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Free Tax Preparation Resources - Free Services Include In-Person and Online Filing Assistance

Free Tax Preparation Resources

Free Services Include In-Person and Online Filing Assistance and Online Refund Tracking

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a wide array of free resources and services are available to New Yorkers to help meet their tax-filing obligations before the April 15 deadline. Eligible taxpayers can electronically prepare and file their returns for free using software available at the Tax Department's website. In addition, all filers can track their refund online at no cost and communicate directly with the Tax Department. 

"Tax season doesn't need to be complicated or expensive," Governor Cuomo said. "This suite of free online services and guidance will help to streamline the filing process, and I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to take advantage of these resources."

Free In-Person Filing Assistance Available

Taxpayers with adjusted gross household incomes of $66,000 or less in 2018 can take advantage of the opportunity to safely and efficiently e-file their returns at free tax assistance sites.

Tax Department experts will be available at each location to assist low- and middle-income New Yorkers through the filing process at no charge. At certain locations, they can assist taxpayers in multiple languages, including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Urdu.

The Tax Department is also expanding its presence on college campuses across New York State this year. By partnering with seven different community colleges around New York State, the Tax Department is helping college students, faculty, and staff electronically prepare and file their income tax returns for free.

Search "Free Tax Assistance" at www.tax.ny.gov for a schedule of dates, times and locations for all free filing sessions statewide. This page also details the important documents and information you should bring to your free filing session. 

Free Tax Preparation Software Available Online

If eligible, you can also access and use the same free software to file your returns from your computer, smartphone, or tablet at www.tax.ny.gov instead of visiting a free tax assistance site.

Search "Free File" on the Tax Department website to be directed to the tax preparation software. Using the software can reduce filing errors that delay return processing and refunds. It also prevents valuable credits from being overlooked.

E-filing is safer and more efficient than sending paper returns through the mail. About 92% of all personal income tax returns in New York State are electronically prepared and filed. All returns, whether filed electronically or on paper, undergo the same systematic review.

If you do decide to hire a paid preparer, search "Hiring" on the Tax Department website to review tips to ensure the one you hire is trustworthy and reliable.

Check Your Refund Status

Taxpayers can quickly view the status of their New York State tax refund anytime by searching "Check your Refund" on the Tax Department website: www.tax.ny.gov. Updated daily, the "Check Your Refund" tool is the fastest and most convenient way to know when to expect your refund. It provides the same information available to Tax Department phone representatives—without the wait!

You can also find out when your refund will be issued by signing up for Tax Department email alerts. Visit the Tax Department homepage at www.tax.ny.gov and select subscribe at the bottom of the page.

Don't Miss Out on Billions in Available Tax Credits

New York State taxpayers may be eligible for earned income tax credits (EITCs), which can significantly reduce the amount of any taxes owed or provide substantial refunds to low- or middle-income workers and families.

For tax year 2018, the maximum total of federal, state and New York City EITCs is $8,682 for a family with three children. Eligibility requirements are explained on the Tax Department website.

Communicate Directly with the Tax Department

If you receive a letter asking for documentation to support entries on your return, it doesn't mean that you did anything wrong. It's one of several steps the Tax Department takes to ensure that returns and refunds claimed are accurate. The goal is to stop questionable returns and refund claims, not to delay refunds owed.

The best way to communicate with the Tax Department is to request electronic communications for both Bills and Related Notices, and Other Notifications as follows:

Log in to your current Online Services account or create one at www.tax.ny.gov.

Select your name in the upper-right corner of your Account Summary homepage.

Select Preferences, then select Electronic Communications from the drop-down menu.

On the Electronic Communications page, check the boxes next to Bills and Related Notices, and Other Notifications.

If you select both options, the Tax Department will email you when your refund is issued and alert you to any future correspondence.

To reply to a letter or notice securely, you would simply log in to your Online Services account and use our Respond to Department Notice online service. It's the easiest and fastest way to provide the Tax Department with additional information.