Illinois State Tax Help

What is the Bright Start College Savings Program?

The Bright Start College Savings Program is a tax-advantaged Section 529 Plan that helps parents, grandparents, relatives, and friends nationwide save for a loved one's college education. For complete details and investment options, go to the Bright Start Savings website.

What is the Bright Directions College Savings Program?

The Bright Directions College Savings Program is part of the Illinois College Savings Pool and is a qualified tuition program under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. The Bright Directions College Savings Program is sponsored by the State of Illinois and administered by the Illinois State Treasurer as Trustee. For complete details and investment options, go to the Bright Directions website.

What is the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program?

College Illinois! is a 529 program that allows parents and grandparents to pay for tuition today, which stops tuition inflation. Prepaid tuition benefits can be used at nearly any college or university across the country. For complete details, go to the College Illinois! Prepaid Tuition Program website.

What is an Illinois PIN?

An Illinois PIN is a number assigned to you by the Illinois Department of Revenue that is used as a signature for e-filing your Illinois tax return.

If you filed Form IL-1040 last year and don't remember your Illinois PIN, you can look it up on the IL-PIN Inquiry Site or call 1-800-732-8866.

If you don't have an IL-PIN you can still e-file your return using your Illinois driver's license or state ID information, your nine-digit zip code from last year's return, or your Illinois adjusted gross income from last year's return.

What military pay may I subtract from my income?

You may subtract pay for the following:

  • Duty in the armed forces, including basic training
  • Duty for serving in the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves or a National Guard unit, including a National Guard unit of another state
  • Duty as a cadet in the U.S. Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard academies, as a midshipman in the U.S. Naval Academy, or in ROTC

What military pay can't be subtracted from income?

You can't subtract military income (certain combat pay) that you excluded from your federal adjusted gross income. So, if your military pay wasn't taxed by the IRS, there's nothing to subtract on your Illinois return.

You may NOT subtract the following:

  • Pay you received under the Voluntary Separation Incentive
  • Pay you received from the military as a civilian
  • Payments you made under the Ready Reserve Mobilization Income Insurance Program
  • Pay for duty as an officer in the Public Health Service

What are qualified lab fees?

Lab fees cover the use of supplies, equipment, materials, or instruments that were required as part of a lab course in a school's education program.

For example, if you rented a musical instrument from the school (not from a business) for a class or for participation in an extracurricular activity that resulted in a credit toward completion of the school's education program, this rental expense qualifies as a lab fee.

What education expenses don't qualify for this credit?

Education expenses that don't qualify for this credit include:
  • Expenses paid to a daycare, preschool, kindergarten at a school that does not also have a first grade, college, university, independent tutoring service, or trade school.
  • Expenses paid for the purchase of supplies, books, or equipment that are not significantly used up during the school year (e.g., purchasing musical instruments or costumes for a play).
  • Expenses paid for the use of supplies, equipment, materials, or instruments if the program does not result in a credit towards completion of the school's education program.
  • Expenses paid directly to a business (e.g., renting a musical instrument from a music store).
  • Expenses for after-school care, even if paid to the school.
  • Expenses paid for yourself or your spouse.

What if I have filed an Illinois return before, but I haven't filed one in the past few years?

If you haven't filed an Illinois tax return in the past three years then you won't have an Illinois PIN, 2012 Illinois adjusted gross income (AGI), or nine-digit zip code on file with the Illinois Department of Revenue. You can still e-file and electronically "sign" your return by entering your Illinois driver's license or Illinois state ID card information.

What is prorating? Are the seller's property taxes being prorated?

Yes, property taxes allocated to the seller on a closing statement are prorated.

Prorating means calculating the part of your property tax that is attributable to the number of days you both owned and occupied your home during 2013. Enter the entire amount of property taxes allocated to the seller, and we'll automatically prorate the amount based on the dates you enter.

Example: You sold your home on July 1, 2013 and were allocated $1,000 of the total $2,000 property tax bill for the year. If you lived in your home from January 1, 2013 to July 1, 2013, then the full $1,000 allocated to you would be eligible for the Homestead Credit. However, if you moved out of your home on March 31, 2013, then you only occupied your home for 3 months out of the 6 months that you owned the home in 2013, so only $500 of the property taxes will be eligible for the Homestead Credit.

What are estimated tax payments?

Estimated tax payments are made to Illinois separately from any W-2 or 1099 withholdings. If you made any estimated Illinois tax payments, you need to:
  • Enter any estimated tax payments you made for 2013 on Form IL-1040-ES.
  • Enter any overpayment applied from Line 38 of your 2012 Form IL-1040.
  • Enter any amount prepaid with an extension request.
Do NOT enter any amount of your 2013 Illinois income tax withheld by your employer(s) as shown on any wage or tax (W-2 or 1099) statements. DO NOT enter any income tax refund from a prior year return.

What is the Wildlife Preservation Fund?

Help ensure the survival of native plants and animals with your contribution. Conservation of wildlife and their habitats is an ever-growing challenge. Your donation will pay for "on-the-ground" projects to restore habitat, conduct needed research on rare and endangered species, rehabilitate injured wildlife, and educate Illinoisans about the value of our native wildlife.

What is the Child Abuse Prevention Fund?

Help ensure safe, loving homes and brighter futures for children in your community. Across Illinois, one in five children is abused or neglected before age 18, but local programs supported by your contributions are proven to stop abuse and neglect.

What is the Alzheimer's Research Fund?

An estimated 210,000 Illinois residents suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Grants from this fund will help support important research to find a cure and treatment for this progressive and fatal brain disorder that is the fifth leading cause of death in Illinois for people 65 and older.

What is the Assistance to the Homeless Fund?

Your contribution supports local agencies that provide shelter, meals, and services needed by homeless families and individuals. The assistance given by the local not-for-profit organizations enables homeless people to regain residence in the community and maintain their independence.

What is the Penny Severns Breast, Cervical, and Ovarian Cancer Research Fund?

Breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers account for more than one-third of all cancers diagnosed in Illinois. Your contribution will help support research to find ways to prevent these cancers, as well as improve early detection and treatment.

What is the Military Family Relief Fund?

Thousands of members of the Illinois National Guard and Reserves have been called to active duty since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Your contribution will help guard members, reservists, and members of their families pay expenses that become difficult to afford when a wage-earner leaves civilian employment for active military duty. This fund also provides grants for active duty, National Guard, and reservists injured while performing such duty.

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