Deadline to File Income Taxes Approaching

Time is running out to file your state and federal income tax returns. The filing deadline for Illinois taxpayers is Monday, April 15. Taxpayers can ask for a six-month extension, but if you believe you will owe money, that figure must be estimated and paid along with the extension form by the April 15 deadline to avoid penalties. 

While millions of taxpayers use a fee-based service to assist with filing their state and federal tax returns, there are an estimated 100 million people who are eligible to utilize several services to file their returns for free. These services can have income and age restrictions; and include VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Preparation), which is provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

Other ways to file taxes for free include, utilizing the IRS free file portal, and accessing the MilitaryOneSource portal for service members.  

Consumers should educate themselves and be savvy when selecting a paid tax preparer. These tax professionals include Certified Public Accountants, enrolled agents, and attorneys. The IRS offers tips for choosing the right tax preparation services to help avoid unethical or unqualified preparers who could harm you financially or with scams. 

There are five filing statuses for income taxes, including single, head of household, married filing jointly, married filing separate, and qualifying surviving spouse. People who do not reach a certain income threshold do not have to file a tax return, but in some cases, they would be encouraged to because they may still receive money back. Individuals who are self-employed must file a tax return if they had net earnings of $400 or more. Find more information on if you need to file a return here. Tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit or New Clean Vehicle credit, can provide thousands of dollars in return payments to taxpayers. 

Taxes can be filed the old-fashioned way through snail mail, but most returns are filed electronically. For those expecting a refund, there is a standard turnaround time of 21 days for federal returns, though that time can be shorter or longer depending on many factors. Those who file electronically and have the funds directly deposited into a bank account will see their return the fastest, while paper returns will take longer to process. Federal tax return status information can be accessed on the IRS2Go app or at Illinois state income tax return status information can be accessed at  The average refund check in 2023 was just under $3,200. Tax filing is open. 

Business owners and individuals who accept credit card payments for selling goods and services must file form 1099-K. Profit from these transactions can be taxed, but money received as a gift or for repayment of shared expenses is not taxable. 

As a quick resource, the AARP website at provides a list of “10 Things You Need to Know Before Filing Your Tax Return,” an especially helpful tool for seniors and to also avoid fraud. These helpful tips can help with deductions, special tax forms for seniors, and more free tax preparation services.