Editorial by Assemblyman John Ceretto
No one likes to pay taxes, but yearly refunds can be a silver lining. Figuring out exactly how to file for your tax refund, however, can be frustrating and confusing. Thankfully, several local organizations are prepared to help.
Qualifying individuals may even be able to have their taxes prepared by a professional without charge. Anyone with a household income of $54,000 or less is eligible to have their federal and state taxes completed for free at Orleans-Niagara BOCES, located at 140 Genesee St., Lockport, or at the Family and Children Services Center at 1522 Main St., Niagara Falls. Senior citizens in North Tonawanda can receive guidance from the AARP for free every Tuesday at the town library through April 17 starting at 9:30 a.m. And anyone who earned $62,000 or less in 2015 is eligible to electronically prepare and file federal and state taxes online for free at www.tax.ny.gov/pit/efile.
These services can also help ensure you receive the largest refund to which you are entitled. There are a few popular credits to be aware of, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which helps people who earn low or moderate incomes recoup some of the income tax that has been withheld from their paychecks throughout the year. The Empire State Child Credit can offer families up to $330 per child (ages 4-16), while the federal Child Tax Credit can save families as much as $1,000 per child (under the age of 17). The Child and Dependent Care Credit can help you pay for a child, spouse or other dependent who isn't capable of self-care, and the Real Property Tax Credit can add up to as much as $375 for eligible homeowners and renters. Taking advantage of these helpful state and federal programs will ensure you receive the tax refund you deserve.
Finally, while a refund can be nice, I want hardworking families to be able to keep more of their hard-earned money to begin with. That's why I support a proposal before the Assembly that would cut taxes for the middle class and provide much-needed relief to Western New York families. A strong economy starts with a strong middle class. It's time to make New York a more affordable place to live and work.
If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other community issue, please don't hesitate to contact my office at CerettoJ@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 716-282-6062.