Since 1990, we've served nearly 400,000 families, returning $590 million in tax refunds to clients.

About Us

The Center for Economic Progress (CEP) helps low-income, working families as a trusted provider of tax and financial services. Everything we do, from direct service to informing public policy, improves the financial stability of those we serve. 

Tax Help 

CEP provides low-wage workers with free, high quality tax preparation and an alternative to paid tax preparers. We serve families who make less than $55,000 and individuals who make less than $30,000.  Based on these income guidelines, we can help one in three Illinois residents. 

Tax Clinic

Through our tax clinic, we provide free, professional representation to low-wage taxpayers facing an IRS controversy.  We also offer tax training for small businesses to establish sound business practices, build their knowledge of record keeping and self-employment tax laws. 

Financial Services

We help promote financial education and sound money practices -- helping cut ties to predatory financial services. We provide year-round workshops and one-on-one financial coaching to help clients set financial goals; create a spending plan; access safe and affordable bank products like bank accounts and small dollar loans; and review and correct credit reports and improve credit scores. 

Our History

The Center for Economic Progress was founded in 1990 by Michael O’Connor, a veteran public benefits lawyer. Formerly the Center for Law and Human Services, the agency first focused on helping homeless families and individuals access services.