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State announces start to 2024 income tax filing season

The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) announced on Thursday, Jan. 25, that it will begin accepting and processing 2023 tax returns on Monday, Jan. 29, the same date the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) begins accepting federal income tax returns.

“We encourage taxpayers to file electronically as early as possible as this will speed processing. If they are due money back, they should choose direct deposit as that ensures the fastest issuance of refunds,” IDOR Director David Harris said. MyTax Illinoisour free online program, allows taxpayers to file returns with or without an account, operates with a simple question and answer format, and works to reduce errors by using automated calculations and prepopulated information. Individuals may also choose to file using tax-prep software, a tax professional, or the paper Form IL-1040.”

In addition, individuals may also use the site to make payments, respond to department inquiries and check the status of their refunds using Where’s My Refund? Taxpayers may also look up their Illinois Personal Identification Number (IL-PIN), amounts of any estimated tax payments made and amounts reported on Form 1099-G with MyTax Illinois.

If a taxpayer electronically files an error-free return, they should receive a direct deposit refund in about four weeks.

In 2023, IDOR received a total of nearly 6.2 million IL-1040 returns. Of those returns received, close to 5.6 million were filed electronically, or 90.3%. The tax filing deadline is Monday, April 15.

Tax credits

Depending on circumstances, taxpayers may be able to reduce the amount of taxes owed through tax credits,” Harris said. “Some popular tax credits include the Illinois K-12 Education Expense Credit, and the Property Tax Credit, and the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).”

The Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was increased this year to 20% of the Federal EITC and expanded to include taxpayers 18 years of age or older (with or without qualifying child), those 65 years of age or older (without qualifying child), and those with an IRS-issued Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

The Volunteer Emergency Worker Credit (EIC) is a new tax credit this year that is awarded to volunteer fire service emergency workers that apply, qualify, and are awarded the credit. It can be used to reduce the Illinois individual income tax owed by up to $500. Credits are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Fighting tax fraud

IDOR works closely with the IRS and other states’ revenue departments to combat tax fraud.

“By verifying information on tax returns before issuing refunds, IDOR prevented over $104 million in fraudulent or erroneous refunds from being issued last year,” Harris said.

Taxpayers are encouraged to also help prevent fraud by protecting their personal information and staying alert to phone scams or phishing emails.

Assistance for taxpayers

IDOR’s taxpayer assistance numbers are available for tax-related inquiries and include automated menus allowing taxpayers to check the status of a refund, identify an IL-PIN, or receive estimated payment information without having to wait for an agent. 

To receive assistance taxpayers may call 1-800-732-8866 or 217-782-3336. Free language assistance for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) individuals is available. For the most up-to-date information, forms, schedules, and instructions for the 2024 tax season, please visit IDOR’s website at tax.illinois.gov.

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