INVEST IN KIDS ILLINOIS: Step-By-Step Walkthrough

Today I’m going to be talking about how to qualify and to actually get the credit for the Invest In Kids Act program.

I’m going to walk you through what to do step by step:

  1. Request a letter ID with Illinois;
  2. Activate your account;
  3. Reserve the Invest In Kids credit; and finally,
  4. Make the donation.

If you’re not familiar with the Invest In Kids program, click to see my previous video on what the program is and some of the benefits, then come back here to see how to take the steps to make it happen for you this year.

STEP ONE: Request a letter ID with Illinois

If you don’t already have an account at mytax.illinois.gov:

  • Click on the “Individuals” tab at the top
  • “Request letter ID” from under the Miscellaneous heading
  • Enter your social security number and ONE of the following:
    • Your most recent, adjusted gross income (you can find this on last year’s tax return)
    • Your driver’s license number
    • Your Illinois state ID number
  • Click “Submit”

In 7-10 days, you’ll get your letter ID in the mail. Once you get that, you can go to step two.

STEP TWO: Activate Your Account

After you receive your letter ID, it’s time to activate your account on mytax.illinois.gov:

  • Look for the section titled: Login to MyTax Illinois, and click “Sign Up Now”
  • Enter your social security number
  • Click “yes” to activate your MyTax Illinois account
  • Enter the letter ID you received in the mail
  • Enter EITHER:
    • Your individual Illinois PIN (there will be a link on the page where you can look it up), or
    • Your most recent, adjusted gross income (you can find this on last year’s tax return)
  • Fill in your name and email
  • Pick a username and password and fill in the reminder for that information
  • Click “Submit” at the top of that screen, then “OK” on the next screen

You will receive an email confirmation that your account was activated.

STEP THREE: Reserve Your Credit

There are different Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) and you should be able to use any of them for each school, but some schools have preferences on who they’re using. So to be safe, and because you’re giving money, I would recommend confirming with the school on which SGO they prefer. In this example, I’m going to use the Bright Promise Fund.

  • Enter your username and password on the mytax.illinois.gov login screen, click “Log In”
  • Under Account Type, select “Individual”
  • Under I Want To … , select “Contribute to Invest In Kids”
  • Read the overview of the program and click to acknowledge
  • Choose your region (if you don’t know it, you can either ask the school or look it up)
  • Choose the Bright Promise Fund (or your preferred SGO)
  • Put in whatever amount you’re choosing to donate
  • Confirm and authorize the amount to give
  • Enter your email
  • Click “Submit”

On the next screen, you will receive a confirmation. Print and save this confirmation to get credit when you give the actual gift in the next step.

STEP FOUR: Make the Donation

Again, for this example, I am using Bright Promise Fund. Your preferred SGO may be slightly different.

  • Navigate to brightpromisefund.org
  • Click “Donate Online”
  • Next to SGO ILL Tax Credit Donation, click “Here’s How”
  • Read and confirm that you have done the three required steps shown on the screen
  • Write a check in the amount you determined in step three
  • Mail the check to the provided address, along with your contribution certificate

Rather than just use USPS, I actually did FedEx, just so I could track it to make sure that it arrived. And if you want to really be sure that they’ve received it and they get it counted for the correct year, call them up and make sure they’ve received it.

One more thing to mention, you’ll want to write on the check the name of the school to designate the gift to them, and then also write it on the actual certificate that you print out and include with the check.

And there’s actually one step more. Once you’ve sent the check and the certificate to the SGO and you know that they received it, come back to mytax.illinois.gov and look under “requests” and you’ll be able to see if your contribution authorization certificate has been processed, or is still waiting. And once it’s processed, you’ll have a tax form available under that tab which you can print out or save for when you file your taxes next year.

I know that was quite a few steps. If you have any questions, leave a comment or send me an email and maybe I’ll be able to help you out. But good luck on using this great program; one that helps the kids, helps the schools, and gets you a pretty good 75% tax credit in Illinois.