CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) will begin accepting 2021 state individual income tax returns on Monday, Jan. 24, the same date that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) begins accepting federal individual income tax returns.

“We encourage taxpayers to file their taxes electronically and choose direct deposit, as early as possible in the tax season, to ensure the fastest processing and issuance of any refunds,” said IDOR Director David Harris. “Taxpayers may file their electronic returns for free with MyTax Illinois, our free online account management program. Electronic filing is also available through third party software or with most tax preparers.”

If a taxpayer electronically files an error-free return, they should receive a direct deposit refund in approximately four weeks, if applicable. Last year, IDOR received 5,609,000 electronically filed returns. 88% of returns were filed electronically, while 12% were filed using paper returns.

The 2022 tax filing deadline is Monday, Apr. 18Illinois Governor J.B Pritzker recently announced, however, that victims of severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes beginning Dec. 10, 2021 have until May 16 to file various individual and business tax returns and make income tax payments.

IDOR works to safeguard and protect taxpayers from identity theft and will continue to coordinate with the IRS and other states to strengthen protections. Taxpayers are encouraged to do their part by protecting their personal information and staying alert to phone scams or phishing emails.

“We remain highly committed to protecting taxpayers’ information and by verifying information on tax returns before issuing refunds, IDOR  prevented over $56 million in fraudulent or erroneous refunds from being issued in the last year alone,” Harris said.

In addition to free filing of Form IL-1040 through MyTax Illinois, individuals may also utilize the site to make payments, respond to department inquiries, and check the status of their refunds using the Where’s My Refund? link. Taxpayers may also look up IL-PINs, amounts of any estimated tax payments made, and (when necessary) amounts reported on Form 1099-G with MyTax Illinois.

For the most up-to-date information, forms, schedules and instructions for the 2022 tax season, visit IDOR’s website.