The Caucus Blog: Tax Filing Season Begins Today

Federal and Illinois Tax Season Starts January 29

The Illinois Department of Revenue will begin accepting 2023 state individual income tax returns on Monday, January 29. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also begins accepting federal income tax returns on this date. For the most up-to-date information, forms, schedules, and instructions for the 2023 tax season, visit the IDOR’s website

There are several ways to file a state tax return. MyTax Illinois is the IDOR’s free online account management program, and it has been enhanced to allow taxpayers to file returns with or without an account. The site can also be used to make payments, respond to department inquiries, and check the status of refunds using the Where’s My Refund’ link

Taxpayers are encouraged to file electronically as early as possible and choose direct deposit to ensure the fastest processing and issuance of any refunds. Those that file an error-free return should expect their Illinois state tax return in approximately four weeks. The state does grant an automatic six-month extension to file a IL-1040 form every year, but taxpayers must still pay any money owed on their returns by April 15, 2024, to avoid penalties and interest. 

The IRS expects more than 128 million individual tax returns to be filed by the April 15, 2024, tax deadline. This announcement comes as the agency undergoes a massive overhaul, attempting to improve its technology and customer service processes with tens of billions of dollars allocated to the agency through the Inflation Reduction Act.

Taxpayers can file their federal returns for free utilizing the Free Filewebsite. Beginning on January 29, Free File Fillable forms are available at no cost to any income level and electronic forms are provided that taxpayers can fill out and e-file on their own.

There are a number of factors that can affect the timing of receiving a refund after a return is filed. Most IRS refunds are issued in less than 21 days, but some returns do require additional review and can take longer. The best way to check a refund’s status is by checking the ‘Where’s My Refund’ or by utilizing the IRS2Go app. 

The IRS has implemented some changes for the 2024 tax filing year, and they include: expanded in-person service through the opening/reopening of Taxpayer Assistance Centers; an expanded customer call back feature to cut long phone wait times; improvements in the ‘Where’s My Refund?’ tool; enhanced paperless processing; enhanced IRS online accounts that include chat help and the ability to store bank accounts for payments; and a Direct File pilot program that allows certain taxpayers the option of filing their returns directly with the IRS for free. The phased rollout for this pilot program is expected to be available in mid-March.