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Andersonville’s Uncharted Books Aims To Reopen Next Week After State Tax Snafu

After a mishap with an accountant, the state slapped a big orange sign on the bookstore just days before Christmas.

Uncharted Books, 5140 N. Clark St., is closed as its business license with the state has expired.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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ANDERSONVILLE — There’s a big orange “expired” sign on the door of the neighborhood’s popular rare and used book store, but owners say not to worry: They’ll be back soon.

Uncharted Books, 5140 N. Clark St., was slapped with an expired certificate of registration with the Illinois Department of Revenue on Dec. 23 — as its owners headed out of town to visit family for the first time since 2019, said Rachel Adams, who helps run the store with her husband, owner Tanner McSwain.

“Our accountant who filed our sales tax went out of business and didn’t notify their clients,” Adams said. “The state told us about it at 4:30 p.m. the day before Christmas Eve, and we are traveling so we couldn’t drop off a check, which means we have to wait for all of the payments to post digitally before we can reopen — and have to delay things even longer because of all the holiday closures.”

Adams said they’re “embarrassed as hell” to have the sign on the door, but they’ve been paying staff for their usual hours while they straighten everything out.

Payments are expected to post sometime next week, and the store will reopen then.

A representative for the revenue department said businesses must be in compliance with state tax laws to operate.

“Due to taxpayer confidentiality provisions in the tax laws, the Illinois Department of Revenue cannot divulge particulars regarding the compliance of a business, but in general, to be open and operate legally, the business must be in full compliance, or have a department approved payment plan,” Maura Kownacki, spokesperson for the department, said in a statement.

Uncharted Books opened in 2012 on Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square. The shop, along with beloved shop dog Ramona, moved to Andersonville’s Clark Street in 2019. In moving, the business opted for a bigger spot in a more heavily foot-trafficked area, McSwain said at the time.

Credit: Michael Dhar/Block Club Chicago

The Andersonville shop became a hub of community, hosting events, including the comedy series Congrats On Your Success.

The store even includes a secret door that masks the entrance of the Adventurers Club, a private space in the store that customers can use to read, meet and host events.

The space is closed because of the pandemic, according to Uncharted’s website.

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