Use Free Tax Preparation Help; Avoid Refund Anticipation Loans
CHICAGO - April 10, 2010. Governor Quinn today hailed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for providing tax relief to thousands of hard-working families and urged all eligible Illinois taxpayers to use the credit when filing their 2009 returns this year.
The Governor also encouraged those who need help filing their returns to utilize the free tax preparation assistance offered by community groups and he warned taxpayers to avoid using costly tax refund anticipation loans that are offered by some commercial tax preparation companies.
"The Earned Income Tax Credit is the best pro-job, pro-family and anti-poverty tax relief ever devised, and every eligible family in Illinois should receive the full credit," said Governor Quinn. "With the income tax deadline just five days away, it is important that Illinois' working families take advantage of free tax preparation assistance to help get their full refunds quickly and painlessly."
State partnerships with the Center for Economic Progress' Tax Counseling Project and Ladder Up (formerly the Tax Assistance Program) will offer free tax preparation assistance and e-filing for families across Illinois. Services are free for families who earned under $50,000 and individuals who made less than $25,000.
Through the partnerships, volunteer tax counselors will provide free tax assistance and counseling more than 30 sites throughout the state. Most sites will provide services from January 23 through April 15. Governor Quinn made today's announcement at Truman College in Chicago, which will serve as a Center for Economic Progress site. (A full list of locations is attached.)
Taxpayers can walk in to any of the locations, without an appointment, and work with trained volunteers who will help fill out their returns and make sure they file for all the credits, deductions and other benefits to which they're entitled.
Families raising three or more children in their home can get up to $5657 from the federal EITC with earnings of less than $48,279 (married, filing jointly). Illinois residents who claim the federal EITC may also receive the state EITC, which can save them up to $283.
Governor Quinn also encouraged residents to avoid the high cost of refund anticipation loans (RALs) offered by commercial tax preparation companies. According to a 2009 study by the Consumer Federation of America and the National Consumer Law Center, the price of a RAL for a typical loan of $3,000 can range from $62 to $110.
Most Illinois taxpayers can file state taxes for free at www.tax.illinois.gov and receive a refund in about a week. Additionally, many can file their federal taxes online for free as well. Information about filing federal taxes online can be found at www.irs.gov.