From my perspective as a former tax preparer (15 years), I would like to note the following:

I worked for a local office preparing taxes for people from all walks of life and teaching tax preparation classes. It was before the time of the computer-generated returns, so I met individually with each client. Federal income taxes can become very complicated, but the Illinois return was very simple to prepare -- without the itemized deductions and many income variations.

Although the Illinois tax return is not complicated, the amount is computed as a “flat tax” -- same rate for any person and any income. It sounds fair on the surface, but it is not. What happens is the amount of tax paid by an individual with low income ($25,000) substantially affects the amount of money they have to spend on essential every day items (food, health, shelter, clothing, utilities, transportation, etc.). A taxpayer with a higher income ($250,000) can pay their taxes, pay their necessities and have money left over to spend on other items.

The fair tax does not change anything, except the method of calculating the tax. It is a graduated tax to allow an increase in taxes paid by higher-income individuals. The rates will be graduated and, therefore, more fair.

In my experience, I have seen individuals who were required to pay no federal taxes (a graduated tax) still have to pay Illinois tax.

I have seen low-income taxpayers bearing the brunt of the Illinois income tax.

The current taxing method is regressive and outdated. Remember, this Amendment affects only Illinois individual income tax. It is not a business tax. It is not a real estate tax. It is not a sales tax. It is an updated method of computing the individual income tax in Illinois.

Judy Markham

Bourbonnais 

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