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SPews: March 11, 2011

UI owes thousands in back taxes to IRS,” Daily Illini, March 7

The University owes thousands of dollars in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, after failing to withhold taxes for graduate assistants for seven years.

. . .

Now that the University has begun to correctly tax graduate assistants for 2011, 17 graduate assistants will have no pay left after the withholding and, 56 will have more than 50 percent of their pay withheld. In total, 280 people are affected by the tax change. Graduate assistants were notified of the change Feb. 22.


Two Champaign projects win architectural design awards from foundation,” News-Gazette, March 7

Two projects that transformed the area between downtown Champaign and Campustown won architectural design awards at the Champaign County Design and Conservation Foundation’s annual meeting Sunday.

The city of Champaign received an award for the Second Street Reach component of its improvements to Boneyard Creek, and the Champaign Park District got an award for its renovation of Scott Park.

U of I offers emergency grants to grad assistants,” Pantagraph, March 10

The University of Illinois will offer emergency grants to student graduate assistants who recently learned they’d have to go unpaid for some time to cover overdue taxes.

The university says a payroll glitch caused taxes not to be withheld for hundreds of graduate employees.

UI grad student wins Lemelson-MIT inventor prize,” News-Gazette, March 9

University of Illinois graduate student Scott Daigle has won the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Illinois Student Prize, given annually to an outstanding student inventor on campus.

Daigle, a graduate student in mechanical science and engineering, started IntelliWheels Inc. to add automatic gear shifting to wheelchairs.

His product automatically shifts gears by sensing how hard the wheelchair user is pushing, how fast the chair is going and the tilt of the chair.

Quinn signs law to collect online sales taxes,” Pantagraph, March 10

Illinois residents have been avoiding the taxman for years by shopping online, a strategy that will become harder under a new law that requires online merchants to collect sales tax on purchases made through business partner based in the state.

Supporters say the law signed Thursday by Gov. Pat Quinn will help level the playing field between brick-and-mortar stores and online businesses. Critics argue it will drive companies out of Illinois.

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