HB 13-1140) would have established one.5 But HB 13-1140 has been postponed indefinitely. This article will advocate for the reconsideration of HB 13-1140, by exploring the provisions and reasoning of the Model Act, with a comparison to HB 13-1140 and Illinois’ Act. Though a full discussion of the Model Act’s import is beyond the scope of this article, the focus here will be limited to the need of Colorado taxpayers’ for an independent forum, accessible without having to first pay the contested tax or provide a bond.
The Model Act
The Model Act has as its purpose the increase of the public’s confidence in both the appearance and actual fairness and due process of a state’s tax system.6 Thus, the state enacting legislation based on the Model Act is “provid[ing] an independent agency with tax expertise to resolve disputes … prior to requiring the payment of the amounts in issue or the posting of a bond, but after … a full opportunity to attempt settlement.”7
Not all tax matters for which a state department of revenue has jurisdiction may be decided by that state’s tax tribunal. But for those matters before the tribunal, a final decision is treated the same as one by a civil trial court.8 Note that different rules apply to so-called “small claims” cases, but these are beyond the scope of this article.9 The precise parameters of the tax tribunal’s jurisdiction are left up to each state, so that it can provide exceptions to what will otherwise “be the sole, exclusive and final authority for the hearing and determination of questions of law and fact arising under the tax laws of th[e] [s]tate.”10
The Model Act requires a state department of revenue to offer a taxpayer the ability to have the department’s proposed determination reviewed by “an independent administrative appeals function.”11 This function is described as a sort of alternative dispute resolution process, focusing on conferences and settlements which will resolve most disputes without litigation.12 The author is reminded of court-ordered arbitration, but the Model Act makes clear that if a taxpayer waives the option here, he or she will not be deemed to have failed to exhaust all administrative remedies, nor to have waived the right to petition the tax tribunal as to issues that were not resolved with the appeals function.13
Independence is a focus here as well as with the tax tribunal,14 as employees within the appeals function would have as their goal increasing the number of disputes they could settle (rather than, say, increasing the amount of money they could collect), and are required to consider, when applicable, “the hazards of litigation.”15 Appeals employees are also relieved of the pressures of “winning” their cases by the Model Act’s provision that settlements will not have precedential value.16 In fact, these employees are restricted from “engag[ing] in ex parte communications with [department of revenue] employees to the extent that such communications appear to compromise the independence of the appeals function.”17 Thus, the tax tribunal’s purpose of offering an independent agency before payment but after a “full opportunity to attempt settlement” does not require further interaction with the state department of revenue after audit.18
But the real reason the appeals function is offered in the Model Act, according to the chair and vice-chair of the ABA task force responsible for its drafting, is to ensure that states retain and stay invested in the informal settlement mechanisms by which the vast majority of disputes are resolved.19 The concern is that the weakening or loss of these informal mechanisms would result in either unwarranted litigation (a burden upon taxpayers) or an overload of settlement negotiations (a burden upon state departments of revenue).20
Under the Model Act, a proceeding in a tax tribunal is begun with the filing of a petition protesting a determination by the state department of revenue with respect to the imposition of tax, interest or penalty.21 The denial of a claim for refund or credit would also be a proper subject for the petition.22 This petition can be filed during a period beginning with the taxpayer’s receipt of the written notice of determination, and lasting ninety days.23
The standard of review is de novo.24 The burden of persuasion is on the taxpayer when it comes to issues of fact, and is the preponderance of the evidence standard.25 But in cases of alleged fraud, or other circumstances apparently left up to each state, the burden of persuasion is on the state department of revenue.26
The independence of the tax tribunal is reinforced by provisions providing that it is separate from the state department of revenue and commissioner of revenue,27 and that its judges “shall be appointed [and can be removed] by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a term of ten years.”28 In addition, the Model Act provides that the tax tribunal and the state department of revenue will be located in separate buildings or facilities, whether a case is being heard at the tribunal’s principal office or otherwise.29 In the words of the chair and vice-chair of the ABA task force responsible for the drafting of the Model Act, the goal is to avoid the situation “in which the taxpayer’s first and last hearing before a person who is required to be knowledgeable about state taxes is in front of an employee of the state revenue department that made the determination being challenged.”30 Stated another way, “[w]hy should a taxpayer trust the objectivity of a state employee who is paid, provided office space and support, supervised, and evaluated by revenue department officials whose main job is to collect taxes?”31
Finally, the jurisdictional provisions of the Model Act specifically state that the tax tribunal is to serve as a forum for all hearings regarding the state’s tax laws “prior to the payment of any of the amounts asserted as due … and prior to the posting of any bond.” The only exceptions are cases involving jeopardy assessments, or claims for refund that were denied.32
Existing Colorado Law
Under current law, Colorado allows a taxpayer to first request a hearing with or submit a request for reconsideration (in lieu of such hearing) to the executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue (the “CO DOR”), “within thirty days of the mailing of a notice of deficiency.”33 There is an exception for cases in which “it appears that the revenue [or collection of such] is in jeopardy,” and the executive director can then begin collection activity without affording the taxpayer the opportunity for a hearing.34 The executive director, or a person acting on his behalf, holds the hearing or reviews the request for reconsideration.35 The decision rendered is called a final determination.36
If instead a taxpayer files a claim for refund, which is the subject of a notice of rejection by the CO DOR’s executive director, the taxpayer also has thirty days from such notice’s mailing to either “request a hearing or file a brief with the executive director.”37 The procedures of C.R.S. § 39-21-103 will then govern such hearing or brief, with the decision here being a “notice of final determination of claim for refund.”38 It should be noted that until 2004, C.R.S. § 39-21-104 contained a provision stating that “[t]his section shall not prevent a taxpayer from suing for a refund in the district court within the time provided by law whether or not the taxpayer requests a hearing or presents a written brief.”39 By removing this provision, the current statute implies that the taxpayer must exhaust his administrative remedies before proceeding to court, a restriction which conflicts with the purpose of the appeals function offered in the Model Act.40
The taxpayer with an adverse ruling can then appeal the executive director’s final determination, with respect to a notice of deficiency or a rejected claim for refund, within thirty days of the determination’s mailing.41 There is an exception for cases in which “it appears that the revenue [or collection of such] is in jeopardy,” and the executive director can begin collection activity without affording the taxpayer the opportunity for an appeal.42
The appeal of the final determination is made to Colorado’s district courts.43 Like the Model Act,44 the standard of review on appeal is de novo, and the taxpayer bears the burden of proof for all issues except if he or she is charged with “fraud with intent to evade tax” (or if the taxpayer is alleged to be “liable as a transferee of property of a[nother] taxpayer”).45 But the major shortcoming of current Colorado law is that in order to proceed with the appeal, the taxpayer must “file with the district court a surety bond in twice the amount of the taxes, interest, and other charges stated in the final determination.”46 Thus, the taxpayer gets his or her day in court, but must incur the expense of a surety bond.
HB 13-1140 was sponsored by Representative Amy Stephens (Rep. Stephens), introduced in the Colorado House on January 18 and assigned to the House Committees on Finance and Appropriations.47 Rep. Stephens then informed the Colorado Legislative Council Staff of her “intention to ask the House Finance Committee to postpone indefinitely … HB 13-1140.”48 On March 6, the House Committee on Finance recommended this action.49
The tax tribunal that would have been created under HB 13-1140 is called the Colorado Independent Tax Appeal Court (the “Colorado Tax Court”).50 The Colorado Tax Court would have been created as of January 1, 2015.51 Most of the provisions of HB 13-1140 are substantially the same as the Model Act, with some notable differences. First, there is no language in the legislative declaration of new section 39-21-401 that corresponds to the second paragraph of the Model Act’s § 1 (its statement of purpose). But limitations on the matters for which the Colorado Tax Court has jurisdiction, and the treatment of its final decisions in the same manner as ones by Colorado district courts, is provided for elsewhere in HB 13-1140.52
HB 13-1140 also adds a section not found in the Model Act, which provides definitions.53 The only new language of any import here is the definition of a “[t]axpayer” as “a person who has received a notice of final determination, a notice of denial of refund claim, a protestable notice of deficiency, a claim denial, or a protestable notice of penalty liability within the [Colorado Tax Court’s] jurisdiction.”54 These notices and denials appear to result in the Colorado Tax Court having the same jurisdiction as that granted to Colorado district courts under current law.55 Thus, in the section of HB 13-1140 specifically dealing with jurisdiction, HB 13-1140 states that the Colorado Tax Court “shall have original jurisdiction over final determinations of the executive director of the department issued pursuant to [C.R.S.] section[s] 39-21-103, 39-21-104 … or 39-21-105.”56 Though the Model Act’s corresponding language is quite different, the effect should be the same.57
The most important difference between HB 13-1140 and the Model Act is the former’s omission of language corresponding to § 8 of the Model Act.58 Thus, one could argue that HB 13-1140 does not provide as much assurance that Colorado will continue to offer informal settlement mechanisms.59 However, the provisions of C.R.S. §§ 39-21-103 and 39-21-104 do not appear to be rendered invalid by HB 13-1140, depriving this argument of much weight.
It is interesting to note that HB 13-1140 added language in the section governing appeals from the Colorado Tax Court that is not found in the corresponding section of the Model Act. This additional language provides that the standard of appellate review would, like the Colorado Tax Court, be de novo.60 The ability of an appeals court to disregard the factual analysis of the very court created to develop expertise in such matters61 appears to undermine the purpose of the legislation.62 But perhaps, given the legislative declaration in HB 13-1140 regarding the purpose of having a forum with tax expertise,63 appeals courts would give greater persuasive authority to the findings of fact by the Colorado Tax Court than other trial-level courts.
The Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal Act of 2012 (IITTA)64 took effect on August 28, 2012,65 with the Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal’s (the “Illinois Tax Tribunal”) jurisdiction becoming exercisable on July 1.66 Regulations have not been issued.
Unlike HB 13-1140, the statutory provisions governing the Illinois Tax Tribunal have more substantial differences from the Model Act. Some of the most important differences between the IITTA and the Model Act are apparent from the initial statement of purpose. The Model Act provides that its tax tribunal is accessible “prior to requiring the payment of the amounts in issue or the posting of a bond, but after the taxpayer has had a full opportunity to attempt settlement.”67 Yet the IITTA only saves taxpayers the requirement of paying amounts in issue.68 In addition, while a final decision of the Model Act’s tax tribunal is treated the same as one by a civil trial court,69 no similar comparison can be drawn for the Illinois Tax Tribunal because it is in fact an administrative tribunal, not a court.70 This last point, though, is not as significant as it may at first appear. The Illinois Tax Tribunal is still expressly designated as “an independent agency … separate from the authority of the [Illinois] Director of Revenue and the [Illinois] Department of Revenue.”71 In addition, the Illinois Tax Tribunal, though not a court, is still subject to many of the rules governing trial court proceedings in Illinois.72
Like HB 13-1140, the IITTA adds a section with definitions, which is not found in the Model Act.73 The only new language of any import here is also the definition of a “[t]axpayer” by way of the documents he or she has received, which are limited to “a protestable notice of assessment, a claim denial, or a protestable notice of penalty liability within the [Illinois] Tax Tribunal’s jurisdiction.”74
As to the issue of the tribunal’s independence, recall that both the Model Act75 and HB 13-114076 provide that the judges of their respective tribunals would be appointed for ten-year terms. The chief administrative law judge of the Illinois Tax Tribunal, however, has a term of only five years, with the other administrative law judges’ terms being reduced to four years.77 These reductions would appear to increase the risk “that a [t]ax [t]ribunal judge will be viewed as just another political appointee.”78 Also, the “advice and consent of the Senate” is required to remove a judge under the Model Act79 and HB 13-1140,80 but the Governor can act alone in such regard under the IITTA.81 Furthermore, the Model Act provides that the state department of revenue and the tax tribunal will be located in separate buildings or facilities.82 The same separation is required by HB 13-1140.83 But the IITTA’s requirement that the Illinois Tax Tribunal and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) be “separate and distinct” refers only to their offices, not the buildings.84 Though a small difference, this could be read to imply that physical separation need not be so formal, and thereby affect the perceived independence of the Illinois Tax Tribunal.85
The Illinois Tax Tribunal is granted “original jurisdiction over all determinations of the Department reflected on a Notice of Deficiency, Notice of Tax Liability, Notice of Claim Denial, or Notice of Penalty Liability.”86 This jurisdiction appears similar to the provisions in HB 13-1140 that the Colorado Tax Court “shall have original jurisdiction over final determinations of the executive director of the department,”87 and the definition of a “[t]axpayer.”88 It would then appear that the jurisdictions of the tax tribunal under the Model Act, the Colorado Tax Court and the Illinois Tax Tribunal are similar in effect.89
However, the IITTA adds the restriction of a minimum dollar amount, $15,000.01, that must be at issue (exclusive of interest and penalties, unless there is no tax liability at issue, in which case the interest and penalties must meet that threshold).90 More importantly, as foreshadowed by the language missing from the IITTA”s statement of purpose,91 a bond can be required:
[The Illinois Tax Tribunal] may require the taxpayer to post a bond equal to 25 percent of the liability at issue (1) upon motion of the [IDOR] and a showing that (A) the taxpayer’s action is frivolous or legally insufficient or (B) the taxpayer is acting primarily for the purpose of delaying the collection of tax or prejudicing the ability ultimately to collect the tax, or (2) if, at any time during the proceedings, it is determined by the Tax Tribunal that the taxpayer is not pursuing the resolution of the case with due diligence.92
Still, the threshold dollar amount does much more to threaten the availability of an independent tax tribunal as a pre-payment forum93 then the bond requirement. The circumstances in which a bond is required under the IITTA appear designed to address only situations in which the Illinois Tax Tribunal is being abused by the taxpayer, the amount is limited “to 25 percent of the liability at issue,” and a lien in lieu of the bond is permitted “[i]f the [Illinois] Tax Tribunal finds … that the taxpayer cannot procure and furnish a satisfactory surety or sureties for the kind of bond required herein.”94
As with HB 13-1140, another important difference between the IITTA and the Model Act is the former’s omission of language corresponding to § 8 of the Model Act.95 Thus, the only assurance in the IITTA that Illinois will continue to offer informal settlement mechanisms96 is the brief reference to the Illinois Tax Tribunal’s jurisdiction not extending to the review of “any proceedings of the Department’s informal administrative appeals function.”97 Still, there is no indication that Illinois’ administrative review procedures have been rendered null and void. In addition, Illinois may have demonstrated that it is still invested in the settlement of cases at an early stage98 by the inclusion of a new section in the IITTA that permits the parties to jointly petition for mediation.99
The IITTA does not provide one particular timeframe in which all petitions for review by the Illinois Tax Tribunal must be filed. Thus, while the Model Act and HB 13-1140 both require petitions to be filed ninety days from the taxpayer’s receipt of the applicable department’s written notice of determination,100 the IITTA refers only to “the time permitted by statute for filing a protest.”101 In the case of a protest of a tax assessed under the Illinois Income Tax Act, for example, this time limit would then be “[w]ithin 60 days (150 days if the taxpayer is outside the United States) after the issuance of a notice of deficiency.”102
Finally, the burden of persuasion in the Model Act and HB 13-1140 is on the taxpayer when it comes to issues of fact, except in cases of fraud.103 Under the IITTA, this burden is on the taxpayer for all issues of fact.104 The IITTA, like HB 13-1140105 adds language in the section governing appeals from the Illinois Tax Tribunal that is not found in the corresponding section of the Model Act. But instead of changing the standard of review,106 the IITTA states that appeals from the Illinois Tax Tribunal will be made directly to the appellate court level.107 This is another way in which the administrative nature of the Illinois Tax Tribunal108 is not as significant as it may at first appear.109
It can be hoped that, as with HB 13-1140 and its legislative declaration,110 the statement of purpose in the IITTA111 would also translate into Illinois appeals courts being expected to give greater persuasive authority to decisions of the Illinois Tax Tribunal than other trial-level courts. This is reinforced here by Illinois’ Administrative Review Law (a provision of which is referred to in the IITTA112), which states that an agency’s findings and conclusions, on appeal of its administrative decision, are “prima facie true and correct.”113 The Illinois Tax Tribunal is in fact an independent agency.114 In addition, case law in Illinois states that ”[r]eview of pure questions of law is de novo, but an agency’s construction is still entitled to substantial weight and deference.”115
In the author’s experience, the subject of obtaining a remedy from an adverse decision of a tax agency is frequently raised by taxpayers, as a key part of the concepts of justice and fairness. But the lack of resources that contributed to the failure to pay taxes or file returns, which are two common scenarios, often has a similar effect on the ability of these same taxpayers to bring a court action. In other words, if a taxpayer cannot pay the taxes in the first place, how can he or she be expected to proceed to court when payment of the taxes is often a jurisdictional prerequisite? The availability of a tax tribunal, before payment or the posting of a bond, goes a long way toward remedying this situation. HB 13-1140 should be re-introduced in substantially the same form, but with revision of the standard of review for appeals of the Colorado Tax Court’s decisions to mirror that of established case law.116 In addition the time period for filing the petition in the Colorado Tax Court should be increased. Ninety days can be a very short time when a taxpayer is having financial troubles, which are often complicated by mental and physical challenges as well.
2 Daniel A. Edelstein is an associate at The Law Firm of Bruce A. Danford, LLC
3 See http://www.aicpa.org/advocacy/tax/statelocal/pages/statetaxtribunals.aspx, or the “AICPA Webpage,” last viewed on May 16, 2013.
4 See the AICPA Webpage.
5 See House Bill 13-1140, “A Bill for an Act Concerning the Establishment of the Colorado Independent Tax Appeal Court,” Rep. Stephens.
6 Model Act, § 1, first paragraph.
8 Id. at § 1, second paragraph.
9 Id.; see § 14.
10 Id. at § 7(a).
11 Model Act, § 8(a).
13 Id. at § 8(b)(11).
14 See, infra, page 3, second paragraph.
15 Id. at § 8(b), (b)(1), (b)(3).
16 Id. at § 8(b)(10); cf. id. at § 12(h) (tax tribunal proceedings will be officially reported).
17 Id. at § 8(b)(9) (emphasis added).
18 See, supra, page 1, second paragraph; quoting Model Act, § 1, first paragraph.
19 Allen, Garland and Fields, Craig B., “The Model State Administrative Tax Tribunal Act: Fairness for all Taxpayers,” The State and Local Tax Lawyer, Vol. 10, pp. 83–92 (2005) (“Allen and Fields”), pp. 83, footnotes, 86, Item 1, second paragraph.
20 Id. at p. 86, Item 1, third paragraph.
21 Model Act, § 9(a).
24 Id. at § 12(a).
25 Id. at § 12(g).
27 Id. at § 2(b).
28 Id. at § 3(b), (g); see Allen and Fields, pp. 84–85: the involvement of the Senate “guarantee[s] input by a separate branch of government,” and the ten-year term “exceed[s] that of most governors, thereby making it less likely that a [t]ax [t]ribunal judge will be viewed as just another political appointee.”
29 Model Act, § 5(b), (c).
30Allen and Fields, p. 83, footnotes, and Part II, first paragraph.
31Id. at p. 92, Part V, first paragraph.
32Model Act, § 7(a), (c).
33 C.R.S. § 39-21-103(2), (7).
34Id. at § 39-21-111(1), (2).
35Id. at § 39-21-103(6)(a), (6)(b), (7), (8)(a).
36 Id. at § 39-21-103(8)(a).
37 Id. at § 39-21-104(1).
39 Id. at § 39-21-104(1) (2004) (emphasis added).
40 See, supra, page 2, first paragraph.
41 C.R.S. § 39-21-105(1).
42 Id. at § 39-21-111(1), (2).
43 Id. at § 39-21-105(2)(b).
44 See, supra, page 3, first paragraph.
45 C.R.S. § 39-21-105(2)(b).
46 Id. at § 39-21-105(4)(a) (emphasis added).
47 http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2013a/csl.nsf/StatusAll?OpenFrameset, last viewed May 16, 2013, row beginning with “HB13-1140.pdf.”
48 Memorandum from Kerry White, Fiscal Analyst at the Colorado Legislative Council Staff, to Rep. Stephens, regarding “Intent to Postpone Indefinitely House Bill 13-1140,” dated February 21, 2013.
49 See House Committee of Reference Report, Committee on Finance, HB1140_C.001, dated March 6, 2013.
50 HB 13-1140, § 1, new section 39-21-402(1).
51 Id. at new section 39-21-403(2).
52 See, e.g., HB 13-1140, § 1, new sections 39-21-402(2), 39-21-408(1), 39-21-413(5).
53 See id. at new section 39-21-402.
54 Id. at new section 39-21-402(2).
55 See C.R.S. § 39-21-105(1), (2)(b).
56 HB 13-1140, § 1, new section 39-21-408(1).
57 See the Model Act, § 7(a): “the [t]ax [t]ribunal shall be the sole, exclusive and final authority for the hearing and determination of questions of law and fact arising under the tax laws of this State.”
58 See, supra, page 2, first paragraph.
59 See Allen and Fields, p. 86, Item 1, second paragraph.
60 See HB 13-1140, § 1, new sections 39-21-412(1), 39-21-415(3).
61 See id. at new section 39-21-401(1).
62 Cf., e.g., E-470 Pub. Highway Auth. v. 455 Co., 3 P.3d 18, 22 (Colo. 2000) (“Findings of fact are generally reviewed under a clear error or abuse of discretion standard, whereas conclusions of law are generally reviewed under a de novo standard.”).
63 See HB 13-1140, § 1, new section 39-21-401(1).
64 See 35 ILCS § 1010/1-1.
65 Id. at § 1010/99-999.
66 Id. at § 1010/1-15(a), (d).
67 Model Act, § 1, first paragraph.
68 35 ILCS § 1010/1-5(a); but see id. at § 1010/1-45(e), (e)(5) (the Illinois Tax Tribunal’s jurisdiction does not extend to the review of “any proceedings of the Department’s informal administrative appeals function”).
69 Model Act, § 1, second paragraph.
70 35 ILCS § 1010/1-5(a).
71 Id. at § 1010/1-15(a); see Model Act, § 2(b).
72 See 35 ILCS §§ 1010/1-60(a), 1-65(e).
73 See 35 ILCS § 1010/1-10; see, supra, page 5, second paragraph.
74 35 ILCS § 1010/1-10, “Taxpayer.”
75 Id. at § 3(b).
76 Id. at § 1, new section 39-21-404(2).
77 35 ILCS § 1010/1-25(a).
78 Allen and Fields, p. 85.
79 Id. at § 3(g).
80 Id. at § 1, new section 39-21-404(7).
81 35 ILCS § 1010/1-25(d).
82 Id. at § 5(c).
83 Id. at § 1, new section 39-21-406(3).
84 35 ILCS § 1010/1-35(d).
85 See Allen and Fields, p. 92, Part V, first paragraph.
86 35 ILCS § 1010/1-45(a).
87 Id. at § 1, new section 39-21-408(1).
88 Id. at new section 39-21-402(2).
89 See the Model Act, § 7(a): “the [t]ax [t]ribunal shall be the sole, exclusive and final authority for the hearing and determination of questions of law and fact arising under the tax laws of this State.”
90 35 ILCS § 1010/1–45(a).
91 See, supra, page 6, second full paragraph.
92 35 ILCS § 1010/1–45(c).
93 See Model Act, § 1.
94 35 ILCS § 1010/1–45(c).
95 See, supra, page 2, first paragraph.
96 See Allen and Fields, p. 86, Item 1, second paragraph.
97 35 ILCS § 1010/1–45(e), (e)(5).
98 See Allen and Fields, p. 86, Item 1, second paragraph.
99 See 35 ILCS § 1010/1–63.
100 Model Act § 9(a); HB 13-1140 § 1, new section 39-21-409(1).
101 35 ILCS § 1010/1-50(a).
102 35 ILCS § 5/908(a).
103 Model Act, § 12(g); HB 13-1140, § 1, new section 39-21-412(7).
104 35 ILCS § 1010/1-65(j).
105 See, supra, page 5, last paragraph.
106 See HB 13-1140, § 1, new section 39-21-415(3).
107 35 ILCS § 1010/1-75(a).
108 See id. at § 1010/1-5(a).
109 See, supra, page 6, second full paragraph; Model Act, § 15(a).
110 See id. at § 1, new section 39-21-401(1).
111 See 35 ILCS § 1010/1-5(a), (c).
112 See 35 ILCS § 1010/1-75(a).
113 735 ILCS § 5/3-110.
114 See 35 ILCS § 1010/1-15(a).
115 Metropolitan Water Reclamation Dist. of Greater Chicago v. Department of Revenue of State of Illinois, 313 Ill.App.3d 469, 474, 729 N.E.2d 924, 929, 246 Ill.Dec. 273, 278 (1st Dist App. Ct. 2000).
116 See, supra, page 5, last paragraph.