Tax Credit Scholarship Program

Applications will be open Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 6:30 pm.
Click here for detailed information on how to apply.

Spreadsheet with info on potential scholarships based on income

Individuals/couples can now choose how their IL taxes will be used, specifically in offering tuition assistance to families to attend a private school, such as St. Mary’s.

The Illinois Legislature has passed the Invest in Kids Act. It is a five year program, which began January 2, 2018 for school year 2018-2019.

Individuals/Couples may donate an amount not exceeding their 2019 IL “Total Tax” amount. Couples filing a Joint Tax return will be considered a single taxpayer for purposes of making a qualified contribution.

It would be prudent to conservatively estimate this figure based on your 2019 income and past “Total Tax” figures.

The Legislature has allotted $75 million in funds to allow lower income families tuition assistance for enrolling in private, not-for-profit schools. Donors will receive $75 back on their taxes for every $100 they donate.

The program is capped at $100 million in donations and the Central Counties region (Region 4) is capped at 7.5% of the tax credits or $7.5 million in donations. The Diocese of Peoria has partnered with Empower Illinois, an SGO (Scholarship Granting Organization), which will administer both the reception of funds from donors and the distribution of funds to the school selected by the applicants.


John and Kathy Schreiber have generously agreed to extend their match of donations by one month, until May 1, 2020. Click here for more information.

On January 1, 2020, credits will be reset and applications will be open for requesting tax credits for 2020. Taxpayers can apply for a Contribution Authorization Certificate, one of the steps in the process of getting a 75% Illinois income tax credit for a donation to a qualified scholarship granting organization. The credits are first-come, first-served, so be sure to reserve yours early! Remember that the donor has to have a MyTax Illinois account to begin the process. More information can be found on both the IL Department of Revenue website at IDOR Contributors Information or the Empower Illinois website. There is an excellent explanation of the donation process in the video at the bottom of Empower Illinois’ web page or by clicking on the Tutorial Video below.

Tutorial Video
Understanding the Tax Credit
5 Facts for Donors
How to Donate

  1. Obtain a Letter ID
    +      Access
    +      “Individuals” tab
    +      “Miscellaneous” Section
    +      Request a Letter ID

It will be mailed to you, based on your IL Tax forms address in 7-10 business days.

2.  Activate your account anytime after you receive your Letter ID
+      Access
+      “Registration”
+      “Sign up for a MyTax Illinois Account”
+      Social Security Number
+      Individual Income Tax? – Answer YES
+      Letter ID; IL PIN or 2016 Adjusted Gross Income;
Contact information; Logon information; Email Address

3. Donation completion:
Access and reserve your tax credit.

Log in, then click on “Individual” under Accounts
Click on “Contribute to Invest in Kids”

The application will include:
+      Taxpayer’s name and address
+      Amount Taxpayer will contribute
+      Region (4) for which contribution will be made
+      SGO to which the contribution will be made (Empower Illinois)
+      An acknowledgment that no credit may be taken for any qualified contribution for which the taxpayer claims a federal tax deduction

NOTE:     Multiple applications cannot be made on the same form.

Applications will be reviewed by the Department of Revenue and either approved or denied.

Contribution of Authorization Certificate Issued
Check for your letter under the Alerts section of My Tax Illinois website after you have logged in.
Be sure to save the Certificate on your computer for uploading later to the Empower Illinois website (after it is read it will be found under Correspondence/View Letters).

Each CAC issued includes:
+      Date Certificate was issued
+      Date by which the contribution listed must be made – within 60 days from date of issuance
+      Amount of authorized contribution
+      Region for which the CAC is issued
+      Name and unique identifier of the SGO designated
+      Statement that no federal tax deduction may be taken for the contribution
+      Unique identifier for each CAC issued

Each CAC will be sent to the taxpayer within 3 business days of issuance. A taxpayer may rescind all or part of an authorized contribution by providing notice to the Department. The Department will maintain a running total of credits by region on its website. This will be updated each business day.

4.  Click here to make your donation after you have received your CAC
Note: You will designate which school you are donating to at this step.

Benefits for St. Mary’s Parish:

For each $100 donated
+ If donor uses Standard Deduction on 2019 Federal Tax Form

Individual/Couple pledges $100 from IL “Tax Total”

  1. Receives $75 of the $100 donated from State
  2. Reduces Sunday collection by $25

Result:    Individual nets the same; receives $25 less from State tax return, but gives $25 less to Sunday collection.

St. Mary’s gains $75!  $100 from State and $25 less in Sunday collection.


+ If donor uses Itemized Deductions on 2019 Federal Tax Form

Individual/Couple pledges $100 from IL “Tax Total”

  1. Receives $75 of the $100 donated from State
  2. Reduces Sunday collection by $50

Result: Individual nets the same; receives $25 less from State tax return and $25 less in Itemized Deductions (25% tax bracket), but gives $50 less to Sunday collection.

St. Mary’s gains $50! $100 from State and $50 less in Sunday collection.