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2019 Ladder Up's Tax Site

Ladder Up and Center for Economic Progress (CEP) have officially merged as of October 2019.  The name of our combined organization is "Ladder Up".  As you will see, our website and materials for this upcoming 2020 tax season have been updated to reflect the change. 

Prepare for Tax Season


As the holiday season approaches, we all start to think about tax season... okay, maybe not all of us, but our staff and volunteers certainly do! Read on to learn how to prepare and what to expect.  

Find a Tax Site near you

This season, we are offering free tax preparation and e-filing at 24 tax sites across the Chicago area (with one site in Springfield). Some sites have moved for the upcoming season. Check the locations tool on our website ( to find the closest tax site. 

Gather your paperwork

Keep an eye out for your tax documents in January. The most common ones to watch for are:

  • W-2 and 1099 income forms
  • Form 1095-A if you had health insurance through the Marketplace. If you need help finding your 1095-A, click here
  • Copy of your property tax bill and mortgage interest (for homeowners)
  • Records of education-related expenses, including Form 1098-T
  • If you are self-employed, make sure that you have records of all of your income, expenses, and mileage so that your tax preparer can prepare an accurate return for you. If you like to use apps to make your life easier, My1040 is a free mobile app that helps you track everything that you need for your taxes. 

Want to start preparing for tax season? Here are some steps you can take now to prepare

A Few Notes on Eligibility

To have your taxes prepared at one of our tax sites, you will need to bring a valid photo ID and the originalphysical copy of Social Security cards or ITIN cards/letters for everyone on your return.

If you need a replacement Social Security Card, you can order your replacement on the Social Security Administration website.

If you are married filing jointly, you AND your spouse must be present. 

If you want your refund as quickly as possible, bring your bank account and routing numbers so that we can set you up for direct deposit of your refund. 

Renew your ITIN

If your ITIN is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2019, renew it now! Ladder Up will not take ITIN appointments during the regular tax season (February - April) so please make an appointment now. All ITINs that have the middle numbers 83, 84, 85, 86, or 87 will expire at the end of 2019.

Regardless of the middle number of the ITIN, if you haven't used your ITIN on a tax return at least once on your 2016, 2017, or 2018 tax return, your ITIN will automatically expire.

It is important not to file a tax return with an expired ITIN because you may lose eligibility for key tax benefits until your ITIN is renewed. For help with a new ITIN application or a renewal, email us at or call and leave a message at (312) 409-1555.


New IRS changes for 2020

  • Standard deduction:

The standard deduction for married filing jointly rises to $24,400 for tax year 2019, up $400 from the prior year. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $12,200 for 2019, up $200, and for heads of household, the standard deduction will be $18,350 for tax year 2019, up $350.

  • Earned income credit (EIC):

The tax year 2019 maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,557 for taxpayers filing jointly who have three or more qualifying children, up from a total of $6,431 for tax year 2018. 

A note on delayed refunds: If you are claiming the EIC or Additional Child Tax Credit, the IRS cannot issue your refund before February 15, which means you will not receive your refund until late February at the earliest.

Interested in the details of what has changed for tax year 2019? Check out this article

Plan to save

You probably already have big plans for your tax refund, but take a moment to seriously consider saving some of it for a rainy day, a long-term goal, or a loved one's future. We all have unexpected emergencies that come up in our lives and we all need some savings to help pay for critical expenses when those emergencies happen. 

We make saving easy at our tax sites by offering the option to split your refund into multiple accounts with direct deposit.

Don't have a bank? No problem. We partner with banks that provide trusted products. Just ask your tax preparer how to apply for a savings account or how to purchase savings bonds. The current interest rate for Series I bonds purchased after October 31, 2019 and before May 1, 2020 is 2.22%. 

Know when and how to file your taxes

Ladder Up gives you three trusted ways to file: 

1. File from the comfort of your own home, starting January 24, 2020, with free access to TurboTax or H&R Block software online: 

2. Visit one of our first-come, first-served tax site locations between February 1st and April 15th to work with an IRS-certified tax preparer. Check your mail for our annual flyer, or check our website for updates on tax site locations and hours

3. New this year: Make an appointment at one of our five Appointments-Preferred sites. Check our website for information on appointment times and locations, and use the links on our location page to make an appointment



Ladder Up Programs and Site Process

What to expect 

Our service: Since the merger, we have a made a few modifications to our tax site process to better serve you. This year, all tax sites will operate under the Ladder Up name. Our site process might be a little different than what you experienced last season, but you can still expect the same quality and service that you're used to receiving at our tax sites. Our staff and volunteers are committed to bringing you high-quality services with the utmost respect.  

Our website and flyers: Our website has all of the information that you’ll need for this upcoming tax season, and we’ll be mailing you a flyer that has the addresses and hours of all of our tax sites, as well as information about sites that have moved or closed. As always, be sure to check to see if there are any changes to your local tax site by checking our locations tool.


Our Programs

Ladder Up's free programs: 

For the latest updates on closures due to weather or holidays, visit or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.  

Questions or concerns? Let us know at or by leaving a message at 312-409-1555.

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350 N. Orleans, Suite C2-100, Chicago, Illinois 60654
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