Get help filing your 2020 taxes

Tax forms on a desk

Taxes - no one loves filing them, but this year it is more important than ever. The IRS will begin to accept returns on February 12. 

Why is filing my 2020 taxes important?

Put simply: to keep more of your hard-earned money

The IRS doesn't automatically issue refunds without a tax return, so if you want to claim any tax refund due to you, then you should file a tax return.

You may be eligible for a tax refund, especially if you are eligible to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Plus, if you haven’t received your stimulus payment, you may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit 

When filing taxes consider using direct deposit or provide an address for a tax refund. The option selected will likely be used if additional stimulus checks are issued. If you set up a temporary account with a paid tax preparer to access your return more quickly, any previous stimulus checks were likely sent to this account. Check on the status of your stimulus check here. If your check was sent to an account you don’t recognize, the IRS advises that you should keep checking your bank account. Read more information here.

Taxes and Your Stimulus Check

If you have not received your first stimulus check, file a 2020 tax return to receive your stimulus check. You will claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.
For families where one spouse does not have a Social Security Number, the other spouse with the SSN is now eligible for a stimulus check.

If you received your first stimulus check directly into your bank account, you should receive your second check in the same account. If you received the first check as a paper check or debit card in the mail, you should receive it as either a paper check or debit card in January. The debit card, called the Economic Impact Payment Card, will be sent in a white envelope that prominently displays the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal. Do not throw this envelope away!

You should be able to track your first and second payments on the IRS website using the Get My Payment portal.

Get Help Filing Taxes

Taxes can be overwhelming - but they don't have to be. Our community has several FREE options to help you prepare and file your 2020 taxes.

University of Illinois, Gies Department of Accountancy VITA site

The University of Illinois’ VITA program offers FREE tax assistance to low- to moderate-income (gross income less than $57,000), elderly (over age 60), limited English speaking taxpayers, and those with disabilities. It is our privilege to help residents in need prepare their tax returns. The VITA program will be virtual this year.

To initiate services through the VITA program, please bring identification and tax documents (see below for a list of what to bring) to Salt & Light (1819 Philo Road, Urbana) during VITA drop-off hours. During this visit, a trained volunteer will conduct a brief interview, verify your identity as required by the VITA program, and scan relevant tax documents to a secure Box folder.

Starting February 18, materials can be dropped off at:

Salt & Light (1819 S. Philo Rd.)

Tuesday 1-7 pm or Wednesday - Saturday 1-5 pm

Following your visit, students from the Gies Department of Accountancy, trained through the IRS VITA program and supported by Gies faculty, will prepare your tax return while in their virtual classroom. You will receive a telephone call from the student preparation team if they have additional questions or when they are ready to review your tax return with you. After speaking with the preparation team and asking any questions you may have, you will be directed to return to Salt & Light to pick up a printed copy of your tax return and sign documents authorizing the team to file your returns electronically.

What do I need to bring?

  • Proof of identification (photo ID)
  • Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter may be substituted for you, your spouse and your dependents if you do not have a Social Security number
  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN
  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents on the tax return
  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R,1099-Misc) from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year’s federal and state returns, if available
  • Proof of bank account routing and account numbers for direct deposit such as a blank check
  • To file taxes electronically on a married-filing-joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms
  • Total paid for daycare provider and the daycare provider's tax identifying number such as their Social Security number or business Employer Identification Number

Can I arrange for contactless drop-off?
Yes. Just call 217-300-4784 or email, and let us know you’d like to do a contactless drop-off. A VITA representative will contact you to arrange a meeting.

CRIS Healthy Aging 

Seniors over 60 years old in Champaign County are eligible for assistance filing taxes. Contactless dropoff. Providers are IRS/VITA certified to file basic tax returns without self-employment or retirement income.

To schedule an intake appointment call 217-355-1543.

With MyFreeTaxes®, filing your simple returns is free! That means you can file your federal and state returns without spending any money in tax preparation fees. So far, MyFreeTaxes has helped 1.2 million people save $250 million in tax filing fees. 

The secure software walks you through the filing process and screens for common tax deductions and credits you may be eligible for, like the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child Tax Credit. You can also use MyFreeTaxes to claim missed stimulus payments. That’s part of our effort to make sure you get back every penny possible. 

If you need help, use the Helpline to talk to a real person trained by the IRS. MyFreeTaxes’ Helpline is open from 10 am-10 pm EST daily to clarify things like filing status. Just call 1-866-698-9435.

Learn more or start filing today!