- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A pair of companies owned by the founder of the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain owes Illinois more than $1.4 million in state taxes on a pair of corporate jets, the state alleges in court filings.

But attorneys for Jimmy John Liautaud, a vocal critic of Illinois’ income tax rates, dispute that claim.

The case is pending before the Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal, the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reported (https://bit.ly/1rpPw7q).

Illinois Department of Revenue officials allege that the companies - Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC and Liautaud Development Group LLC - owe the money on the 2009 purchases of a Lear jet and a Bombadier BD-100. Revenue officials argue the jets don’t qualify for a commercial-transportation exemption.

But attorneys for the companies believe the state isn’t properly applying the tax code. They argue in court filings that the companies “took all prudent steps and good business care” in determining that they don’t owe the money.

Liautaud has been an outspoken critic of Illinois’ income tax. In 2011 he threatened to move the sandwich chain’s headquarters form Champaign to Florida over Gov. Pat Quinn’s decision to raise the tax.

He also said at the time that he had moved his family to Florida. In more recent campaign-finance records detailing political contributions, he alternately indicated he was a resident of Champaign and Chicago.

The privately held Champaign-based Jimmy John’s chain has more than 2,000 locations.

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Information from: The Pantagraph, https://www.pantagraph.com

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