Cook County Board Repeals Tax Break for Popular Parking Apps - NBC Chicago

Cook County Board Repeals Tax Break for Popular Parking Apps

The Cook County Board on Wednesday voted unanimously to repeal a tax break that would have cut parking taxes for such companies

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Cook Co. Considers Parking App Tax

    It could soon cost you more to park downtown, especially if you use mobile apps to reserve your spot. NBC 5's Charlie Wojciechowski has the details.

    (Published Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018)

    What was meant to be a tax break for people who park downtown could have been a windfall for parking app companies like SpotHero and ParkWhiz in Chicago. 

    But that's no longer the case.  

    The Cook County Board on Wednesday voted unanimously to repeal a tax break that would have cut parking taxes for such companies. 

    The measure was initially passed in October when the board approved cutting taxes for the apps from 6 percent to one and three quarter percent. Some board members, including board president and mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle, had argued the apps should still be paying 6 percent--the same rate charged to garage owners and operators. 

    "Rather than refunding the money to the taxpayer, the person who parks their car, it gives it to the developer of a particular kind of app to pocket the difference," said Commissioner Larry Suffredin. 

    The October measure wasn't set to take effect until the New Year, but Wednesday's vote means things won't be changing as planned. 

    "It's not a healthy thing for our business model," said SpotHero spokeswoman Natalie Bauer Luce. "It isn’t a healthy thing for our user’s pocketbooks and its not a healthy thing for the tech community in general in terms of consistency and predictability."

    ParkWhiz says it supports a fair tax rate that accurately reflects its business model as a mobile payment facilitator and marketplace. The company says it will continue to work with the county to find a fair and reasonable tax policy that makes sense for its customers and its business.

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