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Students: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions

This is the first year I am filing an Illinois tax return.   Can I file electronically?
If you are a first-time IL-1040 filer you will have the option to file your income tax return using either the tax preparation software or the MyTax Illinois method. However, you must have an Illinois identification number or driver’s license number on file with the Illinois Secretary of State to file using these methods.  You may also use a professional tax preparer to file your tax return electronically.

I am a student. Why should I file an Illinois Income Tax return?
Students are not exempt from tax nor are there special residency provisions for you. However, income, such as certain scholarships or fellowships, that is not taxable under federal income tax law, is also not taxed by Illinois.

I do not think I owe tax, so why should I file a return?
If you are an Illinois resident you must file Form IL-1040 if you were required to file a federal income tax return, or your Illinois base income is greater than your Illinois exemption allowance.

If you are a part-year resident (you lived in Illinois for part of the year) you must file Form IL-1040 and Schedule NR if you were required to file a federal income tax return, or your Illinois base income from Schedule NR is greater than your Illinois exemption allowance on Schedule NR.

If you are a nonresident you must file Form IL-1040 and Schedule NR if your Illinois base income from Schedule NR is greater than your Illinois exemption allowance on Schedule NR.

I think I have a refund coming, so why should I file a return?
You must file an Illinois return to claim your refund.

I work out-of-state while I am away at college. Do I have to report that money to Illinois?
Yes. You are still an Illinois resident, even if you go to school in another state.

Also, you may want to check the revenue department in the state where you worked. Each state has different tax laws. You may need to file a tax return with the other state as well.

If you have to file a return with the other state, you may be eligible for a credit in Illinois on Schedule CR.

Why do I owe Illinois tax when I do not owe any federal tax?
Federal and state tax laws and rates are not the same. It is possible to owe Illinois and receive a refund from the IRS.

Does Illinois have a standard deduction for individual tax filers like the federal tax return?
No, but if you can claim yourself on your tax return you will be allowed a $2,150 exemption. If someone else claims you as a dependent, you are not entitled to the $2,150 exemption unless your Illinois base income is $2,150 or less.

Can my parent(s) or guardian(s) claim me as a dependent on their return?
They will need to contact the Internal Revenue Service to determine if they can claim you as a dependent on their tax return.  If they claim you as a dependent on their federal return, they will also claim you as a dependent on their Illinois return.

If my parent(s) or guardian(s) cannot claim me as a dependent on their return, can I claim myself?
Yes. Illinois allows you to claim your own exemption on your state return if you claimed an exemption for yourself on your federal return.

When I completed my Illinois tax return I found I owe the state. What do I do?
If you owe the state and are filing electronically, you may pay the entire amount or make a partial payment instantly online at the end of your session. Or you may print out your tax form and payment coupon at the end of your session and mail your payment with your return by April 18, 2016. But be sure your payment is postmarked by April 18, 2016 to avoid penalties and interest.

I owe taxes to Illinois but I cannot pay the entire bill by April 18, 2016. What can I do?
Pay as much of the bill as you can by April 18, 2016 to reduce the amount of penalty and interest that will be added to the bill.  As soon as you receive a bill, call the number on the bill to see what payment options are available.