CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today encouraged working families across Illinois to apply for Illinois’ Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The Governor fought for and signed legislation in 2012 that doubled the value of Illinois’ EITC. In 2013 the credit helped more than 900,000 families receive $160 million in tax relief. The announcement is part of the Governor’s agenda to drive economic growth and support working families across Illinois.
“While many families received this important tax relief last year, we know there are many more out there who did not apply,” Governor Quinn said. “The EITC is one of the best ways to fight poverty, and that’s why I fought to double it and provide more tax relief to working families. Now that it’s available, it’s important for all those who are eligible to apply at their nearest tax assistance location.”
The EITC is uniquely pro-growth and pro-family. Available only to workers who are earning income, this tax credit provides incentive to work as well as much-needed tax relief to families who are earning lower incomes. The EITC also generates local economic growth by increasing consumer spending. 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 and can help businesses avoid layoffs, hire employees and pave the way for future growth.
A single mother with one child earning minimum wage ($12,800 a year) will save $205 on her 2013 state income taxes. A married couple with three children earning $30,000 a year will save $265 on their 2013 state income taxes. A married couple with three children and earning just over $50,000 could be eligible for up to $5,891 in state and federal tax relief. For more information about how much money taxpayers could save, visit EITC.Illinois.gov.
The Governor today urged working families to learn about how they can apply for tax relief and utilize the no-cost tax preparation services available to eligible residents. Today’s announcement took place at Harold Washington College, which serves as a tax assistance center organized by the Center for Economic Progress (CEP). See below for a list of locations across the state that offer free tax assistance to eligible individuals.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) will officially begin accepting tax returns on Jan. 31; however, Illinois’ tax assistance centers will be open before that date in order to best help residents file their taxes electronically, take advantage of income tax counseling and the EITC.
How to Benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
To benefit from Illinois’ EITC, also known as the Earned Income Credit (EIC), taxpayers must include it on their tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that 1 in 5 taxpayers eligible for the EITC fail to claim it.
To help working families achieve the maximum savings on their taxes, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) partners with two non-profit agencies, Center for Economic Tax Counseling Project and Ladder Up, 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 25,000 Illinois taxpayers filed returns through the program in the 2013 tax season, with more than $45 million in state and federal tax refunds returned to clients.
DHS also funds the Tax Assistance Program (TAP) which has nearly 20 locations in Chicago and the suburbs. TAP recruits tax professionals to volunteer to assist low-income families. 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 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 DHS website at dhs.state.il.us and the Department of Revenue website at revenue.state.il.us.
Information about filing federal taxes online can be found at http://www.irs.gov/.
Tax Assistance Locations (PDF)