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Working families and individuals received $1 billion from NYS Earned Income Tax Credit in 2015

Submitted Editorial

Tue, Dec 29th 2015 01:35 pm

Highest ever paid in a year

Tax Department's free tax assistance sites help eligible taxpayers receive all available credits; taxpayers can prepare and file their income taxes for free directly through www.tax.ny.gov

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance announced working families received more than $1 billion from the New York State Earned Income Tax Credit so far this year. It's the highest ever dollar amount of EITC benefits paid in a year.

EITCs are refundable federal, state and New York City income tax credits available to eligible working individuals and families. Eligible taxpayers can claim the credit when they file their income taxes.

"This credit can make a real difference in the financial well-being of hard-working New Yorkers and their families," Commissioner Jerry Boone said. "Many middle- and low-income families rely on these and other credits to pay bills or make much-needed purchases that they simply could not afford otherwise."

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts said, "The EITC is the most effective tool we have in helping middle- and low-income families escape poverty and achieve increased economic security. It provides eligible working New Yorkers with an infusion of resources that serves to significantly increase their income."

It's free to claim the EITC.

Since 2013, the New York State Tax Department has hosted free tax assistance sites across the state. Taxpayers with incomes under $62,000 are eligible to prepare and e-file their returns using Tax Department equipment and user-friendly software. The software helps to ensure taxpayers receive all of the tax credits for which they're eligible. Tax Department volunteers are on-hand to answer taxpayer questions.

In 2016, the Tax Department will host more than 90 free tax assistance sites, up from 80 last year and 14 in 2013. Locations and available times will be available on the department's website in January.

"New Yorkers who are eligible for the EITC have free tax preparation and e-filing opportunities available to them," Boone said. "It's not necessary to purchase software or to pay someone to do your taxes. To maximize your refund, visit our website in January to learn about our free tax assistance sites or access free online e-filing options."

Taxpayers who are eligible for the EITC are also automatically qualified to prepare and electronically file their income taxes on the Tax Department's website at no cost. The user-friendly software walks the taxpayer through the process simply and quickly.

Taxpayers are cautioned to only access the free e-file software from www.tax.ny.gov to ensure they are not unexpectedly charged for their New York state return after filing their federal return. The software will be available to any taxpayers who earn less than $62,000 once the IRS opens the income tax season in late January.

Are you eligible?

The EITC benefits in New York are among the most generous in the nation. The income limit varies based on number of children, with the maximum for the 2015 tax year being $53,267 for an individual or family with three children.

To qualify for the credit, in addition to meeting the income qualifications, taxpayers must:

  • Earn wages from employment or self-employment;
  • Have a valid Social Security number;
  • Have a qualifying child living with them for more than half the year, or, if they do not have a qualifying child, be at least 25 years of age and under age 65, and
  • Have investment income of less than $3,350.

The Tax Department also reminded those ineligible for EITC benefits to look for other possible tax credits they might claim when filing their tax returns next year.

How much is the credit worth?

EITCs are offered by the federal government, New York state and New York City. The amounts of the credits vary based on factors such as family income and number of children. Because the maximum credits are increased annually, the maximum of the combined federal, state and New York City credits for tax year 2015 is $8,427 (for a family with three children) - a $134 increase over tax year 2014.

Taxpayers who were eligible in previous years but did not claim the credit are still able to submit an amended income tax return for up to three years.

There also is a Noncustodial Parent Earned Income Tax Credit. New York was the first state in the nation to enact a Noncustodial Parent EITC in 2006. The refundable credit adds to the ways New York encourages low-income noncustodial parents to work and stay current with their child support payments.

So far in 2015, almost 8,000 taxpayers claimed the Noncustodial Parent EITC for a total of almost $4 million.

For more information:

  • Contact a Tax Department representative at 518-457-5181

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