Rock River Times
Feb. 5, 2014
When Illinoisans file their taxes online this year, they will receive a receipt that shows how their money is spent, thanks to the work of Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and the Illinois Department of Revenue.
“This is about transparency, openness and accountability,” said Simon. “If you receive a receipt for a $5 purchase at a gas station you should be able to get one for your income taxes. The people of Illinois deserve to know where there money is going and how it’s being spent.”
Since introducing the idea in spring of 2013, Simon has worked with the Illinois Department of Revenue and Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) to develop an income tax receipt to shine a light on government spending and increase public awareness. The option to view the new receipt appears after an e-filer submits their IL-1040.
Taxpayers will enter the amount of state income taxes paid and a calculator estimates how the money is divvied up between education, public safety, and other general revenue expenditures. For example, an Illinoisan who paid $1,000 in state income taxes would see a helpful table and pie chart showing that $237.44 went to education, $145.02 to pensions and $41.07 to public safety during the past fiscal year.
January 31 was the first day the Department of Revenue accepted e-filed returns at http://tax.illinois.gov. Nearly 500,000 tax returns were e-filed on the Department’s website last year. People who file on paper or by using other e-filing software or services can view the receipt online here.
“This won’t make filing your taxes more fun, but it will be more informative,” Simon added. “After almost a year of hard work and development from the Department of Revenue and GOMB, I am happy to see this useful tool become available. More transparency is always a step in the right direction.”
Simon has been leading by example when it comes to increased transparency. Each spring, she and her senior staff release personal financial statements that go above and beyond what is required by law. The disclosures empower the public to learn if these officials are serving taxpayers’ interests, or if they harbor any conflicts of interest.