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Governor Quinn Encourages Working Families to Apply for Tax Relief During Tax Season PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Nafia Khan   
Monday, 06 February 2012 09:30

Increase to Earned Income Credit and Personal Exemption
to Help Working Families and Stimulate Local Economies

CHICAGO – February 4, 2012. As families across Illinois prepare their taxes this season, Governor Pat Quinn today visited a tax assistance center organized by the Center for Economic Progress at Truman College to encourage working families across Illinois to learn about tax relief passed by the Governor earlier this year and how to apply for the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit. The law doubles the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) over two years, saving low-income workers an extra $105 million per year. The new law also benefits all Illinois taxpayers by raising the value of the personal exemption and indexing it to inflation.

“Illinois took a step forward this year in helping working families keep more of what they earn,” Governor Quinn said. “We must get the word out to our friends, family and neighbors about who is eligible and how to apply for this tax relief that will help every day people and grow our economy.”

To benefit from Illinois’ EITC, also known as the Earned Income Credit (EIC), taxpayers must include it on their tax returns. While more than 2.5 million state residents benefited from the Illinois EITC in 2010, many people who are eligible for EITC don't file for it. The not-for-profit Center for Economic Progress (CEP) estimates that between 10 and 20 percent of eligible taxpayers did not file for EITC last year.

To help working families achieve the maximum savings on their taxes, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) partners with the CEP Tax Counseling Project to provide free tax preparation assistance at tax assistance centers across the state. The services are provided free of charge to families making less than $50,000 annually and to individuals with yearly incomes under $25,000. More than 28,000 Illinois taxpayers filed returns through the program in the 2010 tax season, with more than $50 million in state and federal tax refunds returned to clients.

DHS also funds the Tax Assistance Program (TAP), which recruits tax professionals to volunteer to assist low-income families in 23 locations in Chicago and the suburbs. DHS also works with its clients and those who found jobs and have left DHS programs to educate them about tax preparation programs and ways to ensure they receive the maximum refund on their tax returns.

For more information on the Tax Counseling Project, contact the Center for Economic Progress in Chicago at 312-630-0273, or its toll-free statewide number 888-827-8511 or its website www.economicprogress.org. 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 Department of Revenue website at www.revenue.state.il.us. Information about filing federal taxes online can be found at www.irs.gov.

About the New Illinois EITC Law:

The new law marked the largest increase in Illinois’ EITC since its inception in 2000, by phasing in a 5 percent increase over two years. The law boosts the state’s EITC from its current level at 5 percent of federal EITC, to 7.5 percent in tax year 2012 and 10 percent of federal EITC in tax year 2013. More than 2.5 million state residents benefited from the Illinois EITC in 2010.

Under the new law, a single mother with one child, earning minimum wage ($12,800 a year), will save $154 on her taxes. A married couple with three children earning $30,000 a year will save $199 on their taxes this year.

Uniquely pro-growth and pro-family, the EITC is available only to those with earned income and provides incentive to work as well as much-needed tax relief to the lowest-income families. EITC also boosts local economies through increased consumer demand. A 2006 Brookings Institution study found that every dollar a family saves through this tax credit translates into $1.58 of activity in local economies.

The law also improves the value of the standard personal exemption for all taxpayers in Illinois and ties its continued growth to the rate of inflation. The personal exemption will increase by $50 (to $2,050) in tax year 2012, and the value of the exemption will be indexed to the cost of living adjustment each tax year thereafter. The personal exemption change benefits all taxpayers, regardless of income.

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Tax Credits and Breaks Available for Illinois Guardsmen and Employers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Sgt. James Sims, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Monday, 06 February 2012 09:30

SPRINGFIELD, IL (02/04/2012)(readMedia)-- As servicemembers start to receive their W2's in the mail, now is the time to prepare to file your 2011 tax returns and learn what opportunities are available for military members.

"There are many programs at the state and federal levels providing tax credits for members of our military in recognition of their sacrifices for the nation," said Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates, Deputy of Human Resources for the Illinois Army National Guard. "It is important that our troops are aware of these benefits and not leave any money on the table when those dollars can be helpful to our families and employers."

If a servicemember is eligible under the Military OneSource program, he/she can complete, save and file their 2011 federal taxes and up to three state tax returns online for free with the H&R Block At Home® tool. To access this free service, use the Military OneSource H&R Block At Home® link. The first step is to log in to Military OneSource (new users will need to create a Military OneSource account). From there, users will be directed to a page with additional information on tax preparation, including a link to the Military OneSource H&R Block At Home® service.

In addition to filing taxes for free, servicemembers can get support from trained tax consultants through Military OneSource. Servicemembers and families can call 1-800-342-9647 and ask to speak with a Military OneSource tax consultant seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Federal tax benefits for hiring many veterans are available to business owners in any state. The federal benefits are available under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Program. There is up to a $2,400 credit if there is:

• a veteran who is a member of a family that has received food stamps for at least three consecutive months in the 15 months prior to the date of hire

• a person with disability who is participating in a vocational rehabilitation program through U.S. Veteran's Administration

There is also a WOTC credit of up to $4,800 for veterans entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability who:

• were hired within one year of having been discharged, or released from activity duty

• has been unemployed for any six of the last 12 months

Employers hiring multiple WOTC qualified employees can make a significant dent in their federal income taxes. These benefits are explained and claimed on IRS Form 5884.

Currently, 26 states offer partial or total exclusions, from state-level taxes for combat and/or other military compensation paid to servicemembers. There are five states offering outright tax exemption for military pay, including Illinois.

Combat pay received by members of the military serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and other combat zone localities is usually exempt from tax. But under a special rule, servicemembers can choose to count all of this income when he/she figures the Earned Income Tax Credit. In many cases, making this choice will enable the servicemember to claim the credit, or if you are already eligible, claim a larger credit.

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DAVENPORT WOMAN EXPECTS $5,000 PRIZE, WINS $50,000 INSTEAD PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Amy Garringer   
Monday, 06 February 2012 08:59

Sandra Speer Wins Top Prize of $50,000 Playing “Super Crossword” Scratch Game

 

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Davenport woman said she and her husband were expecting to get a $5,000 check right up until they claimed their prize at an Iowa Lottery regional office.

Sandra Speer, 58, said she and her husband, Bob, were sure she’d won a $5,000 prize on her “Super Crossword” scratch ticket, but soon learned she’d actually won a top prize of $50,000.

“Until we got up here we thought we won $5,000, so I’m still in shock,” Speer said.

Speer said even when she thought it was a $5,000 prize, Bob didn’t believe her. She even took the ticket to a local retailer to have it scanned, but still was unable to clearly understand what she’d won.

“Well, she printed up a receipt, but there’s no commas, so we thought it was five thousand,” Speer said.

Speer said when she claimed her prize Wednesday at the Iowa Lottery’s regional office in Cedar Rapids, she could’ve fallen over when she heard what she’d actually won. She hadn’t yet told anyone the news about her big win.

“I don’t know who I want to share it with first,” she said.

Speer said she plans to use some of her winnings to take a vacation. She purchased her winning ticket at Casey’s, 3700 W. Locust St. in Davenport.

Super Crossword is a $5 scratch game. Players win a prize by scratching the "your letters" then scratching the corresponding letters found in Puzzles 1 and 2 and the "bonus word." If players have scratched at least three complete words in Puzzle 1 or 2, they win the corresponding prize shown in the prize legend for that puzzle. If players uncover all six letters in the "bonus word" by scratching the letters that match the "your letters" they win the prize shown in the prize box.

Ten top prizes of $50,000 are still up for grabs in Super Crossword, as well as eight prizes of $5,000, 120 prizes of $500 and more than 865 prizes of $100.

Players can enter eligible non-winning scratch tickets online to earn “Points For Prizes™” points. The point value will be revealed to the player on the website upon successful submission of each eligible valid ticket. There is a limit of 30 ticket entries per day. To participate in Points For Prizes™, a player must register for a free account at ialottery.com. Registration is a one-time process. Merchandise that can be ordered by using points will be listed on the website in the Points For Prizes™ online store. Players can choose from items in categories such as apparel, automotive, jewelry, sporting, tools and more.

Since the lottery’s start in 1985, its players have won more than $2.8 billion in prizes while the lottery has raised more than $1.3 billion for the state programs that benefit all Iowans.

Today, lottery proceeds in Iowa have three main purposes: They provide support for veterans, help for a variety of significant projects through the state General Fund, and backing for the Vision Iowa program, which was implemented to create tourism destinations and community attractions in the state and build and repair schools.

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Iowa Supreme Court Opinion PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Iowa Judicial Branch   
Monday, 06 February 2012 08:58
Iowa Supreme Court Opinions

February 3, 2012

Notice: The opinions posted on this site are slip opinions only. Under the Rules of Appellate Procedure a party has a limited number of days to request a rehearing after the filing of an opinion. Also, all slip opinions are subject to modification or correction by the court. Therefore, opinions on this site are not to be considered the final decisions of the court. The official published opinions of the Iowa Supreme Court are those published in the North Western Reporter published by West Group.

Opinions released before April 2006 and available in the archives are posted in Word format. Opinions released after April 2006 are posted to the website in PDF (Portable Document Format).   Note: To open a PDF you must have the free Acrobat Reader installed. PDF format preserves the original appearance of a document without requiring you to possess the software that created that document. For more information about PDF read: Using the Adobe Reader.

For your convenience, the Judicial Branch offers a free e-mail notification service for Supreme Court opinions, Court of Appeals opinions, press releases and orders. To subscribe, click here.

NOTE: Copies of these opinions may be obtained from the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Judicial Branch Building, 1111 East Court Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319, for a fee of fifty cents per page.

No. 10–1932

MITCHELL COUNTY vs. MATTHEW HOOVER ZIMMERMAN

 
Grassley amendment to STOCK Act passes PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 06 February 2012 08:51

Alert:  The Senate just passed Sen. Grassley’s amendment 60 to 39.  Video of Sen. Grassley’s remarks just prior to the vote is available here.

 

EARLIER

Thursday, February 2, 2012

 

Grassley seeks same transparency from political intelligence professionals as lobbyists

 

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today offered an amendment to require political intelligence operatives to register and disclose affiliations in the same way that lobbyists are required to do.

 

“Political intelligence professionals aren’t considered lobbyists, so they don’t have to disclose that they’re seeking information and are paid for it,” Grassley said.  “As a result, members of Congress and congressional staff have no way of knowing whether such meetings result in information being sold to firms that trade based on that information.  My amendment would shed sunshine on this kind of political intelligence gathering.”

 

According to an October 2011 Wall Street Journal story, political intelligence has become an approximately $100 million industry that employs over 2,000 people in Washington.  Political intelligence professionals seek information from members of Congress and congressional staff and then sell the information they gather to hedge funds and other firms that trade stocks and equities based on the information.

 

Grassley said transparency will help make members of Congress and congressional staff more aware of whether the people they are meeting with are selling information to others who trade on that information.

 

The Iowa senator offered his amendment, #1493, during Senate debate on the STOCK Act, S.2038.  The Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge bill would clarify that current prohibitions of the Securities and Exchange Commission on insider trading on non-public information extend to members of Congress and congressional staff.  It also would speed disclosure by requiring those who file annual financial disclosure statements to report stock and bond transactions within 30 days of the transaction, among other measures.

 

Here is the text of the floor statement Grassley delivered this afternoon regarding his amendment:

 

Mr. President, I would like to call up amendment #1493 and make that amendment pending.

 

Mr. President, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that political intelligence is an approximately $100 million industry.  The article also says that expert networks employ over 2,000 people in Washington, DC.

 

I say approximately because no one really knows how many people work in this industry, who they seek information from, what happens to that information, and how much they get paid.  This is the problem.

 

You have a growing industry with no transparency.  If a lobbyist has to register in order to advocate for a school or church, shouldn’t that same lobbyist have to register if they are seeking and getting inside information to make a profit on?

 

This is especially true if that information would make millions for a hedge fund or a private equity firm.

 

Under current law, this is not the case.

 

My amendment merely brings some sunlight to this area.  It defines what a political intelligence lobbyist is and requires them to register – the same as any other lobbyist.  I understand that some will say that there have not been hearings on this subject and that it should be studied first.  But there isn’t much that’s complicated about this amendment.

 

If you seek information from Congress in order to make money, the American people have a right to know your name and who you’re selling that information to.  That’s just basic good government.

 

This amendment isn’t just helpful to the American people, it also helps members and staff who are trying to decipher their duties under the STOCK Act.  Senators have raised the question, “How will we know if the people we speak to trade on what we say?”

 

By requiring lobbyists who sell information to stock traders to register, members and staff have an easy way to track who they are and who they sell information to.  This strengthens the bill and helps members and staff comply with its requirements.

 

Mr. President, I hope we can consider this amendment soon and bring light and transparency to this growing industry.  I yield the floor.

 

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