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Free income tax preparation programs can help low-income or elderly residents

Low-to-moderate income families and senior citizens needing assistance filing their 2021 income taxes can receive free help through several programs across the state.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program and Ladder Up Tax Assistance Program are providing free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in select locations statewide.

“With the tax filing deadline date of April 18 just around the corner, it is important for Illinois taxpayers to know that filing assistance is available,” said Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) Director David Harris. “Volunteers at these locations are certified by the IRS and ready to assist qualified individuals in filing their state and federal tax returns accurately and on time.”

How taxpayer assistance is provided and when services are available varies by region, based upon several variables including COVID-19 conditions and volunteer capacity.

“Tax filing season can be stressful, but fortunately there are free resources available to help older adults navigate the process, get their full refunds, and protect their personal information,” said Paula Basta, Director of the Illinois Department on Aging. “I encourage older taxpayers to take advantage of these services as soon as possible and encourage everyone to spread the word to aging loved ones who may prefer some guidance when it comes to filing their taxes.”

The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free tax help for individuals making $58,000 a year or less, people 60 years of age or older, individuals with disabilities and taxpayers with limited English-speaking skills.

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program provides free tax assistance, with a special focus on taxpayers over the age of 50 or who have low-to-moderate income. Availability is determined at the local or community level. AARP membership is not required to receive assistance.

In Chicagoland, the Ladder Up Tax Assistance Program (TAP) provides free basic tax return preparation for families earning up to $58,000 and individuals earning up to $32,000 per year.

Taxpayers can search for a free tax assistance provider closest to them by visiting IDOR’s website tax.illinois.gov. Individuals with questions should contact IDOR’s Taxpayer Assistance Division at 800-732-8866.

Taxpayers may also visit any of IDOR’s offices located in Chicago, Des Plaines, Fairview Heights, Marion, Rockford, and Springfield to receive assistance. Staff at these locations can help with any Illinois state income tax filing inquiries and are available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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