R Tax021423SCandKP0584ROCK ISLAND – State Senator Mike Halpin introduced a measure to provide free Illinois income tax preparation services to taxpayers whose federal adjusted gross income is 200% or less of the federal poverty level, for taxable years beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

"Tax season can be a challenging time for many Illinoisans, and this legislation is designed to help make it easier for them," said Halpin (D-Rock Island). "By providing free tax preparation services, we can help ensure that taxpayers receive the refunds they are entitled to and don’t get pressured into paying extra fees to do so."

Senate Bill 1396 would require the Department of Revenue to file taxes on behalf of taxpayers with a federal adjusted gross income from the previous taxable year of 200% or less of the federal poverty level, if the taxpayer elects to do so. The bill also requires that Illinois income tax forms include a space where taxpayers may elect for DOR to file their taxes on their behalf for the following tax year.

Under current law, Illinois requires residents who receive income in the state to file an Illinois income tax return. While taxpayers may use a private company’s online tool to assist in filing, they still must enter the information located on their W-2 and other tax forms. Many of these online tools charge taxpayers to use their filing service, leaving people not knowing they might have an option to file for free.

“Filing your taxes can be complex to do by yourself and large corporations do everything they can to convince us they’re the only way to file,” said Halpin. “I am sick and tired of big corporations taking advantage of the working class every chance they get, especially when it comes to a process we are required to do by law.”

200% of the federal poverty level for a family of four would be $53,000. Halpin’s measure would give around 27% of Illinois residents the opportunity to file their taxes for free.

Senate Bill 1396 was assigned to the Senate Revenue Committee and awaits further action.