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pexels pixabay 209224PARK FOREST – Individual income tax returns for Illinois may be submitted starting Friday, Feb. 12, and State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) urges residents to file early this year.

“This is an important filing season, given the pandemic,” Joyce said. “I encourage folks to begin filing as soon as they’re able so they can receive their tax refunds as quickly as possible.”

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR), an error-free return filed electronically can trigger a direct-deposit refund within four to six weeks. The number of electronic filers increased by nearly 3% last year. Of 6.4 million returns filed, 87% were filed online and 63% qualified for refunds.

IDOR officials say that filing tax returns electronically and requesting direct deposit is still the fastest way for taxpayers to receive a refund. IDOR recommends filers create a MyTax Illinois account, particularly because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, so that taxpayers may quickly respond to any filing inquiries and ensure swift processing.

IDOR is also working to protect filers from identity theft. The department encourages taxpayers to be vigilant in protecting personal information and to be alert to phone scams and email phishing.

The deadline to file 2020 income taxes is Thursday, April 15.