Free Tax Preparation Help in Chicago

These organizations can help you meet Uncle Sam this 2020.

Each year the Center for Economic Progress helps more than 20,000 people in Chicago and the surrounding area with their tax returns.

To be eligible, families must earn less than $50,000 a year or $25,000 if they are single. There are 15 centers in the city and suburbs where this service is provided.

Ladder-Up will also offer free tax preparation assistance starting February 2.

The city of Chicago also offers free and confidential tax preparation assistance. To make an appointment at one of the locations you can call (312) 588-6900. For more information click here.

To expedite your paperwork, be sure to bring these documents with you:

  • All tax documents received, including W-2 and 1099 forms.
  • Social Security card or taxpayer’s personal identification number or ITIN letter for the people who will appear on your tax return.
  • Valid photo identification.
  • Checking and savings account numbers and the bank routing number. Related medical coverage information (Forms 1095-A, 1095-B, 1095-C, Medical Card) or certificate of medical exemption).
  • A copy of the bill for the property income you paid in 2019, if applicable. Documentation of school-related expenses.
  • A copy of your 2019 tax return.

Remember that the deadline for filing your tax return is Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

Tips to avoid surprises when filing your taxes

Free online preparation

This year the IRS is working with 10 tax preparation companies that do not charge taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $69,000, down from 2019.

Those interested can visit IRS.gov/FreeFile to connect online with those businesses, or with a free volunteer program for people who earn $55,000 or less, want to prepare their own tax returns, have disabilities, or have English as a second language.

Tax Withholding Estimator

The IRS says it has designed a new and improved Tax Withholding Estimator to help workers focus on the refund they want by having the right amount of federal tax deducted from their pay.

This tool incorporates changes from the new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, which employees can complete and submit to their employers, if they need to adjust their withholding.

New Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate

The new design reduces the complexity of the form and increases the transparency and accuracy of the retention system. Complicated worksheets have been replaced with simpler questions.

Employees who filed Form W-4 in any year prior to 2020 are not required to submit another form simply because of the redesign. Employers will continue to calculate withholding based on the most recently filed W-4.

Delayed refunds in some cases

The IRS issues 9 out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, but for those claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit the process takes a little longer.

The agency reports that it has a responsibility to review these returns thoroughly to prevent refund theft. The advice for credit claimants is to be patient.

Direct Deposit to Checking or Savings Accounts

For the IRS, direct deposit of your tax refund is simple and secure, and the fastest way to get your money.

Eight out of ten taxpayers get their refunds through the same electronic transfer system other federal agencies use to deposit nearly 98% of all Social Security and Veterans Affairs benefits into millions of accounts.