State offering free tax help to eligible residents

From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD — With tax season in full swing, the Illinois Department of Human Services is urging eligible Illinois families to take advantage of tax preparation assistance supported by the state.

“We want to ensure Illinois families get the maximum savings on their taxes, so we sent information about tax assistance and the EITC to more than one million households,” said IDHS Acting Secretary Melissa A. Wright. “For many families, these benefits are critical to rising out of poverty and making the transition from dependency to self-sufficiency.”

To help working families file their taxes, IDHS partners with the Center for Economic Progress to provide free tax preparation assistance at 15 tax assistance centers. The services are provided free of charge to families making less than $50,000 annually and to individuals with yearly incomes under $25,000. IDHS also funds the Tax Assistance Program, which has 18 locations in Chicago and the suburbs of Chicago.

During last year’s tax season, a total of 29,421 taxpayers filed returns through both programs, collecting nearly $50 million in refunds — an average of $1,700 per household.

The state also encourages Illinois taxpayers to apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC is expected to save working families an extra $105 million this year.

For more information on the Tax Counseling Project, contact the Center for Economic Progress in Chicago at (312) 252-0280, or call the toll-free statewide number at (888) 827-8511. For information on the Tax Assistance Program call (312) 409-1555 or (312) 409-4318 (Spanish). Details are also available on the IDHS website at www.dhs.state.il.us and the Illinois Department of Revenue website at www.tax.illinois.gov.

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