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Stand Back...

... while I actually write something complimentary about a government service.

No, really. Seriously.

I was finishing up with my income tax returns, both federal and state, this past weekend, since I have a refund coming and I wanted to get it as soon as possible. I use TurboTax for my federal taxes, and file electronically, and although TurboTax charges a fee for that, they also rebate it, so it winds up being free (why they just don't make it free in the first place, is a puzzle, but that's not what this post is about).

TurboTax also offers you the chance to spend $30 on a "state download", so that you can use the same program to do your state taxes. Supposed to save you time inputting all the data, etc.

However, the Illinois form is much simpler and most of the figures are just plug-ins from the federal return, and here's where I'm going to plug a well-designed and useful government service.

The state of Illinois now has a free service where you can enter all your numbers on their secure website, and if you have a refund coming (which I do), you can also have it direct-deposited into your bank account.

Cost: zero.

Thanks to the state of Illinois for actually coming up with:

a) a useful service that
b) works and is easy to use and is
c) free.

Click here if you live in Illinois and want to take advantage of this service. There are clearly marked links at the top of the page.