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Wine trade group, wineries sue over Illinois shipping

BILL SWINDELL, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Wine Institute and three Napa County wineries have filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Department of Revenue and Attorney General’s Office over a dispute on whether they should have charged tax on shipping fees for online purchases into the state.

The trade group for California wineries and Chimney Rock Winery, the Miner Family Winery and Staglin Family Vineyard filed suit in Illinois state court in response to hundreds of Illinois False Claims Act complaints that have been brought by attorney Stephen Diamond. Diamond has been acting on behalf of the state.

Diamond claims the wineries should have charged tax on the shipping fees for his online purchases delivered to Illinois. The industry contends the delivery charges are not taxable because they have to be agreed upon separately from the selling price of the purchases, and Illinois does not tax transportation services.