Tax Assistance Program (TAP)

HOW TO USE LADDER UP’S FREE TAP SERVICES

  1. Check first that you are eligible to use the TAP service by reviewing the Eligibility Requirements section below.
  2. View our locations to select the TAP site that is most convenient for you. Check the hours of operation, and plan your visit!
  3. Bring your tax documents and person identification to the selected TAP site. Please review What to Bring to see what you must bring with you to the TAP site.
  4. At the TAP site, you’ll first meet with a volunteer who will review your documents and confirm that you are eligible for the service.
  5. Once you complete the intake process, you will work with a trained volunteer tax preparer who will prepare your tax return for FREE.
  6. Review and sign your taxes. We will file your taxes electronically or as paper-file. If a refund is due, tell the preparer whether you’d like to receive it by mail or through direct deposit to your bank account. Note: You will need to provide your bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit.

Please check our Eligibility Requirements and What to Bring  sections before arriving to make sure you have all your documents and are eligible for free tax services.

FREE TAP SERVICES AVAILABLE THIS TAX SEASON

  • Preparation of Federal Income Tax Returns
  • State of Illinois income tax returns for full-year Illinois residents (Ladder Up does NOT prepare state tax returns for residents of other states, or for partial-year Illinois residents through its TAP service) if you live outside of Illinois, please click HERE (eTAP)
  • Electronic tax filing for years 2019-2021 tax returns for any client who is eligible.
  • Paper-file of 2017 & 2018 tax returns.
  • Preparation and amendments for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, & 2021 tax years.
  • ITIN application/renewal assistance (Note: Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are needed for taxpayers that do not have and are not eligible to receive Social Security numbers). This service is provided seasonally.

TAP ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

  • Ladder Up’s TAP sites serve families earning up to $58,000 and individuals earning up to $32,000 per year.
  • Taxpayers filing a joint tax return (married) must BOTH be present for our TAP service. The tax return cannot be e-filed, nor a copy provided to the taxpayer(s) until:
    • Both signatures are secured on the tax return or on Form 8879, IRS e-file Signature Authorization, OR
    • The spouse has an original copy of a signed and notarized Power of Attorney

Ladder Up CANNOT prepare or amend returns for clients in the following situations:

  • Clients with income from rental property
  • Clients who receive Form 1099-A (Acquisition or Abandonment of Secured Property)
  • Clients who receive Form 1099-C (Cancellation of Debt) for discharged debt other than credit card (Box 4), and/or that shows interest (Box 3), and/or that has Code A (Box 6) showing that the client was insolvent at the time the debt was canceled
  • Clients who are in bankruptcy, even if Box 6 on the Form 1099-A/1099-C is not marked with Code A
  • Clients who have a Kiddie Tax scenario (When a student receives more scholarship money than is billed from the institution)

If you own your own business, Ladder Up CANNOT prepare your return if you:

  • Had business expenses of more than $35,000
  • Did not use the cash method of accounting
  • Had an inventory at any time during the tax year
  • Had a net loss from the business
  • Had employees during the year
  • Were required to file Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization, for your business
  • Deduct expenses for business use of your home

A more complete list of additional forms and tax situations that Ladder Up cannot handle is available here.

If you do not meet our eligibility requirements for our TAP services, click here for IRS tips and resources on how to search for a tax preparer. A directory of federal tax return preparers is available here or check out our digital services HERE (eTAP). You can also prepare and file your own 2021 taxes for free online using IRS Free File starting January 30, 2022, until October 15, 2022: goladderup.org/freefile

WHAT TO BRING TO YOUR TAP APPOINTMENT

NOTE: If you are still waiting on missing income documents, please do not come to a tax site until you have received ALL of your documents as this will delay processing of your tax return.

PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION

  • Original Social Security card (or ITIN card/letter) for ALL individuals that appear on your tax return
  • If Filing Jointly, BOTH spouses must be present
  • Photo identification for yourself and your spouse (if you are filing a joint return)

NOTE: Ladder Up’s TAP policy is that the taxpayer(s) themselves should be present during the tax preparation process and when the return is reviewed and signed (especially if the client would like to e-file). If the taxpayer is not present, a third-party individual can only file on behalf of the absent taxpayer only if the third-party individual presents an original, signed, and notarized Power of Attorney that demonstrates that the individual has the power to act on behalf of the taxpayer on financial matters relating to filing and signing a tax return.

BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION (IF AVAILABLE)

  • Account/Routing number for your checking and/or savings account

INCOME & EXPENSE DOCUMENTS

All income statements received for 2017-2021. For example:

  • Form W-2 (NOTE: Ladder Up will not accept payment stubs in place of the W-2)
  • Social Security benefits statement SSA-1099
  • Form 1099-MISC/NEC
  • Form 1099-G (Unemployment)
  • Form 1099-R
  • Form 1099-INT/DIV

EXPENSE INFORMATION FOR 2017-2021

Some of the things that you paid for during the tax year are deductible. If you had any of the following, make sure to bring the appropriate tax document with you to the tax site. This includes:

  • Mortgage interest statement (Form 1098)
  • Second (final) bill for property taxes paid
  • College Tuition and expenses (Form 1098-T)
  • Student loan interest paid (Form 1098-E)
  • Job-related expenses (if you are a sole proprietor or self-employed)
  • Childcare expenses (Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number of the caretaker is required)
  • Your tax return from the previous tax year (if available)
  • Rideshare Summary Breakdown (Uber/Lyft)

REQUIREMENTS FOR 2017-2021 TAX YEAR AMENDMENTS

  • Tax return filed to IRS (for the year that needs amending) or
  • All documents originally filed or
  • Tax return transcript from IRS

HEALTH INSURANCE INFORMATION

  • Proof of Market Place Health Insurance (Form 1095-A)

IF YOU DRIVE FOR UBER OR LYFT

Uber and Lyft keep tax records for some, but not all, of the business expenses you may have had. Both Uber and Lyft have tax summaries available through online driver profiles. Click here for further information and instructions for accessing your Uber or Lyft records.

ITIN INFORMATION

Be sure to bring your ITIN information with you. If you need a new ITIN or it is time to renew, Ladder Up can help taxpayers apply for and renew an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Please visit our ITIN page for information on getting a new or renewed ITIN.

In Review

Please carefully review the Eligibility and What to Bring sections before arriving to make sure you have all your documents and are eligible for free tax services.

NOTE: If you are still waiting on missing income documents, please do not come to a tax site until you have received ALL of your documents as this will delay processing of your tax return.