The Chicago Tribune is reporting that some Chicago Bears season ticket holders may owe additional taxes on the Personal Seat Licenses that they purchased years ago. Isn’t it bad enough that lifelong season ticket holders had to pay a licensing fee for the right to retain their own seats, which were often passed down from generation to generation when Soldier Field was renovated back in 2003, but now to go back and try to collect an amusement tax? Are you kidding me?
Robert Shelist, a Chicago resident and longtime season ticket-holder, said he received a certified letter from the city on Wednesday. He said he purchased a license for two seats five years ago from the Bears for a total of $7,500. The letter asks him to fill out an affidavit that explains when, from whom and for how much he bought the license to “assist us in determining the amount to bill for this transaction. … You will be contacted by one of our representatives and notified of the amusement tax balance due.” The letter requires the affidavit be returned within 45 days and payment made within 30 days of billing. Otherwise, interest of 12 percent will be charged for each year since the tickets were purchased.
Shelist said he pays amusement taxes for each ticket he buys. Each ticket is at least $100. The tax initially was 7 percent but has since risen to 9 percent.
If he now has to pay an amusement tax on the license, as the letter appears to indicate, he would have to pay an additional $525.
“We’ve been paying the amusement tax on the season tickets for years, and now we’re being asked to pay the tax on the cost of the license to buy the tickets,” he said. “That doesn’t seem to make sense.”
The city of Chicago is strapped for cash and seeks to take advantage of a group that won’t get any sympathy with the public, but it’s flat out wrong to seek taxes years after the fact. The city already bumped the Amusement Tax from 7% up to 9% a few years back. Not to mention that when season ticket holders actually buy the tickets, they already pay the Amusement Tax. Give Alderman Robert Fioretti credit. He seems to have a clue.
Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd), contacted by the Tribune, said the city should not be able to collect amusement taxes on the licenses.
“How could you do that?” he asked, when told of the letters. “The PSL is the licensing right to the seat. That’s separate and distinct from the entertainment value of the ticket, per se, so there’s no way they should be doing that.”
Hey Mayor Daley and the rest of you crooks in City Hall, here’s a novel idea: how about the city goes after all of the deadbeat politicians and other cronies that owe back taxes, like Cook County President Todd Stroger before you go after the honest, hardworking Bears fans in the middle of the worst recession in a generation!