|Filing a Tax Return||
Last updated: January 2014
If you have income that is greater than a certain amount, you have to file a Federal and State income tax return. The amount changes each year – to find out what the minimum is you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. They can tell you, based on your annual income, whether or not you are required to file a tax return. You can also find this out by seeing IRS Publication 17. If you are required to file a return but do not, you can be fined or even jailed.
Even if you are not required to file a return, there are circumstances where you should file one anyway. Many people should file a return even if they’re not required to. If you fit in any of these categories, you should file a Federal and Illinois tax return:
If you fit in any of these categories, you should file a return because you may be entitled to a refund.
Most people’s income tax returns must be filed (mailed or submitted electronically) by April 15 of the year following the year of the return. So, for example, your 2014 tax returns are due April 15, 2015. There are two exceptions to this rule:
There are may sources of free help for preparing your tax return. The IRS sponsors the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. They will help you prepare your return if you qualify for their free help. Call 1-800-906-9887 to find the nearest VITA program location. If you are over 60 years of age, the AARP offers help through their Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program. Call 1-888-227-7669 to locate the nearest TCE program.
In addition to free programs, there are many tax preparation companies who will prepare your return for a fee. They make sense if you do not qualify for free help. For more information, see Getting Free Tax Help.
Regardless of whether you get free help or paid help with your return, your tax preparer will need certain information from you. When you meet with your tax preparer, bring the following with you:
For a list of organizations in your area that may be able to help you, enter your zip code.
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