(The Center Square
) – Senior citizens, people with disabilities and low-to-moderate income families can get free income tax preparation and filing assistance for their 2019 state and federal tax returns.
The Illinois Department of Revenue and the American Association of Retired Persons have partnered to set up a network of volunteers who can help.
The program is open to people making $56,000 a year or less and people 60 years of age and older. People with disabilities and taxpayers who speak limited English are also eligible for help.
Sam Salustro, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Revenue, said assistance will be offered at 300 locations across Illinois. Certified volunteers will help people file their state and federal returns in time for this year’s deadline.
One goal is to build trust in the tax system, Salustro said.
To find a location, go to the Department of Revenue website
. Salustro encouraged people to call to make an appointment so that everyone can be accommodated and that no one has a long wait.
The AARP Foundation created its Tax-Aid program when the AARP determined how much of a need there is for tax preparation help. AARP serves people 50 years of age and older. AARP membership is not necessary to sign up for tax preparation assistance.
Filing taxes can be overwhelming and confusing, Salustro said. He said he hopes people will tell their friends about the program so that anyone who wants help can get help. He said he wants taxpayers to be assured that if they are owed a refund, they will get it, he said.
Salustro said Illinois has a number of programs that people of any age can use to file their taxes electronically and at no charge. The Department of Revenue program is My Tax Illinois
. Filing electronically will help speed up the refund process, he said.
The Center Square -- formerly known as Watchdog.org and the Illinois News Network -- and their reporters represent 18 states across the United States as the taxpayers' watchdog, exposing the way government really works.