Tax rebate checks begin going out this week

Tax rebate checks begin going out this week

By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
[email protected]

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker announced Monday that Illinois taxpayers will soon start receiving rebates of their income and property taxes, either in the mail or by direct bank deposits.

Speaking at a news conference in Chicago where he was flanked by other state officials and Democratic leaders of the General Assembly, Pritzker said the rebates are intended to help soften the impact of rising inflation and high gasoline prices.

“Everyone knows inflation is a global problem with local consequences,” he said. “Prices at the pump and at the supermarket have taken Illinois families on a rollercoaster ride over the past months. It’s exactly the kind of thing that responsible government should help our residents with, and we have.”

Those rebates, totaling about $1.2 billion, were part of a larger, $1.8 billion tax relief package that lawmakers included in the budget they passed this spring.

Individual income taxpayers who earn less than $200,000 who are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s taxes will receive a rebate of $50. That goes up to $100 for couples filing jointly who earn less than $400,000. Tax return filers will also receive $100 rebates for each dependent they claim, up to a maximum of three dependents.

Homeowners who were able to claim the property tax credit on their 2021 tax returns will receive an additional rebate equal to the credit they claimed, up to a maximum of $300. Those rebates will go to filers who earned less than $250,000, or $500,000 for a couple filing jointly.

No further action is needed from eligible Illinoisans who filed tax returns in 2021, otherwise, more information can be found at tax.illinois.gov/rebates.

Pritzker’s office said the payments will take “at least eight weeks to be issued in total.”

In addition to those measures, the tax relief package also included a six-month pause, through Dec. 31, of the automatic inflation-based increase in the state motor fuel tax; a one-year suspension of the state’s 1 percent grocery tax; and a sales tax holiday on back-to-school merchandise that ran Aug. 5-14.

The package also included a permanent expansion of the state’s earned income tax credit, raising it from 18 percent to 20 percent of the federal credit and extending eligibility for that credit to noncitizens who file taxes using an individual taxpayer identification number instead of a Social Security number.

“The expansion of the earned income tax credit is a huge deal for Illinoisans who are emerging in this state and trying to make their way,” said state Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, who chaired the House Revenue Committee. “And we expanded it this year. And we are on our way to a fairer tax code through existing law, which is incredibly exciting for the state of Illinois.”

Republicans criticized that package as an election-year gimmick, noting that the rebate checks would show up in people’s mailboxes or bank accounts just before Election Day, while the pause on the motor fuel tax hike would disappear soon after Election Day.

Yet nearly all in the GOP voted in favor of the tax relief package, which passed 55-1 in the Senate and 110-0 in the House with four “present” votes.

Pritzker defended the timing of the rebate payments during the news conference.

“We passed it back in the spring, that’s when you pass a budget. And it went into effect at the beginning of the fiscal year, that’s July 1,” he said. “It takes some time. The comptroller only just got enough paper – think about the supply chain issues – in order to be able to issue the checks. And then, of course, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the reserves of $1.2 billion to send out to people when you’re sending the checks out. So that’s why it takes a little time.”

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government that is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

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