April 9, 2015

Governor Cuomo Highlights Free Tax Assistance and Tips as April 15 Deadline Approaches

Governor Cuomo Highlights Free Tax Assistance and Tips as April 15 Deadline Approaches

New deduction to help families of two NYPD fallen police officers

Free tax assistance available and extended hours to help New Yorkers file

Over 2.5 million New Yorkers expected to file during last week of tax season

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today reminded New Yorkers, with less than a week to go until the tax filing deadline, of the new deductions, tips and free resources available to make it easier for individuals and families to file.

“As more than 2.5 million New Yorkers prepare to file their taxes before next week’s deadline, there are more resources than ever to make the process as easy and straight-forward as possible,” Governor Cuomo said. “I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of the state’s free assistance – including local clinics or online tips – to submit their returns safely and accurately this year.”

Extended charitable deduction for slain police officers

Governor Cuomo alerted New Yorkers to a new opportunity to help the families of two fallen police officers while increasing charitable deductions for 2014. Federal legislation - the Slain Officer Family Support Act – recently signed into law by President Barack Obama extends the period for specific tax deductions until April 15, 2015. Taxpayers can claim 2014 deductions for donations to charities that support the families of New York Police Department Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, both of whom were murdered while on duty in December, 2014.

Free tax assistance

Individuals and families earning $60,000 or less can file their state and federal income tax returns online and for free at any of the Tax Department’s 80 Free Tax Assistance Sites statewide. Tax Department experts are on-site to help taxpayers through the process. To find a site near you, visit tax.ny.gov/fsa.

New Yorkers with access to a computer and who are comfortable entering their tax information on their own have multiple options to electronically file their tax returns at www.tax.ny.gov. Taxpayers with incomes of $60,000 or less can e-file both their state and federal returns for free using user-friendly commercial software. The software helps to ensure that valuable tax credits are not overlooked. Income Tax Web File is also available from the Tax Department with no income threshold for taxpayers who only need to file a state return or who have already filed their federal return. For a one-stop-shop or more information on e-filing, visit https://www.ny.gov/services/file-your-new-york-state-income-tax-return.

“If you have access to a computer or a free tax assistance site, you should join the vast majority of New Yorkers who file their returns electronically,” said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Kenneth Adams. “By filing your return online, you can receive your refund up to twice as fast, and you are 20 times less likely to have an error.”

Tips for last minute filers

To ensure that New Yorkers don’t miss out on their maximum refunds as the tax season draws to a close, Governor Cuomo encouraged low and middle-income taxpayers to double-check their eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and other valuable credits. New York taxpayers with incomes under $52,427 and three or more children may qualify for the maximum EITC worth up to $8,293. Additional credits to check for include the child and dependent care credit, Empire State child credit and college tuition credit.

Taxpayers can receive their refunds up to a week faster by having their refunds deposited directly into their bank accounts. Taxpayers without bank accounts can have their refunds issued on debit cards.

To check the status of refunds, New Yorkers can save time by visiting www.tax.ny.gov. Taxpayers can also have this information sent straight to their inboxes by signing up for email alerts.

To assist taxpayers with questions about their returns, the Tax Department’s call center (518-457-5181) has extended hours through April 15th. Representatives are available from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm Monday through Friday, and from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday.

“If you’re unable to file your return by the deadline, avoid penalties by submitting an online extension at our website,” added Acting Commissioner Adams. “But bear in mind that if you do file an extension by the April 15 deadline, you’ll still have to pay the estimated amount of the taxes you owe.”

Avoid identity theft

Particularly prevalent at the height of tax season, Governor Cuomo warned taxpayers of ongoing illegal solicitations by scam artists posing as IRS agents. Criminals use this time of year to prey on taxpayers with threatening telephone calls and “phishing” emails. New Yorkers are cautioned to only provide their personal information – including their social security numbers, bank account information and credit card numbers – when they fully trust the receiving entity. The NYS Tax Department and the IRS will always send letters to taxpayers before contacting them via phone or email.

Individuals who think they may have been the victims of identity theft should visit the Tax Department’s identity theft webpage or call 518-457-5181.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Albany: 518.474.8418

New York City: 212.681.4640