The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today issued the first income tax refunds of 2014. Each of the 87 refunds totaling more than $15,000 were direct deposited into taxpayer bank accounts. The average refund was $183, and they range up to $1,356.
Each of the taxpayers used the department's new "Income Tax Web File," which enables state tax returns to be prepared and e-filed earlier than ever before - at no cost.
As a result of Web File and other free tax preparation options, more than 85 percent of New Yorkers can now prepare and file their state taxes for free.
"By adding Web File to our array of more than 60 online services, we are making free income tax preparation more accessible than ever before," said Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox. "If you're in the 10 percent who filed paper returns last year, visit our Website to learn about the new free e-file options available to you. E-filing is safer, faster and more accurate than paper filing - and you'll get your refund at least twice as fast."
The average refund for an e-filed return is issued in 21 days, whereas paper filers should expect their refund in eight to 12 weeks.
Because e-file software does the math for you, the error rate is 20 times lower than for paper returns.
E-filed returns are submitted through a highly secure, encrypted system to prevent data access.
"I'm delighted to receive my refund so early after using the Tax Department's new Web File program to file my state return," said Kathleen Dennin, a school administrator from Bolton Landing. "Web File was extremely easy, and I would definitely use it again in future years."
To receive refunds even faster, taxpayers should have them directly deposited into their bank accounts. Refunds via debit cards also are available, and of particular convenience for taxpayers without bank accounts.