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Tax Counseling Project and the Illinois Department of Human Services remind low-income taxpayers: Less than two weeks left to file!

[APRIL 5, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- Free, confidential tax preparation service is available at 10 downstate sites and 18 sites in the Chicago area through April 15 for low- and moderate-income working families. The Tax Counseling Project, which helps such families claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and other tax credits and benefits, is offering the assistance in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The free tax service is available for families with household incomes of less than $35,000 and individuals with incomes of less than $15,000. Tax Counseling Project volunteers prepare federal and state income tax returns and counsel clients to make sure they claim tax benefits they are eligible for, including the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"We want to remind people that they have only two weeks until the filing deadline and we encourage them to come in to one of our sites as soon as possible," said David Marzahl, executive director of the Center for Economic Progress, the organization that runs the Tax Counseling Project. "For last-minute filers, many of our tax preparation centers will be open on April 13, 14 and 15 so that no one misses out on claiming their state or federal income tax refund."

In light of a recent IRS announcement that 79,800 taxpayers in Illinois are owed $126 million in refunds from the 2000 tax year, Marzahl urges people who have not filed a return in the last three years to come in to one of the free tax preparation sites and file for this year as well as prior years. If these taxpayers do not file by April 15, they will lose their chance to claim any potential refunds from 2000, according to IRS regulations.

For the 2003 tax year to date, 533,000 returns have been filed for Illinois people claiming the state Earned Income Tax Credit, returning $63.5 million in state tax refunds. Of those returns, 426,000 represent a refundable portion of the EITC, which translates into $10.6 million in state tax refunds.

"We are committed to ensuring that families who qualify for the EITC receive their refund," said Illinois Department of Human Services Secretary Carol L. Adams. "With only two weeks left before the filing deadline, we want to make sure that individuals and families who qualify are aware of the free tax preparation services that can help them get the full credit they are entitled to."

Taxpayers who are seeking free tax preparation assistance can find out about the Tax Counseling Project's 28 locations in Illinois by calling (312) 409-6511 in Chicago, (888) 827-8511 outside Chicago or by visiting www.centerforprogress.org. Downstate sites are listed at right.

The Center for Economic Progress and its flagship program, the Tax Counseling Project, are headquartered in Chicago, with an additional office in Springfield. The center's programs, including the project's free tax counseling services, receive grants and in-kind support from Illinois Department of Human Services, the city of Chicago, the IRS, other governmental agencies, foundations, corporations and individuals.

 

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Downstate tax assistance sites

Alton

Illinois Employment Training Center

90 N. Port Drive

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30-8 p.m.

Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Bloomington

Bloomington Housing Authority

104 E. Wood St.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30-8 p.m.

Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Champaign

Urban League of Champaign County

314 S. Neil St.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30-8 p.m.

Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Decatur

Dove, Inc.

788 E. Clay St.

Mondays and Tuesdays, 5:30-8 p.m.

Saturdays, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

East St. Louis

Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House

1045 E. State St.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30-8 p.m.

Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Marion

Man-Tra-Con Corp.

1301 Enterprise Way

Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30-8 p.m.

Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Moline

Illinois Employment Training Center

4703 16th St.

Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Normal

Normal Senior Center

1 Normal Plaza

Thursdays, 1-3 p.m.

Peoria

Carver Community Center

710 W. Third Ave.

Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5:30-8 p.m.

Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Springfield

Springfield Learning Center

700 S. Livingston St.

Wednesdays, 5:30-8 p.m.

Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

[News release from the Center for Economic Progress
and the
Illinois Department of Human Services]

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