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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2004

Governor announces first year for refundable Earned Income Tax Credit
State promotes EITC and free tax preparation for low income families

SPRINGFIELD - As Illinoisans begin filing their tax returns, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today encouraged low-income Illinoisans to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and free tax counseling provided by the Department of Human Services.
 
“Since this is the first year the state EITC is refundable, families who qualify will see an immediate benefit this year,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “The EITC, the major federal benefit for low and moderate-income families, can be worth as much as $4,204 to a family with two or more children, in addition, the state EITC can provide up to $210.”
                                             
The state EITC refunds are paid for by federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars.  Families with children under age 18 qualify for the refundable state credit.  For all others who qualify for the federal EITC, the state credit will reduce the state income tax they owe.  Together, these benefits put money back into the pockets of Illinois’ working families. The EITC does not affect eligibility for DHS benefits.
 
“The Earned Income Tax Credit is the best pro-job, pro-family and anti-poverty tax credit devised,” said Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn.  “It not only rewards work, but it also helps sustain everyday, hardworking citizens – especially those raising children – through a refund that is already entitled to them.”
 
“DHS is again conducting an extensive outreach campaign so that as many Illinois workers as possible are made aware of and apply for the EITC,” said DHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. “For many households, these benefits are critical to rising out of poverty and making the transition from dependency to lasting self-sufficiency.”
 
DHS also provides $400,000 to fund the Tax Assistance Program and Tax Counseling Project,  programs made available by the Center for Economic Progress. These programs offer free tax assistance and promote the EITC to low-income workers. The services are provided free of charge to families with incomes less than $35,000 and to individuals with incomes less than $15,000.  Illinois is the only state in the country whose human services agency provides funding for free tax preparation.
Add 1/EITC
 
Low-income working families often do not have access to affordable, professional tax preparation. Many taxpayers are also persuaded to apply for “rapid refund” loans with high interest rates and fees that can greatly reduce their actual benefits.
 
Last year, nearly 26,000 Illinoisans received free income tax preparation assistance, worth $34 million in refunds. That’s an increase of 30 percent from the previous year’s total.  Free tax assistance saved tax-payers nearly $5 million in tax preparation fees.
 
The Tax Counseling Project trains volunteers to provide free tax services to families and individuals at 13 locations in Chicago and 15 other sites throughout Illinois. The Tax Assistance Program (TAP) recruits tax professionals to volunteer to assist low-income families.  There are 20 TAP locations in Chicago and the suburbs. TAP Volunteers prepare federal and state returns for the current year and past years, if necessary.  Volunteers also provide counseling and advise workers about withholding allowances, filing status, and other tax benefits (such as the Child Credit and the Child Care Credit) for which they may qualify. Last year, more than 900 volunteers, including 34 DHS employees, prepared federal and state returns free-of-charge for qualifying persons.
 
For more information on the Tax Counseling Project, contact the Center for Economic Progress in Chicago at 312-409-6511 or toll free at (888) -827-8511. For information on the Tax Assistance Program call 312-409-1555. Electronic filing is available at many locations. Information is also available on the DHS website in English and Spanish at
http://www.dhs.state.il.us/projectsInitiatives/EITC.
 
A complete listing of the tax help sites and their hours of operation are as follows:
 
Tax Counseling Project
 

Chicago Sites:
Auburn Gresham                     
7909 South Racine                         
Mon./Wed. 5:30pm - 8:00pm
Saturday 10:00am - 1:00pm                                                                               
 
Austin
Westside Learning Center 
Malcolm X College
4624 West Madison
Tues./Thurs. 5:30 - 8:00pm
Saturday 10:00am - 1:00pm           
 
Back of the Yards
Immaculate Heart of Mary Hall
4521 S. Ashland                                   
Tues./Wed./Thurs. 5:30pm - 8:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am - 1:00pm
 
Bronzeville
ShoreBank Bronzeville      
3401 S. King Drive
 
Mon./Tues./Thurs., 5:30pm-8:00pm           
Saturdays 10:00am-1:00pm
 
Chatham
ShoreBank Chatham                     
7936 S. Cottage Grove            
Mon./Tues./Thurs., 5:30pm-8pm    
Saturdays 10:00am-1:00pm
 
Chinatown
Charter One Bank
Chinatown Square
Saturdays 10:00am - 1:00pm
 
 
 
Humboldt Park
Association House                         
1116 N. Kedzie                        
Mon/Tues./Wed., 5:30pm-8:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am-1:00pm                                   
 
Lawndale
Homan Square Community Center
3517 W. Arthington                   
Mon./Tues./Thurs. 5:30pm-8:00pm
Saturday 10am-1pm      
 
 
Logan Square
Armitage Baptist Church
2505 N. Kedzie
Saturdays 10 am to 1:00 pm            
 
Loop
Employment and Employer Services
200 W. Adams
Mon - Thurs. 10 am - 1:00 pm
Mon. - Thurs. 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Saturdays 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
 
Rogers Park
United Church of Rogers Park
Corner of Morse and Ashland
Wed. 5:30pm-8:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am-2:00pm
 
Pilsen                                      
Instituto del Progreso Latino
2570 S. Blue Island Avenue
Weds/Thurs 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Saturdays 10am - 1:00 pm
 
Uptown
Truman College
1145 w. Wilson
Mon -Thurs 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Saturdays 10am - 1:00 pm
 
Suburban Sites:
Harvey
Harvey Public Library
15441 Turlington Avenue
Tues. & Thurs., 5:30pm-8pm
Saturdays 10:00am-1:00pm
Joliet
Joliet Public Library
150 N. Ottawa Street
Wed. & Thurs., 5:30pm-8pm
Saturdays 10:00am-2:00pm
 
Elgin
EFS Bank
28 N. Grove Avenue
Mon./Wed. 5:30pm-8pm
Saturdays 10:00am-1:00pm
 
Waukegan
Waukegan Public Library
128 N. County
Tues. & Wed., 5:30pm-8:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am-1:00pm
 
Rockford
Northwest Community Center
1325 N. Johnston Avenue
Mon./Wed. 5:30pm-8:00pm
Saturday 10:00am-1:00pm
 
Downstate Sites
 
Alton
Illinois Employment Training Center
90 North Port Drive
Tues./Thurs. 5:30pm-8:00 pm
Sat. 10:00am-2:00pm
 
Bloomington
Western Avenue Community Center
600 N. Western Avenue
Tues. 6:00pm-8:00pm
 
Champaign
Urban League of Champaign County
314 S. Neil
Tues.& Thurs. 5:30pm-8:00pm
Saturdays 9:00am-3:00pm
 
Decatur
Dove, Inc.
788 E. Clay St
Mon. & Tues. 5:30pm-8:00pm
Saturdays 9:00am-2:00pm
 
East St. Louis
Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House
1045 E. State St.
Tues. & Thurs. 5:30-8:00 pm
Saturdays 10:00am-1:00pm
 
 
Normal
Normal Senior Center
1 Normal Plaza
Thurs. 1:00-3:00pm
 
Peoria
Carver Community Center
710 W. 3rd Ave.                
Wed./Thurs. 5:30pm-8:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am-1:00pm
                                               
Marion                                                      
Man-Tra-Con Corp.
130l Enterprise Way
Mon. & Wed. – 5:30pm-8:00pm
Saturdays 10:00am-1:00pm
 
Moline
Illinois Employment Training Center
4703 16th Street
Saturdays 10 am - 1:00 pm
 
Springfield
Springfield Learning Center
700 S. Livingston
Wed. 5:30pm-8:00pm
Saturdays 9:00am-2:00pm
 
 
Tax Assistance Program
 
Chicago 
(TAP programs open Saturday 8:30 to 11:30 am. through April 10)
 
City Hall
121 N. LaSalle Ave.
 
McCormick Boys and Girls Club
4835 N. Sheridan Road
(Lawrence and Sheridan)
 
Roberto Clemente High School
1147 N. Western
(Division and Western)
 
WIC Food Center
2400 South Kedzie 
 
WIC Food Center
4622 W. Diversy
(Cicero and Diversy)
 
Westside Technical Institute
2800 S. Western Ave.
 
Benito Juarez High School
2150 S. Laflin
 
Piotrowski Park
4247 W. 31st Street
(31st and Pulaski)
 
Holy Angels Church
545 E. Oakwood Avenue
 
Chicago Vocational School
2100 E. 87th Street
 
Kennedy-King College
6800 S. Wentworth
 
Olive-Harvey College
10001 S. Woodlawn Ave.  
 
San Miguel School
1949 W. 48th Street
 
St. Anselm Catholic Church
6045 S. Michigan Ave.
 
Paul Revere School
Saturday only 8:30am - 11:30am Feb. 7
1010 E. 72nd  Street
 
Roberto Clemente Community Academy
1147 N. Western Avenue 
Mondays in February 5:30pm  - 8:30pm
 
Suburban Sites:
 
Aurora
Cowherd Middle School
441 North Farnsworth
 
North Chicago
North Chicago Community High School
1717 17th Street
 Villa Park
Illinois Department of Human Services
146 West Roosevelt Road
 
Cicero
Public Safety Office Building
5410 West 34th Street (at Laramie)


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