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Illinois Will Send State Spending Data with Tax Refund Checks

1 min readBy: Scott Drenkard

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. payers in Illinois will get a bit of supplemental information to go with their income tax refundA tax refund is a reimbursement to taxpayers who have overpaid their taxes, often due to having employers withhold too much from paychecks. The U.S. Treasury estimates that nearly three-fourths of taxpayers are over-withheld, resulting in a tax refund for millions. Overpaying taxes can be viewed as an interest-free loan to the government. On the other hand, approximately one-fifth of taxpayers underwithhold; this can occur if a person works multiple jobs and does not appropriately adjust their W-4 to account for additional income, or if spousal income is not appropriately accounted for on W-4s. checks: information from the Illinois Comptroller’s Office about state spending, including details about the state’s $7.6 billion in unpaid bills.

The flier will be sent to those who receive their refunds via a check in the mail. It features a chart showing how the state’s $35.2 billion budget is divided among various programs including education, health care and retirement funds for state workers. […]

[Comptroller Judy Baar] Topinka said the information will help the public “follow the money” and hold lawmakers more accountable for their spending. […]

The Illinois Department of Revenue also plans to offer a “taxpayer receipt,” which amounts to an online calculator that would allow people to plug in how much they paid in taxes and see how their money was split among various programs.

I think this is a novel idea and one that could be replicated. Because of withholdingWithholding is the income an employer takes out of an employee’s paycheck and remits to the federal, state, and/or local government. It is calculated based on the amount of income earned, the taxpayer’s filing status, the number of allowances claimed, and any additional amount of the employee requests. , the relationship a lot of Americans have with income tax filing season is one of getting money back. This sort of transparency effort goes a ways to remind us that, yes, we were paying all year for something, and in the case of Illinois, spending is growing faster than tax collections.

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