Tax Credits & Filing Options
You could get thousands of dollars back, even if you don’t need to file a tax return.
Hundreds or even thousands of dollars are available in tax credits, especially for low-income individuals and families. Even if you are not required to file a tax return, you could receive a tax refund when you file taxes. For example, you may get money back by filing if you:
- Had income tax withheld from your pay, pension, social security or other income
- Care for your dependent children - you may be eligible for the Child Tax Credit
- Work but earn less than $57,000 - you may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit
- Were eligible for but didn’t receive the first and/or second stimulus check - you may be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit
- See the full list of those who can file to receive additional funds even if they don’t have to file
Filing your taxes right away could put you in line for a higher payment this year!
Click below to learn more about:
- The Child Tax Credit
- The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Stimulus checks/Recovery Rebate Credit
- Who is not required to files taxes
- How to file your taxes
Missed a past refund? You have 3 years to claim your refund! If you were owed a refund on your 2019 or 2018 tax return, it’s not too late to claim it! Learn more below.
I need to file a return - what are my low-cost options?
File Online for Free
You may be eligible to file your taxes online for free using GetYourRefund.org if you earned up to $66,000 in 2020 and don’t have income from rental property or from owning a farm.
You may also be eligible to use United Way’s MyFreeTaxes website.
- Isn’t required to file a return
- Hasn’t already filed a 2020 tax return
- Isn’t eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit
- Needs to let the IRS know they are eligible for:
- Advance payments of the Child Tax Credit and/or
- The Recovery Rebate Credit (because they did not receive as much stimulus money in 2020 as they were eligible for)
If you earn less than $72,000 a year, you are eligible to use online tax software at no cost through Free File on the IRS website. Be aware that while you can file a federal return for free, you may have to pay a fee for filing a state return with some of the software brands available through IRS Free File - be sure to read all the details.
For Illinois residents, there are two software brands that offer free federal and state filing:
- TurboTax: Available for those who earned up to $39,000 in 2020; step-by-step guides on how to use TurboTax for certain situations are below
- OnLine Taxes: Available for those who earned between $16,000 and $72,000 in 2020
If you want step-by-step guidance on how to use the IRS Free File version of TurboTax to file your 2020 return online for free, we have prepared videos and written guides:
For someone who received only Social Security benefits in 2020:
For someone who had only W-2 income in 2020:
You may be able to receive more money with your Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) this year! Due a new “look-back” provision in the last relief bill, you may receive a higher EITC and Child Tax Credit if you earned less in 2020 than in 2019. You can use your 2019 earnings to calculate those credits if that would give you higher credits than using your 2020 earnings. Be sure to have your 2019 tax return available when you prepare your 2020 tax return.
Get free individualized tax help
If you earn less than $66,000 and don’t own rental property or a farm, you may be eligible for free tax help through Code for America’s Get Your Refund program: www.GetYourRefund.org. The website allows you to check EITC and CTC eligibility, as well as get connected to free online filing or a volunteer tax preparer for additional help. If you haven’t filed taxes any time in the last three years, the team can also help you claim past tax refunds.
You may also be eligible to have your taxes prepared for free by nonprofit organizations participating in the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. To find your nearest VITA site, visit https://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep.